Linked from the David Irving site
Oops! — One-quarter of Coronavirus infections come from synagogues, Israel’s Health Ministry admits…. Did you know that the Jewish community is just 0.3% of the UK population, yet nearly 5% of the UK’s Coronavirus victims are Jewish? How do you account for this statistical oddity?
Older people are particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus because their immune systems are weaker. However, there have been many young people who have succumbed to the disease, including teenagers and even a newborn baby. (See video below featuring a young victim in Israel with no previous health problems).
Israel’s A quarter of coronavirus infections from synagogues, Health Ministry says. Calls have been made to chief rabbis to ban prayer in synagogues. “Closing synagogues is a real obligation for protecting public health.”
Jeremy Sharon writes in The Jerusalem Post (March 24) :
One quarter of Israelis who have contracted the coronavirus in Israel have been infected through contact with another infected individual in a synagogue, figures released by an advisory group to the Health Ministry on Tuesday revealed. According to the newly released data, the most common place to contract COVID-19 in Israel is synagogues, where 24% of all infections to date have occurred, with another 5% contracted in yeshivas.
Another 15% of infections were contracted in hotels, 12% in restaurants, 7% in supermarkets, 7% in other shops, 5% in medical clinics, 3% in educational institutions, 3% in old age homes, 3% in day care for children, 2% each in youth groups, events halls, clubs and shopping malls, and 1% each in gyms, mikvehs, election ballot stations and personal meetings, with the remaining 2% contracted elsewhere.
The new figures prompted several groups to call on the chief rabbis to ban prayer in synagogues due to the clear evidence that communal prayer helps spread coronavirus.
Chief rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau have so far refrained from calling on the public to cease attending prayer services in synagogues, but have insisted that such services include no more than 10 men, with a distance of two meters between worshipers, and that the synagogues be well ventilated.
“Following the release of the new figures, the chief rabbis said it was “forbidden” to hold prayer services in synagogues and other locations where those conditions could not be met.”
Lau and Yosef have also called for a half-day fast and day of prayer on Wednesday because of the pandemic.
The religious-Zionist Tzohar Rabbinical Organization said it welcomed this initiative, but said that the chief rabbis should tell people not to go to synagogue, saying that such gatherings are “completely against the regulations of the Ministry of Health.”
“I applaud the Chief Rabbinate on their goal to increase prayers and fasting in response to this crisis, but urge them to also instruct people not to gather in synagogues where people can potentially infect others,” said Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein, co-chairman of Tzohar.
Director of the Itim religious services advisory group Rabbi Seth Farber said that the new Health Ministry figures demonstrated that “closing synagogues is a real obligation for protecting public health.”
Farber added that rabbis Lau and Yosef “should be stringent on saving lives,” referencing the precept in Jewish law putting saving a life above other commandments.
“We call on everyone to pray at home, despite how painful this is,” said Farber. “Incorrect behavior could bring us God forbid to a point of no return regarding the spread of the disease.”
The Yachad liberal Orthodox synagogue in Tel Aviv has begun holding virtual prayer services over the Zoom online video conferencing service, and other similar initiatives have also been set up to allow communal religious life to continue as best as possible despite the restrictions on public gatherings.
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Meanwhile, The Times of Israel reports that in the United Kingdom nearly 5% of all coronavirus-related deaths are of Jewish people. This is disproportionately large, given that only 0.3% of the UK’s population s Jewish. How does one account for this anomaly?
According to the paper’s report Thursday, at least 22 Jewish families have lost loved ones to the disease, which has killed 465 people in the United Kingdom. The UK has about 66 million residents and 250,000 Jews.
Jewish community leaders in Antwerp, Belgium, last week predicted a significantly higher infection rate of 85% in their congregation than the 50-70% rate that scientists expect to find in the general population. The leaders cited the large social circles and interaction of the Jewish community.
— See here
Among the hardest-hit congregations in the United Kingdom has been the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community, which is based in northern London. It has lost four members in recent days, one of its rabbis told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday.
A man in his 70s who died was connected to the Edgware and Hendon Reform synagogue through his funeral, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
At least two rabbis have died of the disease: Yehuda Yaakov Refson, a senior rabbi in Leeds, was 73 when he died on Sunday, and Zeev Willy Stern, a Holocaust survivor, was 86 when he died over the weekend.
Frieda Feldman, 97, died in London on Friday, the same day that she was diagnosed as having the virus, according to the Bhol news site.