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Rio’s Jews band together to fight Brazil’s corona crisis

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Published: 10 July 2020

Last updated: 4 March 2024

In March, the Rio Jewish federation established its own crisis committee to advise the state’s 30,000 Jews

THE BOMBSHELL NEWS on Tuesday was ironic for some — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, one of the world leaders who has most staunchly downplayed the potential of the coronavirus pandemic, had contracted the virus.

Despite his ardent support of Israel, Bolsonaro’s tempered rhetoric on the virus and controversial moves to cope with the pandemic — including fiercely criticising stay-at-home measures implemented by Rio de Janeiro and other state governments, and saying that a weakened economy could kill more than the virus — have raised eyebrows even among his most passionate conservative Jewish supporters.

As of June, the country of 215 million people that is home to some 120,000 Jews had the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world behind the United States: nearly 1.6 million, including some 65,000 deaths.

In March, the Rio Jewish federation established its own crisis committee to advise the state’s 30,000 Jews. Along with being a state, Rio is Brazil’s second largest city and second largest Jewish community, behind Sao Paulo.

It’s home to some of the nation’s most famous landmarks, such as the Christ Redeemer statue and the Sugarloaf Mountain, and boasts some of the country’s most storied Jewish institutions, such as the Great Israelite Temple and Brazil’s largest Jewish day school, the 1,400-student Liessin.

FULL STORY How Rio Jews are adapting to the coronavirus pandemic (Jerusalem Post)


Could Brooklyn’s Chasidic Jews have herd immunity? (Jerusalem Post)
“That’s the feeling, that they’ve had it, everybody they know has had it, and the people they know who haven’t had it have some kind of immunity that we just don’t understand yet.”

Photo: Rabbi Gilberto Ventura, right, and volunteers prepare to dispatch food packages to needy residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 27 (Sinagoga sem fronteiras/JTA)

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