“We invite you all to take this time of trouble and confusion as an occasion to reflect openly and in a sensitive way on our life choices and reference values, to check on our attention and our ability to respond concretely to those in our scope needing help and comfort and to pray with the desire to open our hearts to the Lord. ‘Sincere repentance, prayer and charitable work can push away horrible laws.’ We would like to say that we share the pain of the victims and we pray for the recovery of the sick, wherever the disease has occurred and is yet to hit.”
This is what a release of the Italian Rabbinical Assembly announced concerning the coronavirus emergency. Italian rabbis are worried about the virus spread “also in Italy” and invite us “to carefully follow prevention and safety instructions supplied by the World Health Organization, to refrain from potentially harmful behaviors, and not to neglect the symptoms of the disease, therefore making sure not to become responsible for any infection and further spread of the virus.’ The release also recalls that the Torah and Jewish laws provide requirements for personal healthcare and other people’s health.
This invitation was also extended to reading some extracts of the tefillah recently read on the initiative of Rabbi Shemuel Eliyahu on the occasion of the prayer ceremony held in Jerusalem “as an expression of the Jewish solidarity in this difficult time caused by the virus spreading.” Prayers may be recited “publicly in synagogues, where feasible, privately, in harmony and at a scheduled time, or individually”.
“A broken and contrite heart God will not despise,” reads a passage of the Psalm which can be found in the report.
Translated by Mattia Stefani and revised by Claudia Azzalini, both students at the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreting and Translation of Trieste University and interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.