The Italian Jewish community has been challenged by the coronavirus emergency, but it is working to keep a sense of community in spite of the required social distancing, the President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) Noemi Di Segni explained to The Jerusalem Post in an interview last week.
“People are feeling like they need community, and it is a Jewish value to ensure people feel that they are not alone, that they are part of a bigger group, a community that is there to provide them with institutional support,” Di Segni said.
The report pointed out that all synagogues are shut down, public services canceled and ceremonies such as funerals and circumcision are carried out in a very private form, with a very limited number of people attending.
“The atmosphere among the Jewish community is that this is bigger than us,” she added.
“But people are anxious because they don’t know when this crisis will end,” she said, adding that members of the community were increasingly worried about their financial situation with people unable to work and businesses shuttered.
Italian Jewish institutions are working to make sure that essential Passover products are available and that people who need support to organize and run their own seder receive it.
At the same time, people are trying to keep in contact with each other online.
“They are sharing songs, reaching out to neighbors, eating and having cocktails together in online video conferences and speaking to each other regularly, and we are trying to help them feel like they are living together with a community as much as possible,” Di Segni added.