[COMMUNICATED] The Jewish communities of New York and New Jersey are reeling, as COVID-19 rips through its population, robbing us prematurely of many precious neshamos. New York’s coronavirus death toll is growing, and Governor Andrew Cuomo estimates that there will be “millions of cases.” Funerals in Crown Heights have been postponed due to the high number of passings. It seems the wave has just begun, and what was once fear and apprehension has turned to grief.
The first level of tragedy is that of those who lose their lives: Ultimately they die in isolation for fear of spreading the disease, and do not receive a full ‘tahara.’ Painful video footage shows chevra kadisha in NY preparing bodies in plastic bags for burial.
The next level of tragedy, however, reaches its gruesome grasp into the next generation: Many orphans are now left behind to grieve in poverty. The pandemic has hit the economy hard and unemployment rates are skyrocketing. Those who have lost a parent to COVID-19 are now grappling with shock, grief, a lack of income, and the upcoming holiday to prepare for. It is an unbearable task.
Emergency funds are being raised by tzedaka organization Ezras Yisroel to help these families cope through this painful time.
One of the most destructive aspects of the virus is that it has isolated us: The Jewish People have been forced to stay in their homes, without guests, without family for the seder, and for those who lose their lives, without the warm touch of a loved ones hand as they leave this Earth.
This is our opportunity to rise above this isolation and to join together as a global community, to support those who have been hit hardest. Hashem should comfort them, and all of us.