Three elderly Jewish people die of coronavirus two weeks after attending the bar mitzvah ceremony – because religious leaders warn that ‘close’ communities put Jews at greater risk of infection
- The event took place two weeks ago before the official restrictions on social gatherings
- Victims were all in their eighties – husband and wife and an unrelated guest
- It is believed that one of the guests was a dentist who had just returned from Milan
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Three guests at a party to celebrate a Jewish boy’s thirteenth birthday party have died of the corona virus.
The event, which was attended by more than 100 guests, took place two weeks ago – before the official restrictions on social gatherings in the UK were imposed.
Jewish boys normally celebrate their religious adulthood ceremony, known as a bar mitzvah, at age 13 with a synagogue service followed by a celebration.
Three guests at a party to celebrate a Jewish boy’s thirteenth birthday party have died of the corona virus. Depicted is the Royal Free hospital in London where they are admitted
Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Kadisha funeral organization wear masks while moving the body of an 89-year-old woman who died of coronavirus in a funeral home in Jerusalem last week
The tragedy has led to outpourings of grief in the tight-knit Jewish community in North London, where victims have died in recent days.
The victims were all in their eighties. They were a husband and wife and an unrelated guest.
Reportedly, one of those present was a dentist who had just returned from a trip to Milan.
Most guests would have attended the religious service at a synagogue in Golders Green as well as the party.
All three victims became so seriously ill last week that they were rushed to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, where they died.
They were patients from a local general practice and a senior general practitioner knew all the deaths and was informed by the son of the deceased couple.
She said, “The husband and wife had underlying medical problems, but they wouldn’t have died when they did, but for this terrible virus.
“It is terrible that three people who attended a social gathering would have died. But this is the terrible nature of this disease.
The council of representatives of British Jewish President Marie van der Zyl said the pandemic poses a special challenge to the ‘tight-knit’ community that fosters festivals and conviviality
“That’s why everyone should be so careful with restrictions. At the time of the party, of course, there was nothing in place and people would like to continue with a part that was planned months earlier.
“I understand that the boy and his family are absolutely devastated by what happened. They are not to blame. It was a legal event. ‘
The doctor, who is Jewish himself, said, “The Jewish community here in this area of North London is large, but it is a community where everyone knows each other. The news of what happened is spreading.
“My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy. A bar mitzvah, or bat mitzvah for a girl, is one of the most joyful events in a Jewish family. ‘
Worshipers who wear the traditional Jewish prayer shawls known as Tallit pray because they remain two meters apart at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
It is unclear whether other guests at the party are sick or in the hospital.
The doctor said: “Chances are that others have become infected, because this was a meeting where people got close together.
“There is always a lot of kissing and cuddling and shaking hands. Knowing what we do would have required only one infected person to spread it throughout. Some would have gotten sick and showed active signs of the disease.
But others would have picked up and had no symptoms and may now have passed it on to others who weren’t at the party.
A Hasidic Satmar Jewish family prays on a rooftop in New York after the synagogues were closed to the Sabbath prayer because of the spread of the corona virus in the United States
The death toll from the coronavirus appears to be higher within the British Jewish community.
Friday there were 34 deaths, compared to 25 the day before.
The College of Deputies of British Jews collects figures from the Jewish funeral society where the disease is cited as the cause of death.
Since British Jews represent only roughly half a percent of the national population, the number of deaths in the community – with just under 4.5 percent of the national total – is disproportionately high.
A group of Jewish doctors has advised highly committed members of the Jewish community that there should be no religious gatherings, even in the privacy of their homes.
One of them said, “This cannot happen. People’s lives are in danger and life must come before religious celebration. ‘