WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps In The Time of COVID-19 - World Jewish Congress

WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps
In The Time of COVID 19

Supporting Jewish Communities Across The Globe

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps is fully committed to supporting Jewish communities across the globe, as they confront unprecedented challenges caused by this global crisis.

As the flagship program of the World Jewish Congress, led by President Ronald S. Lauder, the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps is a diplomatic impact and leadership development program with over 300 selected members from 50 countries. Our members are passionate and proactive in their mission and determination, to ensure that all Jews everywhere stand united and strong in the face of this unprecedented threat.

Our Synagogues May Be Closed, Our Community Centers May Be Closed, But Our Hearts Are Open Wide, Please Be Safe And Healthy. Wherever You Are In The Word We Are All In This Together.

- Gila Baumoehl (Germany)

Virtual Advocacy During COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has forced Jewish communities across the globe to redirect their activities to the digital sphere. The WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps recognizes that the need for advocacy on behalf of these communities remains as critical as ever, and we have undertaken a number of virtual projects to ensure that our work continues unabated.

Messages from our Members on COVID-19

As we turn inward inside of our homes, many are feeling isolated and longing for their communities and social circles. The WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps) has undertaken on a video project as part of our digital outreach, detailing on video our own personal stories as well as a glimpse into the developments in our respective communities and countries. No matter what the challenges we face individually, wherever you are in the world, we’re all in this together.

Gila Baumoehl (Germany)

Yohan Benizri (Belgium)

Eli Novershtern (Israel)

Hannah Schlachter (US)

Gabriel Buznick (Argentina)

Déborah Lichentin (France)

Adela Smeke Mizrahi (Mexico)

Tikkun Olam Actions Against COVID-19

Across the globe WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps members are doing what they can for Tikkun Olam – a concept in Jewish life that implores us to take action to improve the world. During this time of need, our members have swiftly reacted and shifted their business models and updated their focuses - for example from whisky production to manufacturing and providing free hand sanitizers for first responders, installing mobile hospitals in Peru to screen and treat patients for COVID-19, assembling and delivering Passover packages to the elderly across Israel, and more.

Tom Varzhapetyan (Armenia)

The Jewish Community of Armenia were close to not getting their matza for the first Passover Seder. Thanks to the efforts of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, the Jewish Community of Georgia, the Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, and members of the Jewish Community of Armenia including Tom Varzhapetyan (Armenia), the matza arrived just in time. Read the full story here.

Terry Newman (Israel)

Terry Newman (Israel) is the Director of MCC London, a company that has recently completed the installation of ten mobile hospitals for the Ministry of Health in Peru where they have been used to screen and treat the people for COVID-19.

Jay Shultz (Israel)

Adopt-A-Safta, founded by Jay Shultz (Israel), launched the Seder in a Box initiative to help the elderly and vulnerable populations to have a warm Seder experience. Volunteers brought special boxes straight to their doors complete with a Seder plate, matzah, Haggadahs, and more.

Sonat Birnecker-Hart (US)

Chicago distillery co-founded and run by WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps President Sonat Birnecker-Hart provide hand sanitizer amid coronavirus crisis

WJC WebTalks

The members of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps have enabled continued and strengthened WJC outreach efforts at this critical time. As part of WJC online advocacy efforts, a series of key experts are interviewed by our JDCorps members on Facebook Live, to discuss a wide range of issues including community response to COVID-19 in Italy, the United Nations’ fight against antisemitism, the latest in the field of Holocaust education, and Israel’s battle to end the bias at the UN Human Rights Council, and more. Through this digital platform, we can continue to share and discuss firsthand what is happening in the world, even from a distance, and reaching a broad audience in their homes.

Chaya Pomeranz Sherman (USA)

In a conversation with Chaya Pomeranz Sherman (USA), Aidan Golub, Harvard student and Executive Director of the Israel Summit, shared what motivates him to constantly strive to positively impact the conversation about Israel on campus.

Jonathan Aiach

Interview Professor Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central, discusses the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Israel's economy and innovation.

Efrat Sopher (UK)

Interviewed President of the Jewish Community of Cairo Magda Haroun and Professor Yoram Meital spoke about the modern Jewish community in Cairo and steps the community is taking to safeguard Egypt’s Jewish heritage.

Efrat Sopher (UK)

Interviewed H.E. Shaikh Abdulla Bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States of America, about the history and future of Bahrain's relationship with its Jewish community.

Ariel Rodal-Spieler (Israel)

Yuval Rabin discusses the life and legacy of his father, Former Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin.

Efrat Sopher (UK)

Interviewed former Ambassador of the United States to the Sultanate of Oman Marc J. Sievers about the ever-changing geopolitics of the Middle East.

Ami Wise (USA)

Interviewed former NBA, EuroLeague, and Israeli Professional Basketball Coach David Blatt about his experience serving as a cultural ambassador for Israel and the Jewish people around the world.

Deborah Lichentin (France)

Interviewed President of the Coordination Committee of the Jewish Organizations of Belgium Yohan Benizri about the current state affairs in the Belgian Jewish community.

Gadi Ezra (Israel)

Interviewed Facebook's Head of Policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora Jordana Cutler about recent changes to Facebook’s community guidelines related to identifying antisemitic hate speech. 

Randy Fried (USA)

Interviewed Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Jewish Heritage Abraham Foxman about the current state of global antisemitism

Efrat Sopher (UK)

Interviewed Ambassador Michaela Küchler about the fight against antisemitism around the world. 

Sonat Birnecker Hart (US)

Interviewed United States Senator Benjamin Cardin for a discussion about the current state of affairs of America’s alliances across the Middle East.

Vanessa Hites (Chili)

Interviewed Miguel Bronfman, legal advisor to the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), for a conversation about the ongoing legal case 26 years after the bombing of the Jewish community building in Buenos Aires

Gabriel Buznick (Argentina)

Interviewed Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Senior Fellow Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi for a conversation on the continued threat posed by Hezbollah around the world.


Yariv Nornberg (Israel)

Interviewed Amb. Marek Magierowski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Israel for a conversation on the Polish roots of Zionism.

JD Randy Fried (US)

Interviewed Dr. Andrew Rehfeld, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, for a conversation on the critical role his institution plays in vitalizing Jewish education, engagement, and identity in North America and Israel.

JD Alana Baranov (South Africa)

Led a conversation on Israel-Diaspora relations with the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Mr. Isaac Herzog.


JD Ilias Pessach (Greece)

Participated as one of the interviewers during the conversation with Greece's Minister of Health H.E. Mr. Vassilis Kikilias, one of the leading figures behind his country's largely successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reopen for travel this summer.

JD Philip Rosenberg (UK)

Hosted Gillian Merron, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to hear how her community has persevered through the turbulence of antisemitism within the Labour Party and the COVID-19 pandemic.

JD Hannah Schlacter (US)

Interviewed Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of New York’s Park Avenue Synagogue, to discuss how he has served as a crucial link between his congregants in a city that has suffered great losses over the past several months.

JD Emmanuelle Amar (Canada)

Interviewed Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis and Chief Rabbi of Moscow, on how the pandemic has affected religious observances for Orthodox congregations across Europe.

JD Zack Silverberg (Canada)

Interviewed Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson on Combating Antisemitism and AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs, to discuss why it is crucial for national governments to adopt a standardised definition of antisemitism.

Chaya Singer (South Africa)

Interviewed Elan Carr, U.S. Department of State's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, to talk about how the U.S. government is continuing to remain vigilant against hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Tomas Mojo (Argentina)

Interviewed Mr. Karel Fracapane, Senior Project Officer at UNESCO’s Division for Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development, on the topic of Preventing Genocide Through Education.

Caroline Berdugo (France)

Interviewed Robert Ejnes, Executive Director of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (Crif), as he answers the question: How is this Passover different from all others?

Gadi Ezra (Israel)

Interviewed Noemi Di Segni, President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UECI) joins WJC to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on the Italian Jewish community.

Ariel Rodal-Spieler (Israel)

Interviewed Ambassador Dani Dayan, Israel's Consul General in New York about the spirit of resilience that led to the establishment of the State of Israel.

Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart (US), President of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps

Interviewed European Union Commission's Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism Katharina von Schnurbein, as she discusses the EU's fight against antisemitism.

Randy Fried (US)

Interviewed Menachem Rosensaft, Associate Executive VP of the World Jewish Congress, on Holocaust remembrance in the time of COVID-19.

Asher Levin (US)

Interviewed Dr. Robert Williams of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Committee's (IHRA) on Antisemitism on the topic of Correcting the Record on Holocaust Denial & Distortion.

WJC Yom HaShoah Commemorative Ceremony

Reuven Rennert (Austria) and Yariv Nornberg (Israel)

Hosted the virtual WJC Yom HaShoah Commemorative Ceremony.
Click here to watch the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps’ moving ceremony

United Against Racism Global Conference

During the last two weeks of November, the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps held a major 10-day global event, aimed at empowering and training its members to build personal and organizational alliances with other communities

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The legacy of Jewish communities across the Middle East and North Africa

Jewish communities across the Middle East and North Africa have long been underrepresented in wider conversations about the rich cultural heritage of this complex region. With that in mind, the World Jewish Congress is pleased to provide you with a glimpse of these communities' culture and history.

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WJC JDCorps Writers’ Bureau

Alexi Kelaty

Shavuot in the time of COVID-19: United as Jews - and as global citizens

Nathan Joel

Shavuot 2020 | Bound in Jewish unity, across time and space