World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder issued a video message to the 100 WJC-affiliated Jewish communities around the world calling for Jewish unity, as communities around the globe grapple with the coronavirus.
The video message can be viewed here. The full text can be read below.
My dear colleagues and friends throughout the worldwide Jewish community, I’m reaching out to you today not just as President of the World Jewish Congress, but perhaps, more importantly, as a fellow Jew who cares deeply about each and every one of you.
Right now, the Jewish people, along with the entire world, face one of the most difficult challenges ever. We’ve never experienced anything quite like this. The coronavirus has completely upset our daily lives in ways we never imagined possible. All travel has come to a halt. Business have shut down. People are sequestered in their homes. Our lives have changed overnight. Hundreds of thousands of people have fallen ill to this virus, and sadly, over 10,000 have now died.
It’s only natural to be frightened. That’s why I wanted to talk to you about right now. Over the years, as president of the World Jewish Congress, I’ve always emphasized the fact that we are one people. What makes the Jewish people strong, what has always sustained us, is our faith in God, and our trust in each other.
This situation, I believe, has unintentionally, made that abundantly clear. The coronavirus does not distinguish between Orthodox and Conservative; it does not distinguish even between Reform and secular Jews. All Jews, indeed, all of humanity are the targets of this disease.
That is why now, more than ever, we must discard any divisions in our community. This should be an unexpected opportunity for all of us to embrace each other as one people. Challenges can bring out the best in us, and that’s what we need now.
The World Jewish Congress stands ready to aid every Jewish community around the world. If you need help, if there is something we can do, contact us immediately. We are your representatives; we are your extended arm; and we are ready to help.
There’s something else I wanted to tell you at this moment, and I want you to take it to heart: we will get through this together. We will overcome this challenge, as one people, and we will come out stronger at the other end.
The Jewish people have always believed in Tikkun Olam, to heal the world, very seriously. Jewish doctors and scientists, working along with medical teams around the world, are at the forefront of this fight against the coronavirus; we salute them; we pray for their health and for their success.
Stay safe, act prudently, have courage, support those around you who may need help, and always remain optimistic. And remember: We will get through this all together. God bless the Jewish people, God bless humankind, God bless each and every one of you.