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Why? – On Our Conduct in the Pandemic

This is a translation of the final chapter of an extensive feature in the latest issue of the Yiddish journal Der Veker focusing on the Charedi, and specifically Chasidic, response to Covid-19. ( The feature was also covered by The Atlantic .) After compiling and analysing figures which show covid deaths amongst New York Chasidim about four times higher than the national average (which is consistent with figures compiled elsewhere), Der Veker dedicated the final chapter to the burning and painful question of “Why?” Now read on… Our reckless conduct during the pandemic has produced grim and heart-breaking results and the conclusion is shattering: we have with our own hands brought upon ourselves a death rate four times worse than that of our neighbouring communities. And the question cries out to heaven, why? As Jews we are raised to be compassionate, our communities have an immense number of social welfare and medical organisations with much of it evident during the pandemic. E
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