COVID-19: community closures and cancellations

March 17, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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J-Wire will continually update community responses to the Coronavirus threat and events many might have attended.

Infographic of the Coronavirus. Feb 22, 2020. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

Latest update

Wednesday,  March-18  5:30pm



Planning for the Maccabiah Games next year (July 2021) continues and at present, irrespective of the virus issues, it is business as usual and nominations for athletes are still open and will close on 30 April 2020 (

The Maccabiah management team in Australia has been in constant contact with the Israeli

Maccabiah Organising Committee and can confirm that the team is pushing forwards to deliver

the 21st Maccabiah Games in July 2021.

Protecting the health and well-being of our athletes, volunteers and staff is our first priority and as such, the timing of selection trials is likely to be impacted. We will continue to take advice from the State and Federal Governments and provide regular updates as and when necessary. We urge all athletes to continue to train and prepare for the trials.


Australian Friends of the Tel Aviv University

Our Gala Dinner scheduled for 21st June has been postponed until further notice. We will keep you updated and looking forward to re-welcoming you to our event.

Zionism Victoria

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation has forced many of our communal organisations to revisit their plans for the months ahead. Zionism Victoria has determined that all major events currently scheduled will be postponed indefinitely. Our Yom Ha’Zikaron commemoration at Robert Blackwood Hall and our Yom Ha’Atzmaut Festival at Luna Park will be reconfigured into “virtual events”.

For Yom Ha’Atzmaut, we hope to be able to celebrate the day with you all and bring you some of the amazing entertainment we would have heard and seen at our festival.

The health and safety of our board, our staff, our members and all those in our community that would have attended these events must come first. This has always been our number one priority.

Caulfield Shule

As of today 17 March midday, ALL SHULE SERVICES WILL BE SUSPENDED until
further notice. This includes all Minyanim, and all programs. The Shule will be closed from midday, however, office staff will remain on-site for a few days to coordinate any
collection by congregants for Tallit and Siddurim. Collections are possible between 9am – 12 noon until Friday 20th March. There will be no access to the office; please collect your items from the Shule directly. Our office will be moving to work off site to allow continuing your communication with the Shule. We will be sending regular updates. The situation will be reassessed week by week.

Many members of our community are over 60 years of age and or in
high-risk groups. With the rapidly changing circumstances and the increasing number of cases both Australia wide and within our community it is imperative that we take strong, positive and pro active action to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all. This unprecedented situation requires an unprecedented response.

We are also committed to maintaining an online presence for our programs wherever possible.

Rabbi Ralph’s Wednesday Shiur will continue using ZOOM. [Easily installed on your device[ or the Zoom App.]


The JCCV Yom Hashoah Commemoration will now only be live streamed, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will NOT be a commemoration at the Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University in 2020. “The health and safety of our community is our highest priority, including those Survivors who are most vulnerable to the current health crisis and this will allow for a respectful and appropriate event to mark this significant date,” said Jennifer Huppert, JCCV President.

Owing to the unwavering commitment to honour the memory of those who perished in the Shoah and recognizing the legacy of Holocaust survivors and their families, the JCCV will be coordinating a live streaming of the commemoration. This will take place as originally scheduled, on Monday 20th April at 7.30pm.

“The live streaming offers Survivors, their family and friends a special time to quietly commemorate this solemn evening in the peace of their own surrounds,” stated Judy Fetter, Executive Director. “We understand it will be a different experience from joining the community together at Robert Blackwood Hall, but is a tangible, safe way to encourage people to reflect on the period in a meaningful way.”

“Remembering and Rebuilding” is the key theme of the evening. The inclusive program will incorporate primary sources and music, insightfully crafted into a unique presentation, youth involvement and Survivor testimony to create a heartfelt message of remembrance of the Shoah and recognition of survival and rebuilding in Australia post-1945. Details regarding the streaming link will be publicised closer to the event.

Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges: 

Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges have decided to extend their closure until 23 March inclusive to include ALL campuses. That means that Beth Rivkah Primary and Secondary campuses, Yeshivah Primary and Secondary Campuses, GELC and Mercedes Dadon Creche will not be open to students. The school will remain in contact regarding Learning Instruction.

Yeshivah Centre: 

Yeshivah Centre will remain closed until Monday 23 March inclusive. This pertains to all shules and the mikvah. Please note that the mikvah will be drained during this time. Shules will continue to communicate with their congregants as to their ongoing arrangements. If you have any questions please contact your rabbi. Please also click here to read a Psak halacha from the Rabbonim to help provide further clarity and guidance as to the decision.

In light of worldwide events and the number of people expected to travel back to Melbourne in the lead up to Pesach, the School and the Centre have decided to impose a 14 day ‘Casual Contact’ isolation to anyone who travels into Melbourne, as of today. This remains fluid assuming that there are no notifications from any of the airlines.



Women’s Division Brunch Mar-18

UIA Weekly Shiur

Community Morning Tea Mar-25

YoungUIA Launch Event Mar-25


Cancelled: Magen David Adom Australia Bunnings Sausage Sizzle April 5

Jewish Museum of Victoria

In light of the Victorian Government’s declaration of a state of emergency, the Jewish Museum of Australia will close from today, with all upcoming events and education programs postponed.

By closing, we believe we can best protect our team and the wider community.

For at the Jewish Museum of Australia, we illuminate Jewish life – and right now, we must think and act in a way that considers the lives of all.

In this dark time, we hope to lift your spirits and inspire resilience through our collection online and social media.

For those of you with tickets booked or visits planned, we will contact you in the comings days with a path forward.

We will continue to follow recommendations from the Government; please stay in touch for details on our re-opening.

Melbourne Jewish Book Week has been cancelled

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra:  All MSO concerts between Monday 16 March and Monday 13 April, inclusive, will not proceed. Cancelled and rescheduled concerts are listed at this ‘More information’.

Youth HEAR has cancelled its Yom Hashoah event in Sydney for young adults; it attracted 400 young adults to its inaugural event last year.

Maccabi Victoria has temporarily put on hold the following Maccabi Victoria programs and events; NextGen Leadership, Women in Sport activities, School Holiday Sports Camps, School and Club engagement activities, Friends of Maccabi events, Volunteer/Awards events and Club Presidents Council meetings.


Central Synagogue

Rabbi Levi Wolf and president Danny Taibl posted on Facebook: The Board of Management held an emergency teleconference which resulted in the decision to close our doors for the foreseeable future due to the threat of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Our Central team is working around the clock right now. Our mission: to set up a proactive Chessed committee charged with the task of reaching out to those who are most vulnerable in our community.

Members are ready-to-go and will call you, shop for you, deliver to you, speak with you and help you through this. If this applies to you or someone in your world, please call us if you need assistance.


Kesser Torah College Principal Roy Steinman said: “Like all other Jewish Day Schools, Kesser Torah College is working hard to plan for, and prepare, delivery of online lessons by both Primary  School and High School teachers using a number of platforms. Some  lessons will be delivered as interactive “live streams”, others will be prepared as units to be downloaded at any time by students who may need to share devices with siblings in the family. Many of our teachers already use on-line learning to augment their classroom delivery, so use of online lessons is already well established as a learning and delivery mechanism to many students of the College. Students will receive high-quality lessons in both Jewish Studies and General Studies and can look forward to a day that extends from interactive online Gemarah, Chumash and Navi and Dinnim (Chaggim) learning including  textual studies – all the way to English literature, Science and Mathematics ( and everything in between).”

Emanuel Synagogue

  1. All our prayer services at the synagogue will be suspended. We plan to live stream Shabbat Live and a Saturday morning service and we will send you those details as soon as possible. We are also planning to light candles together at the beginning of Shabbat. We will be able to come together using the wonder of technology and usher in the Shabbat with our community.
  2. This Friday evening’s Renewal Beach Kabbalat Shabbat will continue as planned from 6:00pm at Nielsen Park. Please bring your own picnic dinner. Email for details.
  3. All our adult education programmes including Hebrew, Darkeinu, Cantilation/trope, will not take place in person. As much as possible we will have online opportunities to “gather and learn” and we will notify each class individually of the arrangements for your class.
  4. All of our children’s education programmes will be suspended including Kef Kids and the Bar/bat mitzvah programme. Our teachers and clergy are working on some wonderful ways for us to remain in touch and continue learning together with our children through technology. They will be in contact with you all
  5. Weekly, monthly and quarterly gatherings will be suspended, including Conversation about Israel, J Baby, women’s Rosh Hodesh group, Jewnatal, pre marriage group, Shabbat Tot, Lunch ‘n’ Learn and In Conversation.
  6. Meditation: Rabbi Triguboff’s up-coming meditation class will be transferred online. More details soon.
  7. Events: all of our up-coming events will either be postponed or moved online.
  8. Our office: our staff will mostly be working from home but the work of the synagogue will continue and we will be able to engage with you by telephone, email and other means.

Wolper Jewish Hospital

The hospital has limited the time a patient is allowed to be with their visitor from 1 hour down to 15 minutes.

They have postponed the popular Friends of Wolper Golf Day from 25th March to 18th November.

  • MoveWell classes, private physiotherapy sessions and Wolper Physio at Home services have been suspended from Monday 16th March.
  • They have cancelled all patient social activities at the Hospital, including our communal Friday night dinners, and visits to the Hospital by entertainers and school students.
  • We have ceased the regular visits by Rabbis as they often visit multiple patients across many hospitals and there is the risk of cross-contamination. Provisions are made for patients who wish to speak with a Rabbi. We have ceased volunteer visits to the Hospital.


  • JewishCare is following Department of Health guidelines to stop the spread of the virus
  • We have implemented a number of initiatives which aim to balance the safety of our staff, and volunteers while continuing to provide appropriate services to our more vulnerable and isolated clients.
  • JewishCare provides home support services to over 500 clients and we are committed to continuing to provide services for the duration of this crisis
  • Our staff will remain in contact with clients and will be establishing a Virtual Client Support network to support clients we are not able to see face to face.
  • The majority of office-based staff are now working from home
  • We have cancelled all events, activities and trainings scheduled to take place at Fischl House, as well as all meetings of Our Community Club Network (Friendship Clubs) until end April 2020. We have also advised volunteers to cease meeting clients face to face
  • A number of programs have been cancelled until further notice. These are Print35, Our KitchenHand, JDay and The Burger Centre

We are developing a community plan which will include:

    • A listening ear and frequent contact for isolated individuals
    • Emergency financial assistance for those in most urgent need

Maccabi NSW is closely monitoring the current situation with coronavirus (COVID-19). Throughout the last week we’ve been in touch with all our sports club committees as the situation has been rapidly changing, to keep updated on health guidelines and to inform decisions as best fit that club. Based on current information available at the time of this release, the Board and committees across our sports clubs have made the following decisions:

      • Maccabi NSW Jewish Sports Awards & Volunteer Night (22nd March) – Cancelled
      • Basketball – all activities (training & games) postponed, competitions have been suspended
      • Netball – pre-season training cancelled (up until holidays), pending decision from local association(RNA season due to start early May)
      • Junior & Senior Soccer – pre-season training suspended until end of March, pending season start season in April
      • Hakoah FC – training & games continuing as scheduled for now
      • Swimming – upcoming meet (April 5) cancelled
      • Rugby – training/games to continue for now as normal / hygiene precautions in place / will wait for directives from Rugby Association/NSW
      • Tennis – weekend competitions suspended (recommendation from Tennis NSW), lessons are continuing as normal for now, holiday camps scheduled for school holidays will go ahead at this stage
      • Golf – have postponed national event (President’s Cup in Perth) to later in year. Regular ‘matchplay’ activities continuing
      • Triathlon – next event 26th April, will monitor situation and make decision closer to event
      • Lawn Bowls – activities continuing for now. Issued recommendations re hygiene practices
      • Tenpin – continuing with weekly comp, within health guidelines re small/minor gatherings. Have advised re hygiene practices to all players
      • Touch Footy – Winter competition starts mid-April – TBC
      • Social Mixed Netball – next competition starts in April – TBC
      • Mega Camp (school holiday camp) (20-22 April) – currently scheduled to go ahead – TBC
      • Last night the Football Federation Australia decided to postpone all grassroots football, until at least April 14.
      • NSW Suburban Rugby has postponed its season until at least May 2.
      • Netball pre-season activities and all training is suspended until at least May 2 (In North Sydney & Randwick competitions)

Planning for Junior Carnival in Melbourne (January 2021) and the Maccabiah Games in Israel (July 2021) will continue to proceed, with the safety of our members and community our top priority. We would like to thank you in advance for putting your trust in Maccabi as you consider registering for these much-loved events in the future.

Moriah College Sydney

The college has prepared for home education via the Moriah B’yachad online platforms if it becomes necessary.

In the meantime Moriah has restricted visitors to the College and students are not going on any external excursions.

There may be events that parents would have come to such as Seders. The school will video such events and post the videos on its intranet and may live-stream some.

All interschool sporting and co-curricular events and activities have been cancelled or postponed.

Parent/teacher interviews will be conducted online from now on.

The Sydney Jewish Museum: The health and wellbeing of the Sydney Jewish Museum’s Holocaust survivors, visitors, volunteers and employees is of utmost importance to us. To best ensure the protection of everyone in light of the spread of the coronavirus, the Museum will temporarily close to visitors from Tuesday 17 March until 31 March, inclusive.

As the situation changes rapidly, we continue to monitor developments and will publish updates as we make further decisions about our operating hours in the coming weeks.

We invite everyone to follow our social media channels and our blog on our website to keep in touch and continue to be inspired by the stories from our Holocaust survivors and our collection whilst the Museum is closed.

We look forward to seeing visitors back in the Museum very soon and appreciate the community’s patience as we work through these uncertainties to ensure the safety and health of all.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has cancelled the annual Yom Hashoah commemorations as public events. Only those involved in it will put on a scaled-down event, which will be live-streamed. On Monday April 20 at 7pm.

The events usually attract a total of about 2000 people.

NSWJBD president Lesli Berger said: “Cancelling Yom Hashoah public events has been an extremely difficult decision to make in terms of the central place that Holocaust awareness and commemoration hold for our community. Clearly, we have reached this decision in the best interests of the community, most particularly the elderly and survivors, whose health is most at risk. The decision to hold a scaled-down event, involving only those who are required to participate, and to live-stream it, will enable us to maintain our vital tradition of coming together and commemorating the Shoah, albeit virtually over the internet.”


Perth: JCCWA in conjunction with the Holocaust Institute of WA has announced the regrettable – though unavoidable – decision to cancel this year’s Yom HaShoah event which had been scheduled for April 20th, 2020.


Wellington: The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand

The Centre will be closed to the public through to at least Tuesday, April 14. Please check the website for the Centre’s status beyond April 14.

As we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation, we thought we would share some online resources you can explore in the comfort of your own home that reflect some of the experiences in our Centre:

Our online timeline, which outlines the Holocaust with images, video and text. Check it out at

Keep up to date with the travels of the Children’s Holocaust Memorial as it tours the country.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “when you listen to a witness you become a witness.” Today, with their safety in mind, we suspended visits by our survivor volunteers. You can still read and hear their first hand testimony through text and video

Teaching about the Holocaust can be challenging. Read about some approaches to take when offering to educate your students.

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