Jewish culture is being forced to make a move online, as coronavirus closes synagogues, museums and cinemas. Although most synagogues in Britain have not — yet — followed their American counterparts by live streaming their Shabbat services, a few have and no doubt more will follow.
Bromley Reform Synagogue started live-streaming its services on YouTube three weeks ago. Subscribers are notified on Shabbat morning that the service has started. Sinai Synagogue in Leeds has done the same.
The Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood is offering online prayer services, but only to members with a password.
While Jewish cultural centres are closing, many are setting up new platforms to allow those confined to home to stay in the loop.
Phoenix Cinema and Reel in Borehamwood are bringing their best new releases to an On Demand platform they have created. The Unorthodox and How About Adolf? will be available to watch from March 15 and March 19 respectively.
JW3 has closed its doors “until further notice”, but is launching a streaming service, JW3 TV, where fresh videos will be uploaded from Sunday to Thursday and much of its forthcoming programme will be made available to view.
Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organisation in the world, has launched ‘Hillel@Home’ to provide Jewish students with social and educational content while their universities are shut.
Lectures by prominent speakers and online courses will form a key part of the platform. Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has been confirmed as among the first keynote lecturers.
Meanwhile the Hebrew University is offering full-length undergraduate online courses on everything from Israeli politics to neuroscience and modern Hebrew poetry. They cost around £50 a module.
Google Arts and Culture hosts museums around the world that can meet certain production values — and a fascinating, diverse range of stories, artefacts and videos can be found there.
London’s Jewish Museum has an exhibition that can be found on Google Arts and Culture, as well as the Imperial War Museum, which has uploaded a series on the Kindertransport.
Also on the platform are a range of fascinating Jewish exhibitions: you can find everything from the synagogues of sub-Saharan Africa, Argentina’s Jewish community, or how Shakespeare was translated into Hebrew, all curated professionally.
Poland’s POLIN Museum, the Centre for Jewish History, and the Israel Museum have also all uploaded virtual tours, video exhibitions, and everything in between.