The former chief rabbi Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, has suggested the coronavirus pandemic might change British society for the better, as people rally to look out for the vulnerable.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he compared the lockdown to the Second World War, saying during the conflict: "There was a deep sense that much needed to be changed. There were too many inequalities. There was too much poverty."
"The economic crash of 1929 and the depression of the 1930s had left scars that had to be healed. Britain had to become a more caring, cohesive and compassionate society."
He noted the introduction of compulsory secondary education, the introduction of social insurance and the foundation of the NHS in 1948, which could not have happened "without the collective experience of war".
Suggesting the same could happen because of coronavirus, Rabbi Sacks wrote: "Never in my lifetime have we lived through a period in which people in every country throughout the world are suffering the same fears, the same dangers, the same risks.
"The poet John Donne’s famous words could have been written for now: ‘Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind'."
He noted the nationwide applause for the NHS and carers on Thursday evening and the establishment of groups to look out for thosewho are at most risk from Covid 19, including by "virtually all the synagogues I know", as well as "churches, mosques, gurdwaras, temples and other religious congregations".
"Faith is one of the great seedbeds of altruism," he said.
"Just as Christians are getting ready for Easter, their great moment of renewal, so Jews around the world are beginning to prepare for Passover, our festival of freedom.
"Passover contains a message of hope for all of us. Each year we tell the story of the exodus, that begins in suffering and ends in liberation and joy.
"That is the shape of the human story. Out of the bad, comes good, out of the curse comes blessing. Out of the coronavirus pandemic will come a new sense of collective responsibility, and we will all feel renewed."