Stamford Hill Shomrim President Rabbi Herschel Gluck: We must care for the weak and vulnerable

Rabbi says there is a 'a strong duty to care for the sick and the old' amid coronavirus pandemic



Rabbi Herschel Gluck has urged the community to steps up efforts to "care for the weak and vulnerable" amid the devastating impact of coronavirus.

The President of Shomrim in Stamford Hill said, while the need to look after ourselves was paramount, "we also have a strong duty to care for the sick and the old in a manner that does not endanger either your lives or the lives of those that you are helping."

"We need to think about the individuals living on our street, whether there is an elderly man or woman with no family to look after them," said Rabbi Gluck, who also founded the Muslim-Jewish Forum.

"It should be our duty to make sure these people know that there is someone out there thinking about them."

Rabbi Gluck spoke to the JC ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's call for people to stay at home to contain the spread of coronavirus across the country.

But the rabbi recognised that decisions to help others must be taken in "a sensible manner" but also with "a strong communal ethos."

Revealing that he had been contacted to many leaders from within the Muslim community in recent weeks, Rabbi Gluck said discussions had focussed on the protection of religious burial rights.

He said they had sought advice on the purchase of "more land for burial" and had sought clarity over Jewish objection to cremation.

As the Government confirmed it had amended new emergency powers to protect religious burial, Rabbi Gluck said: "The government is facilitating that everyone should be able to have a funeral according to their tradition and choice."

The influential rabbi also spoke of his fear that the long-term effect of the crisis would be "severe economic downturn."

He added: "At the moment everyone is rightly making sure that they do their best to stay alive" but a consequence of economic depression could , G-d Forbid, lead to further outbreaks of racism with blame inevitably being placed on Jews, Muslims, the Roma, the immigrants."

But he added: "I don't think this is an issue for the moment, but it would be irresponsible of us not to give the matter due refection and to take appropriate steps to pre-empt something like that.

"This is also a time to do our best to try to build a better future for everyone."

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