The Coronavirus pandemic is dangerous, real, and spreading.
In addition to health concerns, restrictions put into place are affecting cultural institutions, museums, education, religious observance, business operations, entertainment and many (in some countries most) aspects of normal every-day life.
We are compiling here information on what impact the emergency is having on Jewish heritage projects and institutions — and how such institutions and projects are coping.
Closures? Cancellations? Postponements? Expanded access to online resources?
Quite a few countries (starting with Italy) are now imposing regulations or declaring states of emergency that ban public gatherings and close museums and cultural sites, as well as schools, universities, places of worship, and other venues.
Please help us chart what’s going on.
Please send us your updates, to our email address — firstname.lastname@example.org
Or join and post to our JHE Facebook group — https://www.facebook.com/groups/209593056866612/
We are eager to hear from hands-on heritage workers, tourism professionals, organizations, institutions, project organizers, and planners.
We will be listing closures, cancellations, changes, and initiatives below — in a list that we will try to keep updated. We will also be posting information on our Facebook page and FB Group.
Thanks for your cooperation — and good luck and best wishes to all at this difficult, unsettling, and challenging time!
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Under a March 10 government decree called #ioRestoaCasa (#Istayhome), all museums, schools, universities, and other places where people can gather are closed; synagogues, churches, and mosques are closed, too, and all people are required to stay home — only allowed to go out to buy groceries, for medical reasons, or to go to work.
Some institutions, in consequence, have announced they are expanding their online presence.
The Jewish Museum in Rome, for example (see picture), said it is “consolidating its presence on social media channels” by adhering to a broader Italian hashtag campaign called — #laculturanonsiferma (#culturedoesntstop) aimed at sharing art and culture online.
You can also take virtual online tours of Jewish heritage sites including museums, synagogues, and cemeteries, in 11 Italian cities
MARCH 12, VIENNA — Both locations of the Jewish Museum in Vienna will remained closed until April 3. (The cafe and giftshop remain open.)
MARCH 14, HOHENEMS — The Jewish Museum Hohenems, the Museum Café and the library of the museum will be closed from Saturday, March 14, 2020 until further notice. All events and educational programs at the museum are also canceled until March 31. Unfortunately, at the moment the museum cannot say when it will be open again.
MARCH 12 –The government declared a State of Emergency for 30 days, ordering galleries, libraries and many other venues closed and barring many events and gatherings.
The Jewish Museum in Prague states that all its venues and exhibitions, the library and the archives will be closed as of 13 March 2020, and all scheduled public events will be cancelled, until further notice.
MARCH 13, BERLIN — The Information Centre under the Holocaust Memorial (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) will be closed until 19 April 19, 2020. Guided tours will not take place.
The Field of Stelae of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, however, remains fully accessible — though that might change, depending on developments
FRANKFURT — The Judengasse Jewish Museum in Frankfurt (along with all other municipal museums) is closed until April 10, and all events are cancelled.
WEIMAR — The annual Yiddish Summer Weimar festival hopes to go forward in July, but organizers are evaluating the developing situation and will update plans as conditions warrant.
MARCH 16, AUGSBURG — Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, the Jewish Museum in Augsburg will be closed at both locations, the City Center and the Former Kriegshaber Synagogue, on a temporary basis. Reopening will be determined by developments.
MARCH 17 — The branches of the Franconia Jewish Museum in Fürth, Schnaittach, and Schwabach are closed, and planned events are cancelled (at least) until the end of April.
MARCH 13, LONDON — As of March 13, the London Jewish Museum remains open to visitors, but all public events scheduled before the end of April have been cancelled, with other precautionary measures introduced. (But that may change as the situation develops.)
The Museum remains open and continues to welcome visitors to our exhibitions until such a time as the guidance changes. Programmed events and activities taking place until the end of April 2020, however, are cancelled.
We have introduced precautionary measures to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our visitors and to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes an enhanced sign-in policy and self-screening for all visitors, staff and volunteers and handwashing notices, in addition to our existing hygiene practices. (Click for more details.)
MARCH 13 — Leaders of Hungary’s main Jewish umbrella group, the Neolog Mazsihisz, ordered the closure of all of its affiliated synagogues and cemeteries in Budapest and in the provinces, as well as the closure of the Jewish Museum and Archives in Budapest, until further notice.
MARCH 13, VILNIUS — Following a government emergency decree, the Lithuanian Jewish community is closed, with al public events cancelled, until further notice.
The Choral Synagogue in Vilnius will be close for at least two weeks.
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum in Vilnius is closed (at least) from March 13-27.
The country is under strict quarantine measures that have closed educational and other institutions.
Jewish heritage activist Irina Shikhova , founding director of the Maghid NGO, writes, however that Jewish heritage work goes on:
At the other hand we try to use these troubled times making lemonade out of lemons. We are developing our project of listing and mapping all the Jewish architectural heritage in Moldova: synagogues and Jewish secular buildings (almost all historical ones are abandoned or rededicated), cemeteries and Holocaust mass graves… Visiting cemeteries (and netilat yadayim after))) is the less dangerous behavior in our situation!
MARCH 13 — AMSTERDAM — Following a government directive, all locations of the Jewish Cultural Quarter are closed until March 31. The measures announced March 12 include closure of public places such as museums, concert venues, theatres, sports clubs and the cancellation of sports matches and other events.
MARCH 12 — Poland closed all schools, universities, cinemas, theaters and museums for 2 weeks, that is, until March 25. This affects, among others, the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, the Galicia Jewish Museum and Old Synagogue Jewish branch of the Krakow History museum in Krakow, the Jewish Museum in Tykocin.
The Auschwitz Memorial Museum is also closed, as well as the Holocaust memorial museums at Majdanek and Belzec.
The Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw has announced it remains closed until further notice.
The Krakow JCC has also closed its operations for that period.
MARCH 27, KRAKOW – The Krakow Jewish Culture Festival announced its edition this summer — which woud have been its 30th — has been cancelled, to be rescheduled in 2021
MARCH 20 — SIGHET — The opening of the Parallel Traces exhibit by the AEPJ and Tarbut Foundation has been postponed to an as yet undertermined date.
MARCH 13 — following a government decree on March 12, the Sefardi Museum in Toledo will remain closed from March 13 to 27.
The Jewish History Museum and Nahmanides Jewish Studies Institute in Girona are close from March 13 until further notice. Events are cancelled at least until March 26.
MARCH 24, STOCKHOLM — The Jewish Museum in Stockholm will close from March 24-April 13. Regular opening hours apply during the weekend before that.
CROSS-BORDER EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE
European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (Based in Kyiv, operating in various countries)
MARCH 11 — The ESJF, currently carrying out Jewish cemetery survey, mapping, and educational projects in a number of countries, writes on its FB page that it is assessing the situation. It says:
The threat posed by Covid-19 is escalating across our project countries. We closely monitor the situation everywhere, in touch with out national partners and in close contact with the European Commission.
We will make sure to assess the feasibility of our educational activities, which are especially affected by this public health hazard. We will strive to find alternative formats like webinars, go ahead where it is safe to do so, and postpone where it is necessary to do so.
MARCH 11 — ESJF reported that it is stopping the remaining educational work in Moldova to minimize the risk of infection. It posted a video of its last seminar in Orhei, Moldova, on its web site. Click here to see it.