A Talmud class was canceled, as well as a conference on the history of Zionism and a book presentation at the Holocaust Memorial. Jewish life in Milan at the time of the coronavirus crisis that is hitting northern Italy hard is a succession of emails canceling a rich calendar of events that the city’s Jewish institutions organized on a regular basis.Considered the economical capital of Italy, Milan is home to 7,000 Jews, the largest Jewish community in the country after Rome.Italy is currently the third country for number of registered coronavirus cases in the world after China and South Korea, with more than 200 infected, mostly in Lombardy, Milan’s region.The contagion has prompted local authorities to take a series of measures, including canceling schools until March 1 and prohibiting large gatherings such as religious functions and recreational activities. Theaters and movie theaters have also shut down, and cafes were ordered to close before 6 p.m.While Jewish institutions are closely monitoring the coronavirus epidemic, and while everyone worries about the impact of the situation on the city, Jews in northern Italy aren’t panicking.“Following the orders of the authorities, we closed our school but our offices are open and the community’s retirement home is also functioning normally, with all the appropriate precautions,” Milo Hasbani, the president of the Jewish community of Milan, told The Jerusalem Post.“As far as religious functions are concerned, we have been in touch with the prefecture and we agreed that synagogues would be able to hold their daily prayers with their usual worshipers but would not accept visitors or large crowds,” he said. “We will in touch later on in the week to see if it’s going to be possible for the synagogues to be open on Shabbat.”To the best of their knowledge, nobody in the community has been infected, Hasbani said.A bar mitzvah that was scheduled for Thursday has been postponed, as well as a fundraising dinner organized by the Keren Hayesod at the beginning of next week, he said.“Tomorrow we will hold the community council,” he said. “We are considering appointing a special task force to deal with the emergency that will be able to act fast. So far, I have to thank all the professionals working in their communities for their efforts and efficiency.”One of the challenges presented by the cancellation of the school consists in the fact that Italian law requires a minimum number of schooldays, that for Jewish schools is already challenging to reach it because of the Jewish holidays.“We are talking to the Education Ministry to understand what to do if they were to decide to keep schools closed for longer,” Hasbani said, adding that they are also exploring holding classes online.Having the children at home for many days in the middle of the school year is challenging for many families, as Jennifer Berkowitz, a mother of three, told the Post.“The children are very happy to be at home, but we need to get organized,” she said while her three children, ages nine, seven and 18 months, play in the background.Berkowitz said she did not go to the office today to be home with the kids while their situation is especially complicated also because their nanny is at home sick (unrelated to the coronavirus).“I’m not scared, I’m taking them out in the afternoon. Maybe we will avoid the playground, since the slides and swings are touched by so many people, but we will still go to a park,” she said. “What is important is to wash our hands.”Like many Milanese Jews, Berkowitz has family in Israel. Her mother and sister are planning to visit in the coming days. But the uncertainties regarding possible quarantines might affect their decision.“My mother is planning on staying for a long period, so she is not so worried, but my sister should be here only for a few days and she is concerned that Israeli authorities might order those who return from Italy to be in isolation for two weeks, so she doesn’t know what to do,” she said, adding that at the moment the problems around traveling are more worrisome to hear that the virus itself. “We are planning to spend Passover in Israel. We really hope we won’t need to give it up.”The closing of the schools is also affecting Milan’s other two Jewish days schools – Chabad and the Sefardi-Lebanese.“We were really hoping we would be able to stay open, but of course when the authorities gave the order we complied,” Rivka Hazan, the director of the school by the local branch of the Merkoz L’Inyonei Chinuch, the Chabad education organization, told the Post.She said they already got organized to carry out some activities online, and classes were assigned homework.“I think people are worrying too much about the coronavirus,” Hazan said. “I’m concerned that the panic is spreading. It’s true that the disease is contagious but people also recover. It reminds me of the time of the first Gulf War, when the supermarkets were empty for a conflict that was fought in Iraq.”According to Italian media, the supermarket shelves in Milan are also bare.Chabad of Milan’s soup kitchen is continuing functioning. “We can’t leave people who depend on it without food,” she said.“In this period, we always have a lot of guests for Shabbat who come for the eyewear sector show, and now everyone canceled,” Hazan said. “I’m worried that this situation is going to be very negative for Milan.”Italy has more than 220 cases of the coronavirus, the highest number in Europe, and seven deaths from Covid-19. Some 50,000 Italians in the two northern “hot spot” regions of Veneto and Lombardy have been put under a 14-day quarantine.