At least two Orthodox Jews have died in London and another in Paris because of the coronavirus.
Rabbi Ze’ev Willy Stern, a Holocaust survivor, was 86 when he died over the weekend. One of his children is in the hospital and receiving intensive care for complications connected to the virus.
Stern “had for years helped sustain the Jewish community in Kaunas, Lithuania,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, wrote on Facebook Sunday.
Stern’s family said he would be buried Sunday following a funeral but asked in a death notice that no one try to attend or visit them. Before his death, Stern warned “that under no circumstances is anyone to attend” his funeral, said the notice, which offered a number where callers could phone in to listen to eulogies delivered during the funeral.
Frieda Feldman, 97, died in London on Friday, the same day that she was diagnosed as having the virus, according to the Bhol news site.
In Paris, the disease claimed André Touboul, 64, headmaster of the Beth Hanna Jewish girls high school and an influential Chabad rabbi. He will be buried without Jewish funeral rites, in accordance with French health guidelines, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
On Sunday, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, urged officials to ensure victims’ bodies be handled in accordance with their religious beliefs.
“For the overwhelming majority of UK Jews this means that the deceased must be buried and not cremated,” she wrote.
In France, the virus has so far claimed 674 lives; and 244 people have died from it so far in the United Kingdom. Italy, the disease’s epicenter currently, has seen more than 5,000 deaths.