How Jews in one New York neighborhood stepped up against the coronavirus

On March 13, educational institutions in the community were shut down, two full days before the New York officials made the demand to shut down all public schools in the city.

Members of the Hasidic Jewish community walk through the Borough Park neighborhood, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., April 8, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)
Members of the Hasidic Jewish community walk through the Borough Park neighborhood, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., April 8, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)
The Jewish New York neighborhood of Crown Heights is usually full of people, but the coronavirus pandemic has changed that, as the community has taken crucial steps to stop the spread, and support its people. 

People now pray from their balconies, weddings are held out in the street and the neighborhood has issued a seder-in-place protocol, marking the first time many homes will hold seders without any guests.
Crown Heights is home to members of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which is known for hosting large global events, especially around holidays and Shabbat. Just a few weeks ago, hundreds of families were preparing to host children from around the world for the Chidon Jewish quiz event, which was ultimately cancelled.
The coronavirus hit the packed neighborhood fast, dozens of lives have been lost, but this only led to a stronger effort made by the community members. The community quickly adapted to staying inside; the young began shopping for the elderly, efficient efforts were made to help children from all backgrounds to learn from home and volunteers from the first responders organization United Hatzalah stayed on alert, even as their families stay home. 
When the coronavirus began to take hold, the community made drastic efforts to change, days before the New York state government announced its policies to stop the spread. Major gatherings that were planned for Passover were cancelled, Jewish schools, medical establishments and rabbis worked closely together to respond to the outbreak.
Dr. Shlomo Minkowitz founded the Gedaliah Society, a network of Chabad men who work in the medical field, in honor of his father who died tragically six years ago. When the virus began to take hold just days after Purim, Minkowitz realized that the group's network was a valuable resource. The website was kept up-to-date with the number of coronavirus patients from the community and a information hotline was established, which is manned by thirty volunteers.
As the virus began to spread, community members began joining the Gedaliah Society's efforts. One Crown Heights resident took charge of running errands, and posted a google form on the group's website, where volunteers can sign up to deliver food for people who need to stay home for safety reasons.
On March 13, educational institutions in the community were shut down, two full days before the New York officials made the demand to shut down all public schools in the city. Within days of the shut down, all the major learning institutions joined together to develop CHYeshiva.com, a now widely-used online learning platform for the neighborhood's thousands of students. 

Not every family has internet, or enough devices for every child, especially in a community where the norm is large families, and so  the CHYeshiva effort published a survey asking parents what they needed in order to make learning for all their children possible. Following a community survey, CHYeshiva, internet hotspots were made available and devices were made available at discounted prices or free for families in need.