Until the coronavirus hit, Shlomi Philip worked as a bartender at a popular Jerusalem night spot. With the bar shuttered, he now devotes his time to volunteering with Israel’s emergency medical teams testing for COVID-19.
Philip, the eldest of 15 children, is the only member of the family living outside the ultra-Orthodox Midi’in Ilit town. As such, he is the one who provides his parents and siblings with information about the coronavirus spread and the required precautions. Like many ultra-Orthodox families, Philip’s family does not have a television or internet and is completely cut off from the secular world. In recent days, cars fitted with loudspeakers have been making the rounds of ultra-Orthodox towns and neighborhoods, exhorting residents, in Yiddish and Hebrew, to stay home, and citing rabbis’ edicts that defying authorities’ orders to self-isolate and avoid congregation endangers others and is therefore a sin.