Sam Shuman, an anthropology alumni who received their degree in 2021, published their article Stop the Spread: Gossip, COVID-19, and the Theology of Social Life in Religions. This article explains how scholars, journalists, and activists alike have offered a variety of explanations to understand the high incidence of COVID-19 among Haredi Jewish communities in the United States and abroad. Despite their differences, each assumes that Haredi Jews are inherently collectivistic. This article challenges this assumption and contends that COVID-19 has amplified pre-existing anxieties about the lack of proper social cohesion and solidarity within Haredi Jewish communities. It analyzes these dynamics through “Stop the Spread”, a Haredi “anti-gossip” campaign that links the ill health of social relations within the Haredi Jewish body politic to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 within its communities.

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