On March 1, 2020, the coronavirus was barely making headlines in the United States and Israel. Both countries had more pressing matters. In Israel, which counted just 10 confirmed cases, the media was focused on the next day’s general election. In Washington, D.C. it was the Super Tuesday primary, not America’s 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases, that dominated the headlines. The virus was far away and the American capital felt safe – safe enough to host a gathering of more than 18,000 people, including dozens of members of Congress, in the largest annual Jewish event in the United States. But it would be two other, unheralded guests who would prove the most influential.