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Information Regarding Coronavirus

03/04/2020 06:10:51 PM

Mar4

 

March 4, 2020

Greetings friends,

As we carefully follow the developments and updates regarding the spread of COVID-19 and its impact, we wanted to share with you a few updates and guidelines based on recommendations from the CDC (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus) and the New York City Department of Health Department (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page).

In addition to following the hygiene guidelines in the links, listening to public health authorities,, as well as those that have been shared widely in the media; please note that Jewish law favors the protection of life over the overwhelming majority of Mitzvot. This means:

  • Identify Symptoms and Know if You are at Risk: Symptoms: fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, upper respiratory infection (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html). You may be at additional risk if you have any underlying respiratory illnesses, are immunocompromised, are a current smoker or have a past history of smoking. 
  • Attendance at Services or Events: Please do not attend our services or events if you are under quarantine, or are presenting symptoms of illness. Synagogue attendance is enriching, meaningful, and often entertaining, but it is not a personal legal obligation.
  • Ritual Immersion: Please delay ritual immersion if you are under quarantine or are presenting any signs of illness. For specific halakhic questions please contact our Rabbi or our Yoetzet directly.
  • Parashat Zakhor: Please do not attend if you are under quarantine or are presenting any signs of illness. Hearing the Torah Portion of Zakhor is a personal obligation, but one that may be fulfilled at other times during the Jewish year.
  • Attending Purim Services: Please do not attend services on Purim, if you are under quarantine, presenting symptoms, or (given the expected crowd) if you are immunocompromised. You are strongly encouraged to fulfil your obligation by watching our live broadcast on our Facebook page. (Note, you will not need to sign in to watch. Listening over the phone works as well). The Megillah on Purim is a Rabbinic obligation binding upon all adult Jews; nevertheless, this year, it is appropriate to apply some flexibility in its implementation.

Additionally, please take the following points under advisement.

  • Synagogue Cleanliness: We spend a lot of time and money to ensure that our 175 year old building is clean and safe. Over these days we are taking additional precautions to regularly wipe down commonly touched surfaces.That said, you should definitely avoid touching your faces, eyes, etc., after exposure. Hand-washing is always advised. Please continue to help us keep our building clean.
  • Communal Eating: Kiddush is delicious, but please - as always - try not to stand over exposed food.
  • Person to Person Contact: Although the CDC has not yet recommended avoiding handshakes, we would prefer to avoid them. (You had Shishi. We get it. Shkoyach).

Thank you in advance for being our partner in keeping our community healthy and strong. We care about your health and we prefer you when you are calm. We will always defer to recommendations of our health officials. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Best, 

Gavriel Bellino
Rabbi

Elie Yudewitz
President

Thu, December 3 2020 17 Kislev 5781