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Click here for updates from the RCBC (last updated June 18, 2020)

Health Update #7

April 17, 2020

 

Dear Friends,
We turn to you with a sense of urgency that we all must put more effort into preventing another spike of COVID cases in our community. Based on our observations, we need to do more – not less – social distancing by adhering to the following guidelines.

  • Please read and abide by the recommendations of our local health officials found here.
  • While taking walks outside to get fresh air is encouraged for overall well-being and emotional health, we must maintain strict social distancing during that time.
  • People living in different homes should not take walks together no matter how far apart they are because they often end up getting too close, especially if younger children are present.
  • Families or individuals should not stop and have extended conversations outside with others. These inevitably lead to a breakdown in social distancing. People congregating on sidewalks, on their block, or at intersections create a danger for themselves and others.
  • Families from different homes who see each other outside should stay as far apart as possible. Standing 6 feet apart is merely the minimum recommended distance.
  • No one should be going to public playgrounds or parks. Most of them are closed anyway.
  • Children from different families must not be hanging out together or playing together.
  • We should wear a mask in public whenever we are in a situation where we must be in close proximity to other people and it is otherwise unavoidable. This includes but is not limited to grocery shopping (when no other less risky option such as delivery or pickup is available), working (for those in essential businesses that are required to be open) or other situations that necessitate being around or near other people. Again, these types of situations should be avoided whenever possible.
  • Anyone who has tested positive for COVID 19 should not be going outside, even with a mask. There is still risk of shedding the virus.

Our initial efforts, when this crisis began, succeeded in slowing the spread and preventing many illnesses and deaths. This crisis is not over. And if we let up now, we could make it worse. We are counting on everyone’s cooperation. The following analogy can convey this message well. If a person is skydiving and their parachute opens and is slowing them down as they safely approach the ground, this does not mean it’s safe to take off the parachute before landing. The parachute must be kept on the entire time. We must maintain strict social distancing throughout this crisis.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Poupko, rpoupko@ahavathtorah.org
Rabbi Goldbergrgoldberg@ahavathtorah.org
Rabbi Kuessous, rkuessous@ahavathtorah.org
Michael Ratzker, President mratzker@aol.com
Jeremy Schwalbe, Chairman of the Board jeremy@hilsonmgt.com
Melody Sandormsandor@ahavathtorah.org

Hackensack Meridian Health has been approved by the FDA to recruit recovered and recovering COVID-19 patients to assess their blood and test it for antibodies in response to the virus. These antibodies may help other patients who are infected with COVID-19. Patients with promising antibodies will be asked to come back to donate an additional blood sample which may be helpful for sick COVID-19 patients. If you, or someone you know, have recovered or are recovering from COVID-19, you may be eligible to donate. If you are interested, please contact Anna.Ullrich@hackensackmeridian.org.

Health Update # 6

March 17, 2020

Bergen County has issued an Executive Order outlining measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 as it constitutes an imminent public health hazard.   Please click HERE to read the Executive Order.

If you are in need of any assistance, please contact the synagogue office at 201-568-1315.  

Health Update # 5

March 15, 2020

Because our communities our so interconnected, we are sharing this message from Rabbi Reichman at East Hill Synagogue. Please see below.

Dear friends,

Shavua Tov. I hope everyone had a nice Shabbat. In an effort to keep everyone updated, I want to let you know that this evening we found out that our dear friend Jonathan Blinken tested positive for COVID-19. As of this writing, Jonathan is feeling better Baruch Hashem. We wish him a complete Refua Shlaima and are deeply indebted to him for all measures he takes to secure our community. Jonathan has graciously offered to serve as a resource and source of support. If he can help you with encouragement or guidance feel free to text him.

This evening Mayor Michael Wildes conferenced Jim Fedorko, head of Englewood Department of Health with me and the following are the recommendations of our city officials.

Anyone who was in the Shul during the times listed below as well as their family members should practice social distancing and take measures to self quarantine for two weeks from the last time they were in the Shul. The definition of self quarantine is to stay home and work from home, avoid exposing oneself to others outside of their family, and to monitor their own health for symptoms of the virus. One may leave home for medical care or food shopping. However, one should choose to go at off-peak hours and try to avoid exposing him/herself to others. Anyone who experiences symptoms will be eligible to get tested for COVID-19.

We realize that people will have many questions. Please note that there are communal doctors who have graciously offered to answer questions and help guide people during this difficult time. We plan to have a Zoom medical conference with doctors together with Mayor Wildes tomorrow evening to address all questions. Kindly watch your email for information. Please note that you can call or text me at any hour of the day or night if I can help in any way.
Mayor Wildes asked me to share his cell number (347) 203-6355 with the community; please contact him directly if you have any questions or concerns.

Times:
Friday, March 6th: 8:00-8:50 AM
Shabbat, March 7th: 8:00 AM - 12:30 PM, 4:25-6:40 PM
Sunday, March 8th: 8:30-9:15 AM

Warm regards,
Zev Reichman

Health Update # 4

March 12, 2020

Dear Friends,
 
With a real mixture of emotions, we share the following announcement with you from the RCBC Rabbis. Please read the letter below carefully, which spells out the thinking behind the very difficult decision we have made to close our shuls. There will be no minyanim, classes, or any other in-person activities until further notice. Each of us will be davening alone in our homes throughout this time. We are deeply saddened that we have to curtail Jewish communal life, but proud that our lay and Rabbinic leadership are working proactively in following the recommendations of medical experts to ensure communal safety.
 
Anyone who needs to pick up their Talit and Tefillin or any other personal effects from the shul should do so by 5:30pm today (Thursday) or from 6:30am to 10:00am tomorrow (Friday). Please buzz the administrator from the front door to be let in the building, as all key-cards are being deactivated during this time.
 
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.
 
Rabbi Poupko, rpoupko@ahavathtorah.org
Rabbi Goldberg, rgoldberg@ahavathtorah.org
Rabbi Kuessous, rkuessous@ahavathtorah.org
Michael Ratzker, President mratzker@aol.com
Jeremy Schwalbe, Chairman of the Board jeremy@hilsonmgt.com
Melody Sandor, msandor@ahavathtorah.org

please click here for a printable view of the RCBC letter

Health Update # 3

March 10, 2020

 

Dear Friends,

Please read this letter carefully, as it conveys the difficult decision of the shul to remain open on Purim during the spread of the coronavirus.

At this point, there are three members of our community who have either tested positive or are presumptively positive. All three are faring well, thank God, and are on their way to a full recovery. All of their contacts have been notified and are in quarantine.

While the Englewood Health Department has not instructed any shul to close, it is clear that the virus will continue to spread and large gatherings could facilitate that. The larger the gathering, the greater the chances of a person contracting or conveying the virus.

In an effort to be mindful of this risk, we strongly discourage the following individuals from coming to shul:

  • Senior citizens
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease or other cardiac issues, diabetes, lung disease or other respiratory issues
  • People with suppressed or compromised immune systems
  • Very young children who cannot sit next to a parent for the duration of the Megillah
  • People with symptoms of illness, including cough, cold, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or upper respiratory infection.

For those not coming to shul, we will be broadcasting the Megillah reading. Please watch your email for information on how to watch online or call in.

Furthermore, anyone who has the option to hear Megillah reading in a smaller group in a friend’s or neighbor’s home is strongly encouraged to do so. By minimizing the concentration of people in any particular place, we reduce any potential spread.

Those attending shul will be advised to leave once the service is over and refrain from remaining in the building and socializing. All minyanim and readings will take place at their regularly scheduled times and locations.

While in shul, please continue to adhere to the guidelines shared in previous emails. In specific:

  • No physical social contact. People should refrain from handshaking, hugging, and kissing. Elbow-bumping or just waving are better practices.
  • Kissing the mezuzah, the Torah, and shul sefarim should not be done through direct contact. An “air kiss” demonstrates the same amount of religious affection.
  • It is recommended that people bring their own Siddur, Megillah, or Chumash.


If we all adhere strictly to everything spelled out in this letter and our previous communications, we can minimize the impact upon our community.

May Hashem provide strength, perseverance, and good health to our community.

The Rabbis
The Executive Committee
The Medical Advisory Committee

Health Update # 2

March 5, 2020

Dear Friends,

We continue to closely follow the developments regarding the Coronavirus. Please note the following UPDATED information and recommendations we are providing in an effort to minimize the virus’ direct and indirect impacts on our community.

For the most up to date information about the Coronavirus (COVID 19), please visit www.cdc.gov/COVID19 as well as https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml.

Important Schedule Notes and Changes

All regularly scheduled minyanim will continue to meet as usual, including all Purim minyanim and Megillah readings. Out of an abundance of caution and to slow any potential spread of the virus, we are suspending or canceling events or programs deemed not Halachically necessary. In specific:

  • There will be no kiddushim this Shabbat
  • Youth Groups will NOT take place this Shabbat morning. Since children are potential carriers of the virus and pose greater risks of transmission, we ask that you strongly consider not bringing them to shul with you. Any children brought to shul MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times. This means children should either be with their parent in davening or left at home.
  • Parent-Child Learning Motzei Shabbat is postponed until further notice
  • Building Community Event Sunday morning is postponed until further notice
  • 2nd Hand Comedy Event Sunday night is postponed until further notice
  • Youth Purim Extravaganza after Megillah reading is canceled


People Who Should Not Come to Shul

People who have underlying health issues, suppressed immune systems, cardiac or respiratory issues should avoid coming to shul. (Of course, anyone asked to self-quarantine should remain at home and follow appropriate medical and governmental guidance.) Members with symptoms of illness, including cough, cold, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or upper respiratory infection should avoid coming to shul even if you have a chiyuv or are saying kaddish.

 

  • For Parshat Zachor: For such individuals, the Rabbis recommend that you read Parshat Zachor out of a Chumash (preferably with the trop, if you can). One can also fulfill the obligation during the summer when we read Parshat Ki Teitzeh.
  • For Megillah reading, anyone who is homebound for the above reasons (underlying health issues, etc) can contact the office to see if we can arrange for someone to come read Megillah for you in your home. If that is not possible for some reason, the next best option is to read the Megillah out of a klaf (preferably) or a book. If someone is not able to read it themselves, we will be live-streaming a Megillah reading at night and during the day. Details to follow.

Please Continue to Bear in Mind these Important Advisories

  • Physical social contact should be limited. People should avoid handshaking, hugging, and kissing. Elbow-bumping or just waving are better practices.
  • Kissing the mezuzah, the Torah, the parochet and shul sefarim should not be done through direct contact. An “air kiss” demonstrates the same amount of religious affection.
  • Flu vaccinations are recommended if you haven't already gotten one this season. By not getting or transmitting the flu, you will not only save lives, but you will greatly help doctors and emergency departments who will have fewer patients to evaluate unknown respiratory illnesses.

Finally, please remember to be mindful of the psychological impact on those who may not be able to come to shul. Please reach out to any such neighbors and friends with phone calls and video chats to maintain regular contact. No one should feel isolated during this time when technology makes it so easy to be connected. Furthermore, we recommend this talk given by Dr. Norman Blumenthal entitled Keeping Calm, Keeping Healthy for guidance on how to help children cope with the anxiety and fear they may be feeling during this situation.

Thank you for working with us to create a healthy and safe environment for our community. We will be in touch with further updates as the situation develops.

Rabbi Poupko
Rabbi Goldberg
Rabbi Kuessous
Michael Ratzker, President
Jeremy Schwalbe, Chairman of the Board
Adam Cohen, Security Committee co-Chair
Josh Hartman, NRP, CAT Medical Committee co-Chair
Dr. Yossi Schenker, Emergency Medicine, CAT Medical Committee co-Chair
Vicky Shulman, MD, Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Dr. Aliza Solomon
Lisa Wisotsky, MD, MPH

 

Health Update # 1

March 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

We are closely following the developments regarding the Coronavirus. Please note the following information and recommendations in an effort to minimize its impact on our community.

For up to date information about the Coronavirus (COVID 19), please visit www.cdc.gov/COVID19 as well as https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml.

What you can do at home

In order to reduce the spread of illness, the following best practices at home are recommended:

  • If you are feeling ill or have a fever, do not venture outside your house except to seek immediate care from your physician.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. It is often helpful to tell young children to keep lathering through two singings of ABC to give them a sense for the 20 second time frame.
  • If you are using sanitizer, which is second best to washing, please make sure it has at least a 60% alcohol content.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands to the greatest extent possible..
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough with a tissue or something other than your hand.
  • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, faucets, handheld electronic devices, and bathroom surfaces.

What the shul is doing

 

  • We have signed up to receive CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) updates.
  • Additional hand sanitizers have been placed in convenient locations such as the lobby and other areas throughout the building.
  • Additional soap dispensers and signs reminding and urging all to wash one’s hands well with soap and water have been placed in each of the bathrooms
  • Our custodial staff has upgraded their protocol and has been doing deep cleaning of the premises and wiping down twice a day commonly touched surfaces and will continue to do so.
  • The signatories below comprise a committee that will monitor the situation, make recommendations, and communicate with the membership.

Important Advisories

 

  • People who have underlying health issues, suppressed immune systems, cardiac or respiratory issues should avoid coming to shul.
  • Very young children should avoid coming to shul.
  • Members with symptoms of illness, including cough, cold, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or upper respiratory infection should avoid coming to shul even if you have a chiyuv or are saying kaddish.
  • More information will be forthcoming from the Rabbis regarding the reading of Parshat Zachor and the Megillah as the situation develops and the need arises.
  • Physical social contact should be limited. People should avoid handshaking, hugging, and kissing. Elbow-bumping or just waving are better practices.
  • Kissing the mezuzah, the Torah, and shul sefarim should not be done through direct contact. An “air kiss” demonstrates the same amount of religious affection.
  • Flu vaccinations are recommended if you haven't already gotten one this season. By not getting or transmitting the flu, you will not only save lives, but you will greatly help doctors who will have fewer patients to evaluate with unknown respiratory illnesses.

While some may be quarantined for a time, it's important that we be mindful of the mental health impact on those who may not be able to come to shul. Please reach out to any such neighbors and friends with phone calls and video chats to maintain regular contact. No one should feel isolated during this time when technology makes it so easy to be connected.

Any changes to the Shabbat schedule for this week will appear in a follow-up communication.

Thank you for working with us to create a healthy and safe environment for our community. We will be in touch with further updates as the situation develops.

Rabbi Poupko
Michael Ratzker, President
Jeremy Schwalbe, Chairman of the Board
Adam Cohen, Security Committee co-Chair
Josh Hartman, NRP, CAT Medical Committee co-Chair
Dr. Yossi Schenker, Emergency Medicine, CAT Medical Committee co-Chair
Victoria Shulman, MD, Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Lisa Wisotsky, MD, MPH
Melody Sandor, Director of Operations

Tue, August 4 2020 14 Av 5780