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Important Information Regarding Coronavirus Concerns and Upcoming Purim Party

Friday, 6 March, 2020 - 12:25 pm

The purpose of this email is to update about our upcoming Purim party, as well as discussing changes that need to be made to keep us safer in Shul.

I have asked Dr Shimon Rudnick to join the board and serve as our medical director and he has graciously agreed. Shimon is a board certified internal medicine physician who serves professionally as a medical director to multiple skilled nursing facilities in our area. Questions about safety should be directed to him. The situation regarding Coronavirus appears to be changing on a daily basis, and we are monitoring the situation and will update accordingly.

The Purim party scheduled for Monday night after Megilla reading will take place as scheduled. Please note that if you are over 60 or have an underlying condition such as Diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease such as asthma or emphysema, or conditions that can compromise your immunity, you may be at higher risk and may want to consider not coming to Shul at this time for services. In addition, please note there certainly is no obligation to attend the Purim party or Kiddushim. We do expect a smaller crowd and are reducing the amount of food served. We will have soft music played rather than dancing music and would like to request that no dancing take place, as dancing can be a risk due to physical contact with others. We are also planning to implement a system of food servers rather than have a self serve buffet to minimize exposure of foods to potential pathogens. 

Please note that the following changes will need to be made to our routine conduct in Shul for this Shabbos, Purim and the foreseeable future.

At this time, we have learned that the majority of the coronavirus illnesses (about 80%) around the world appear to be mild and are characterized by fever and cough. Around 15-20% of cases are severe and involve pneumonia, particularly in older individuals and people with underlying medical conditions. We are  taking the outbreak of this novel coronavirus seriously, and have chosen a cautious and prudent approach to minimize the risk to our community. We are asking all members of our community for their cooperation and support in these efforts.

We are requesting that congregants take the following steps in the Shul to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, steps that are similar to those for preventing the spread of the flu or a common cold. These recommendations are consistent with those of the local health department and focus on the most prevalent mode of transmission of the viruses, hand-to-face. CLEAN HANDS SAVE LIVES.

  • Avoid handshakes and hugging. This appears to be a common route that that Coronavirus is spread.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or sleeve, NOT with your hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing the Torah or a Mezuzah directly.
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently with proper technique. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.
  • Before taking food at Kiddush and other Food Events, hands should be washed with soap and water.
  • Do not use your hands to directly take food at kiddushes. Please use serving utensils and do not place the handles of the utensils on the food. We will try to avoid this by attempting to set up a system of food servers.
  • Do not come to Shul if you have evidence of an upper respiratory infection, such as a runny nose, sneezing, coughing or have a fever.
  • Mentor and assist our community's children with following the above recommendations.

We look forward to seeing you this Shabbos and on Monday night for Purim. We will continue to monitor the evolving guidance from the Health Department, and will update our approaches as appropriate. 

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and safe Purim!

Best,
Yussi Greenberg President
Shimon Rudnick, Medical Director

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