Update from Rabbinical Council of Bergen County
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Update from Rabbinical Council of Bergen County

Dear Friends,

We are writing with an update regarding COVID-19 and the ongoing health
situation in our community. We have all been following the news of the spread of
this virus with great concern. Based on our consultation with medical experts from
the local area hospitals, we know that the spread of the virus is on the rise and our
hospitals are nearly at capacity.

Therefore, we urge the entire community to uphold the social distances measures
we adopted last week with ever greater vigilance. No one should be within six feet
of anyone else, aside from the family with whom one lives. The guidelines that
were set last week are reprinted below as a reminder. In addition, we would like to
add a number of updates:

A. There should be no stigma attached to this disease. It is no one’s fault and
we are all trying our best. In addition, please realize that many, many of us might
have it with mild symptoms or even no symptoms. We should not be frightened
because the vast majority of people who contract this virus will be completely fine
and will recover after a few days of mild symptoms. Our communal efforts are for
the sake of the small minority that are having significant symptoms and who can
overload our healthcare system, which in turn may imperil the health of the entire
population. Thank you to everyone who is helping make our community part of the
solution to this challenge.

B. If you feel mild symptoms, call your doctor. The hospital is requesting that
you treat mild symptoms at home and if you go to the emergency room with
symptoms that may be COVID-19, please call them ahead so that they can
prepare.

C. All RCBC updates are posted on our website: www.rcbcvaad.org, including
online community events and sales at our local stores.

D. As we look towards Pesach, we acknowledge that while we cannot predict
precisely what the situation will be in three weeks, we must plan based on the
current fact pattern, and the expected course of the spread of COVID-19. On this
basis, we urge everyone to stay home with immediate family, even separated from
parents and grandparents. This is a painful but necessary precaution. Similarly,
we should not travel to other areas of the country, even by car, especially not to
Florida where we have a very large vulnerable population.

E. We anticipate that we may have to execute both the sale of chametz as well
as the siyum on Erev Pesach online. Please stay tuned to your shul’s
announcements for details on that as we get closer. Alternatively, for first-borns
who are able, there is still time to learn a small masechet and to make a siyum at
home.

F. We have been working with the local stores and groceries in order to
arrange for the sale of fully prepared boxed Pesach meals that will be able to be
purchased. Please look out for more information about that if you are interested.

G. We are all inspired by the way that the community is making this challenge
into an opportunity for solidarity, for mutual concern and for personal growth. It is
hard to keep track of all of the amazing creative virtual programming that is taking
place. We are trying to post as many of them as we can on our website. We would
also like to invite the entire community to sing Yedid Nefesh from your front doors
or porches, starting at exactly 7 PM on Friday night.

Guidelines of Social Distancing: Always keep six feet away from other peopletry to avoid sharing an elevator with someone else, if possible. Only do essential
errands and try to do them at off times.

1. All community members are strongly encouraged to work from home, if
possible, and to stay home whenever possible. It is critical for adults to set
the right example. If you have to go to work, minimize interactions in transit
and while there.

2. As the schools are currently closed, there should not be playdates between
children of different families. This would undermine the entire purpose of
the school closing.

3. Shuls are closed for all minyanim and shiurim until further notice. There
should be no house minyanim.

4. There should be no public celebrations for smachot.

5. People should not invite guests for Shabbat meals.

6. Shiva visits should be replaced by phone/video calls.

7. Levayot should be restricted to a small group of family members and a
minyan.

8. Refrain from contact sports.

9. Restaurants should not seat customers. People should order for pick-up
and delivery only.

10.The Mikvaot will remain open, at the guidance of CDC and local health
authorities. Women under mandatory quarantine or who are experiencing
symptoms of illness may not use the mikvah. Please consult your rav for
further clarification or for specific questions.

Please take these days as a critical opportunity to intensify our prayers and
concern for each other and our communities. May we join together in health and
happiness in the near future.
Sincerely,
The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County

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