Over these past weeks our community has risen to the many challenges posed by COVID-19. On this journey we strived to meet these challenges with care, creativity, and unity. We celebrated Passover and Yom Ha’atzmaut and commemorated Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron. We are working together every day to help members of our community navigate the emotional and practical challenges created by social distancing. Together, we mourned those lost, comforted their loved ones, and upheld those stricken by COVID-19. With Hashem’s help we will continue to meet these challenges as a united community.
We have seen and heard that, especially over Shabbat, people may want to gather with friends for outdoor kiddushim, playdates, or meals. It is crucial that social interactions follow social distancing guidelines at all times including wearing masks outside the home. We know the weather is improving and while the overall situation in NY seems to be improving, it is critical that we maintain social distancing at this time so that we will continue to see the spread of COVID-19 slow. The document below was prepared by doctors and community representatives based on national guidelines.
The outpouring of support in dollars and volunteer hours has been a particular bright spot over these past two months. Thank you to all the donors and the volunteers who are shopping for those who cannot go out, providing tech support to help people stay connected to the community and making phone calls to “visit” those who are isolated. Each of our institutions continues to be here to help people in areas of need and we encourage you to continue to reach out to us for support.
As New Yorkers we are hearing tentative proposals and possible timelines from public health professionals and our elected leaders related to reopening. While there are no firm guidelines or timelines, the Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership is committed to working together so that when the time comes to reopen we will be prepared to meet everyone’s spiritual and emotional needs while maintaining our focus on protecting our physical health as well.
Thank you all for being a part of our caring and united community.
Rabbi Steven Burton, Congregation Shaarei Shalom
Rabbi Steven Exler, HIR – The Bayit
Deann Forman, The Riverdale Y
Rabbi Aaron Frank, Kinneret Day School
Rabbi Thomas Gardner, Riverdale Temple
Rabbi Shmuel Hain, YIOZ of North Riverdale/Yonkers
Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, SAR High School
Rabbi Simon Hirschhorn and Rabbi Noah Aronin, Hebrew Home at Riverdale
Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Yeshivat Maharat
Rabbi Barry Dov Katz, CSAIR
Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, SAR Academy
Rabbi Jonathan Kroll, SAR High School
Rabbi Dov Lerea, Congregation Beth Aharon
Rabbi Dov Linzer, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi Dan Margulies, The Riverdale Minyan
Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman, The Kehilah of Riverdale
Rabbi Joseph Robinson, RJCP (an initiative of the Riverdale Y)
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Chabad of Riverdale
Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn, Congregation Tehillah
Rabbi Dovid Zirkind, Riverdale Jewish Center
Rabbi Bob Kaplan, JCRCNY
Social Distancing Guide
Below is a quick guide to what you should not do, what you should do with caution (remembering the 6-foot rule, washing or sanitizing your hands frequently, and wearing face masks) and things you can do with relative safety.
Please note: the following guidelines apply to those who are feeling healthy, have no underlying “at risk“ conditions, and are younger than 60 years old, based evidence of those who are at higher risk from COVID-19. If you are sick, have one of the “at risk“ conditions, or are 60 years old or older, CDC’s and other guidelines are clear that you should stay at home. This more restrictive approach for these populations, especially people older than 60 who feel healthy and well, can be tremendously burdensome and challenging. But we truly view this as what each of us can do to help save lives.
- Gather in groups, including for such life cycle events as weddings and funerals, and home or synagogue minyanim
- Have sleepovers or playdates or hang out with friends (of any age)
- Play sports with non-household family members
- Have meals (like kiddushim, Shabbat meals, or playdates) with friends and neighbors even if they are outside
- Do any non-essential driving with others (except household members not in quarantine)
- Have non-essential visitors or workers in your home
- Spend too much time in stores or places of business for any reason; get in and out as soon as possible
- Go to malls or crowded stores
Do with caution:
- Shop for groceries quickly and not in crowded stores, and shop during off peak hours when the stores are less crowded; opt for delivery by phone or utilize internet orders if possible
- Pick up a prescription at a pharmacy (if you cannot arrange for delivery)
- Go to work only if you must
In each of the above cases, try to keep to the 6-foot rule, wash or sanitize your hands frequently (especially as soon as you get home), wear a face mask, and consider changing and washing your clothing upon returning home.
Safe to do:
- Go for a walk or a run. Even if you live in an apartment building you can go outside and get some fresh air (keep in mind the 6-foot rule, wear face masks, and wash your hands frequently)
- Ride a bike
- Play in the backyard with household members not on isolation (if you live in a house), or sit outside on your balcony (if you live in an apartment)
- Go for a drive with household members (if not in quarantine)
- Cook a meal or bake together as a family
- Work from home
- Exercise at home
- Connect with others by phone, text, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom
1) What does it mean to be in isolation?
In isolation, you should have no contact with anyone unless absolutely necessary. This is reserved for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 because they have the greatest likelihood of spreading the disease.
2) What does it mean to be in quarantine?
Quarantine is in order when someone has been exposed to COVID-19. Because people can transmit the disease before they have symptoms, in quarantine you should restrict yourself to your home and have contact only with individuals in your home. You should do your best to stay 6 feet from each other and you should not share utensils, beds, cups, etc. with them.
3) So how does social distancing differ from quarantine?
Quarantine is when you are restricted to your home and can be in contact only with those living there with you. Social distancing allows for minimal movement in the community if you focus on reducing contact with others. One of the main ways of doing this is by avoiding events and crowds, reducing meetings and other gatherings to a few members, working from home with video and phone meetings as necessary, and keeping a safe distance of 6 feet with anyone you are with for longer than 6 minutes.
If you do go out, try to stay 6 feet away from others and be sure to wear a face mask. If you live in an apartment, try not to touch handrails or other items in the stairwell and avoid crowded elevators. In all cases, use hand sanitizer frequently and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you return.
Not easy, we know!! But during this uncertain time, when we are all looking for ways to help out and keep our community, friends, and loved ones healthy, social distancing is something simple we can all do. It is a selfless act that saves lives.
4) How is the Coronavirus spread?
COVID-19 appears to be spread via respiratory droplets, and mainly from person to person. This means that with a cough or a sneeze the viral particles may directly spread to another person or fall to the surrounding surfaces or the ground. The particles travel generally no more than 6 feet, therefore the “six feet rule.” The virus can live on some surfaces for many hours, so someone who touches those surfaces and then touches their face, especially their eyes, nose and mouth, may introduce the virus into their system. That is why cleaning surfaces, frequent hand washing, and minimizing touching the face is crucial.
5) Where can I learn how to protect myself and more about social distancing?
The CDC has a very clear website on actions to be taken to protect yourself and your family. The recommendations on this site are very much a part of what social distancing is about.
Click here to view this useful web page. Additional information about COVID-19 and social distance from the New York City Department of Health can be found here. You can also find more information regarding face masks here.