A Message from Rabbi Berkman

Jewish tradition teaches us that we are all responsible for one another. Kol Yisrael Arevim zeh ba’zeh, our sages taught in the Talmud. The Hebrew “arevim” literally means “mixed up together.” Our interconnectedness becomes even more apparent during a time of an outbreak of disease. During a time when a new virus is going around, and can have a dangerous impact on some people, this idea is so important to keep in mind. While we may have a good immune system and not be worried about catching Coronavirus, others around us may have be at higher risk for more severe illness. Also, it is not uncommon to be infected with the coronavirus but not to show symptoms or to exhibit only mild cold symptoms. We can be carriers of this potentially dangerous disease and can pass it along to others if we do not pay careful attention to handwashing and other precautions. It is our job to take care of all members of our community. To that end, when we come into the building and gather together, we ask that everyone do the following, as recommended by public health officials:

Wash hands with soap and water frequently, and for 20 seconds, making sure to scrub all parts of the hands. Use a disposable towel to turn off sink faucets.

Alternatively, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. As with many viruses, Covid-19 can survive on many surfaces for several days. Be aware that door handles and elevator buttons and any other surfaces in common areas need to be kept clean to keep us all safe.

Refrain from shaking hands, hugging/kissing as a way of greeting one another. Instead, we’ll place a hand over our heart (this is done in some other cultures), or do an elbow bump!

When food is served, do not reach in with your hands or your personal utensils, but rather use serving utensils for all food.

As a caring community, we are always mindful of striving to support one another. At this time of increased awareness of this particular disease, and of course the other viruses that go around at this time of year, I urge us all to remember that we are not only taking precautions to protect our own health, but the health of others in our community who may be more vulnerable to severe disease and complications.

With blessings for health and strength, as we continue to support our own and one another’s well-being – of spirit and of body!

L’briyut – to health,

Rabbi Berkman