Health Update

Dear Temple Har Shalom Community,

We wanted to send this brief update as we continue to monitor the situation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak across the United States.

While there are no confirmed cases currently in our community at this time, like many organizations, businesses and schools, we are staying up to date on the latest information provided by local health officials as well as the NJ Department of Education, Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization. They are closely monitoring the situation and we will continue to look to them should they feel we need to take any additional precautions to keep our community healthy.

In order to adhere to the best practices from the above-mentioned experts, we continue to evaluate and improve all aspects of our routines, including immediate changes to some long-standing Jewish practices and minhag. When visiting the synagogue for services and other simchot, you’ll notice tallitot being disinfected after each use, disposable kippot and kiddush cups, new ways to honor the Torah as opposed to kissing, more strict food preparation practices at Onegs and more. While potentially different, we thank you in advance for helping us prioritize keeping our community as healthy as possible.

When making the decision to visit our community, we ask you and your guests to exercise extreme care. Please do not visit if you have a fever, cough or respiratory issues. We ask that you do the same if you have recently traveled overseas, including and especially to CDC designated COVID-19 impact areas.

We continue to remind every one of the importance of good hygiene and preventative practices including avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Our cleaning crews continue to work each night to disinfect surfaces, paying particular attention to all high traffic areas.

Finally, should you or anyone in your home be diagnosed with COVID-19, please let us know as soon as possible.

The situation continues to evolve with new information being made available almost daily. We will continue to acutely monitor the situation, consult with experts, take precautions and provide updates to our community when appropriate. Should you want more information about COVID-19, we encourage you to visit the CDC and/or the NJ Department of Health websites for the latest updates.

While hard to reconcile during the situation in which we find ourselves, we’re nonetheless reminded of the words of Rabbi Hillel who said, “Do not separate yourself from the community.”  The words from almost 2 millennia still ring true today as our coming together as a community – be it in person or virtually – will be what guides us through these unfamiliar times.

We remain grateful for your support and understanding in facing this unconventional challenge and wish continued health to our entire Temple Har Shalom family.

Rabbi Randi Musnitsky