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Coronavirus Update: February 28

As a large community that gathers together frequently, we thought it prudent to remind everyone of the current information regarding the coronavirus. At the bottom of this post, you will find the message from the NYC Department of Education, shared with public school parents and guardians on Wednesday.

We would like to highlight these important messages:

  •  Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  •  Get your flu shot—it’s never too late
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick 

We are pleased that the BJ livestream offers everyone the opportunity to join the community remotely for Shabbat services if their health condition would put other community members, as well as the clergy and staff, at risk. If you need help accessing the livestream, or wish to borrow a siddur, please email You can also purchase a siddur of your own.

Some experts recommend limiting physical greetings. For the time being, as an extra precaution, the clergy will refrain from hugs, kisses, and handshakes at the receiving line on Shabbat. We appreciate your respecting this decision. The community is also encouraged to practice non-physical greetings.

As a Jewish community committed to supporting one another, we want to remind everyone that whenever a BJ member is ill and needs support we are here for you, as is the our bikkur holim (visiting the sick) committee, which provides support to BJ members by being in touch, and also with meals and escorts for doctor visits. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Billie DiStefano, our Hesed Programs and Life Cycles Manager, so we can support you in a time of need.

Message from NYC DOE

February 26, 2020

“This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discussed possible options for what could happen if there is local person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus in the United States, including recommendations for school systems to consider.

At this time, it is important to listen to facts and not respond to fear. Currently there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York City and the risk to New Yorkers remains low.

However, transmission of the virus in other countries has raised our level of concern, and we are preparing for the possibility of person-to-person transmission in New York City. The measures that are put in place should local person-to-person transmissions begin will depend on the number of individuals affected and the general severity of illness we experience in our city. The NYC Health Department is vigilantly preparing for all possible scenarios, and we will continue to monitor and communicate about any possible impact to our school communities.

There are no plans to close schools at this time. This is an extreme measure that can be disruptive to day-to-day life, and the decision to implement will be at the direction of public health experts.

All New Yorkers should continue to practice general flu prevention measures including:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Get your flu shot—it’s never too late
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick—call your doctor and let them know your symptoms and travel history

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