April 1, 2020/7 Nisan 5780
To our Fellow Members of the Queens Jewish Community:
Words cannot describe the difficulties and challenges we are all experiencing. This is a time of unspeakable pain and suffering for so many and we must continue to daven to Hashem to request His salvation immediately. It is incumbent upon our community to continue to follow the guidelines and regulations set by the Federal, State and local authorities. We must collectively and individually keep abreast of these guidelines as the situation is fluid and changing on a regular basis. As we are a Torah community, the challenges during this time are especially magnified as the Yom Tov of Pesach approaches. The mandated community guidelines from the Rabbonim of Queens are as follows:
Minyanim: It is strictly forbidden to participate in a minyan of any kind regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors, spaced out or not. This applies to shivah minyanim as well. Those who are sitting Shivah should be comforted by phone calls and zoom meetings. One who participates in a minyan of any kind is defying the directive of both local Rabbonim and doctors and is actively endangering the lives of the entire community.
Mikvah Nashim: Any woman who is in quarantine or has symptoms (fever, cough, loss of smell or taste) may not go to the Mikvah. Our Mikvaos have established strict protocols for disinfecting the Mikvah on a regular basis and for screening women who use the Mikvah. If you had symptoms or were diagnosed with COVID-19, please call the Mikvah in advance to determine whether you can immerse.
Bris: A bris does not require a minyan. Therefore, as difficult as this may be for the family, we recommend that the bris take place with the parents of the baby and the mohel only. Friends and family members can participate via zoom. The seuda can take place when the pandemic is over.
Mikvah Keilim: The keilim mikvah has been closed. One may sell his keilim to a gentile for the duration of this emergency. The VHQ has arranged a mechiras keilim for your convenience, please contact the VHQ for details or click here for the VHQ Mechiras Keilim Form. When this pandemic ends, one must reacquire the keilim and be tovel them properly. One should mark off which keilim will need to be immersed to avoid confusion.
Traveling: To protect the welfare of our community and ALL communities, we ask Queens residents to remain home for the ENTIRE Pesach. In addition, please DO NOT host anyone from the community or members of different communities. Everyone is encouraged to spend Pesach with the people who live in your home only. We recognize this request is extremely challenging, but this is the decision of the community rabbanim who are in close contact with leading Infectious Disease experts. This is a matter of Pikuach Nefesh. In the event that you know of a single adult or elderly person who cannot function on their own, please consult with a doctor familiar with the protocols in place as to what the responsible course of action is. We must take this virus extremely seriously as there are members of our community currently in the hospital and others who have sadly already died. It is our hope and prayer that the Almighty watch over us, protect us and send yeshuos and refuos to all of Klal Yisrael. Wishing the entire community a chag kasher v’sameach with safety and good health.
Rabbi Shaul Arieli Rabbi Baruch Babaev Rabbi Yaakov Bergman Rabbi Meir Glazer Rabbi Mordechai Zev Hecht Rabbi Martin Katz Rabbi Nahum Kaziev Rabbi Judah Kerbel Rabbi Barry Kornblau Rabbi Doniel Lander Rabbi Dov Lerner Rabbi Shmuel Marcus Rabbi Yossi Mendelson Rabbi Yisrael Moskowitz Rabbi Noach I. Oelbaum Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg Rabbi Asher Schechter Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld Rabbi Ashie Schreier Rabbi Chaim Schwartz Rabbi Hayim Schwartz Rabbi Elan Segelman Rabbi Aryeh Sokoloff Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff Rabbi Peretz Steinberg Rabbi Etan Tannenbaum Rabbi Lawrence Teitelman Rabbi Asher Vaknin Rabbi Dr. Richard Weiss Rabbi Herschel Welcher Rabbi Dovid Willig Rabbi Yehuda Zakutinsky Rabbi Rafael Zavulunov Cong. Chasam Sofer