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MESSAGE TO COMMUNITY 3/12/2020
Dear Romemu Community, and the New York City Community at Large,
Last week, when we decided to cancel all in-person Shabbat and Purim services and celebrations, we knew of no other synagogues in Manhattan that had yet made such a decision. The CDC and NY Department of Health had NOT recommended that religious institutions cease all in-person activities. As of this writing, they have still not.
Yet we again feel compelled to act dramatically as we observe the events in the world around us and in our sister communities outside of New York City. It is clear to us that the only way to ensure that we do not play a role in furthering the unfolding pandemic is to completely cease our part in fostering non-essential social interactions, and move everything we can online. We are therefore making the following decisions, AND WE CALL UPON ALL OTHER ORGANZATIONS, BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS PROVIDING NON-ESSENTIAL SERVICES TO DO THE SAME:
- Romemu as an organization is immediately ceasing all in-person activities. Prayer services, pastoral activities, learning, community events, and meetings of all types will be held using online or telecommunications technologies, if possible.
- Staff will be encouraged NOT to use mass transit and allowed to work from home if needed.
- We will not hold any public services or celebrations for lifecycle events. Shiva visits in person are discouraged.
- Romemu encourages people NOT to gather in groups for ANY non-essential reason. This includes NOT praying together at home, NOT learning together, and NOT gathering together for Shabbat meals. This also includes NOT going to entertainment events or any non-essential activities where contact with many others is likely.
For an organization whose main role is to foster intimate and meaningful community, these are painful decisions. We are committed, therefore, to continuing to support the Romemu community with pastoral care, spiritual nourishment, learning and celebration in whatever ways we can, as long as it does not involve in-person contact. We will dramatically increase our use of Livestream, Zoom videoconferencing, teleconferencing and other technologies, which we already do for many services and programs, and add even more opportunities for learning, sharing and community online. Specific details will be forthcoming over the next few days.
Our hearts are broken for all of us. But we strongly believe this is the right action to take, and that we would be even more broken-hearted if we had a role in unwittingly spreading this pandemic while trying to serve those we love.
With love, caring and blessings,
Rabbi David Ingber, Founder & Senior Rabbi
Jeffrey Cahn, Executive Director
MESSAGE TO COMMUNITY 3/5/2020
Dear Romemu Community,
In the past 24 hours alone, we have received briefings and recommendations regarding the Coronavirus outbreak from a vast array of government agencies, Jewish communal institutions, universities, hospitals, synagogues, experts and community members. I have also met extensively with Rabbi Ingber and our own staff to examine our current operations, make immediate changes where indicated, and contingency plan for the future. We are monitoring the situation inside and outside of Romemu on a daily (hourly, actually) basis, and will continue to respond as advised by experts and our own situational analysis.
Our clear priority is the safety and health of our community and our staff. We are therefore immediately putting into place the actions below, and ask for your cooperation.
Thank you for your help and understanding,
Jeffrey Cahn, Executive Director