President’s Message #3 re: Coronavirus

Dear Friends:

We have been watching the news as many schools nationwide are closing, Broadway has gone dark, the Boston Marathon has been postponed, and the world of professional and college sports has shut down. We have been reading article after article, all of which advocate social distancing so that we can “flatten the curve” and slow down the spread of the Covid-19 virus. While New Hampshire has not yet called a state of emergency, we feel that it is coming and want to be proactive, not reactive. So, with a heavy heart, we have decided to cancel services, Hebrew School, and the Early Learning Center through March 29.  Please note that this includes cancelling the Hebrew School Kabbalat Shabbat service.

We have formed a medical advisory committee with doctors and public health experts in the community and we look to them to continue to provide recommendations.  We will continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation and we will remain in touch.

Though we are limiting in-person programming, we are not closing. The office will still be open (hours may vary; the voicemail message at extension 10 will be updated with alternate schedule information). Be on the lookout for online programming and communication from Head of School, Elian Tackeff, about what students can do from home to continue their learning.

As we said, the decision to shut down all activities is made with a heavy heart. We do so because, as Jews, we have responsibility to make that decision.  In the Torah (Deuteronomy 30:19) it states, “I set before you this day life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your descendants.”  The rabbis used this verse to establish the mitzvah of “pikuach nefesh,” “the saving of a life.”  Preserving life supersedes every other mitzvah.  Whatever we can do to slow down the spread of Covid-19, we are compelled as Jews to carry out.

Many synagogues and havurot around the country are offering live streaming of their services and learning sessions. This is a wonderful opportunity to check out alternatives! We will send a list of links in a separate email.

These weeks are anxiety-ridden and scary, and we want you to know that you are not alone. Please reach out to Rabbi Ira or to me at any point if you need help of any kind, including a friendly conversation. One thing we can all do is open up our membership directories and place a few calls to check in on one another.
A couple of notes:

  • Our TIP Board meeting will be held in person next week, in the Social Hall with lots of personal space.
  • We are exploring alternatives for the Community Seder. Please stay tuned.
  • Please see our website for additional resources and updates: http://www.templeisraelnh.org/coronavirus-updates/

As always, please follow CDC guidelines to keep yourself and your families safe.

Shabbat Shalom,

Amy Hyett, Board President

Rabbi Ira Korinow

Link to NH Department of Health & Human Services Coronavirus page

Jewish Federations Coronavirus Resource Page