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BS"D
August 20, '20
 
Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Mazal Tov
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• COVID-19 Update Rosh Chodesh Elul, August 19, 2020
• Divrei Torah: Shoftim
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 2 Elul-9 Elul
• Learn About the RAA Retirement Plan
• Queens Jewish Link: Hate Crime
• Tosfos Yom Tov: Elul 5780
• The Rabbinical Alliance of America Embraces Diversity of Views
• Bukharian Jewish Link: Participate in Census 2020
• Reflections on Gush Katif

Please let us know about your family simchos and l"a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to rabbi@igud.us.

Mazal Tov



 

Chaplaincy Commission Update

From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com
August 20, 2020 – Rosh Chodesh Elul 5780

Many at this time of the year might be saying, “I can’t believe the summer is about over”. We are entering a very holy period of days before the Yamim Noraim. A period of personal reflections, a period of wanting to become even closer to the Ribono Shel Olom. The Sefardic communities begin reciting Selichos, the shofar is blown after Shacharis. This year there will be many differences- some subtle, some communal such as shuls who still will have social distancing, policy of having to wear a mask, some shuls only the baal koreh says the brachos by the Torah, possible reduced tefilos to enable more minyanim, protocol for birkas Kohanim, how to blow for those who are home bound and so on. Will the outdoor minyanim continue? There are doctors who are instructing their patients to wear masks and restrict who they are in contact with. Many doctor, dentist and other medical facilities insist on temperature taking , checking oxygen levels, insist on patients completing a form about COVID-19 related questions the patient has to complete before being allowed to see the doctors, dentists or other specialist. We should say Boruch H, that in many communities there are no cases of COVID-19. We keep reading about new, rules and changes almost everyday. How long immunity or anti-bodies will last, the changes in what kind of mask is good, not so good, exceptionally good. Whatever a person will do, everyone should be gzundt and no loshon harah or sinas chinan. But lets again focus on the home bound or those who are either considered high risk, believe they are at some risk or those who are just cautious. Their concerns should not be dismissed including the yom tov of Sukkos and Simchas Torah. Many of these concerns were mentioned in some of my previous articles. Rabbonim of each kehila will determine what changes if any will be made.

For me personally, life has changed dramatically. Though, I have cared for other’s in similar circumstances, it is not the same for me . For one, there is the first time being without my wife for the yom tovim, where we davened, what we did, where we went, what we ate. My children and other close relatives are concerned where will I be for Rosh Hashana ,Yom Kippur and then Sukkos. Well they really know the answer and know that I like to and able to shop, cook, bake, and clean. Honestly, none of my meals come close to what my wife made. I want to remain in my own daled amos with tefilos that are close to my heart. Going to tashlich, enjoying Sukkos with family, Simchas Torah and so much more will be so different. Counseling, discussing, and listening to others through the years was so different than it is for me now. No one can feel and know the pain, the anguish, the loneliness of others. Even though, I genuinely believe my wife is in Gan Eiden. When I opened the closet doors this week and did not see her clothing and other items that were given to various gemachs, was another part of her being gone in the physical sense. As Dr. Blumenthal once mentioned to me, it is like saying 3,000 goodbyes to my wife. Emotionally, each one of those items had a memory attached to them. We cannot take for granted we know and feel what another person is feeling, what he/she is going through, his/her concerns, desires , wants, needs, for everyday living and for the forthcoming yom tovim  are truly important to be aware of. Just because a person says I don’t need anything, want anything, not concerned about the forthcoming yom tovim might only be forth stalling and really does want or need something, maybe really does want companionship, would like just to hold someone hands, might just need to cry not alone but with someone he/she trusts and feels close to. Some of my grand children asked me “ Zaidy don’t you feel lonely without Bubby” Wouldn’t it be helpful to have company? My response to my family members, I am not lonely for companionship, I feel lonely without Bubby. In my next article , I am going to share with you how my wife with her tremendous sensitivity, sincerity, respect, care for others with gentleness, sweetness, love for the Aibershta, His Torah and mitzvos, developed a special bond  with a Jewish woman who was so far from Judaism. This woman’s life changed upside down.  She married a man with a strange animal on his head who appeared from out of no where. Stay posted for the next interesting story you might have thought not possible in my next article next week.

I want to share with you some parts, I have used in some of my presentations. The spiritual is the ultimate ground of all our questions, hopes, fears, and loves. In times of trouble and stress, people often derive comfort, joy, and peace from spiritual connections an interaction. Many express their spirituality through their religion, including prayer and attending synagogue services. Spiritual needs have often been defined and expressed through religious rituals, including prayer, observance of holy days, religious days, and other rites for celebrating religious traditions and beliefs. Religion and spirituality mean praying, healing, singing, reading, listening, faith and hope. These can bring a source of pride and meaning.  The acceptance of a Higher Power to ask for help and assistance, The One I give thanks to for providing the things on Hawolam Hazeh, the many blessings that He has bestowed on me and the potential of reaching Hawolam Habah.

What about someone without any family. What about someone whose feelings of guilt, despair, or plain feeling down. What about those who are homebound, or someone who is elderly, perhaps with a walker, wheelchair, or other means of assistance and unable to climb the stairs to the synagogue. Or those who because of being high risk, any risk preventing from attending synagogue services who are missing out on joining and participating with others. How can we bring some of that spirituality, that kedusha into the home?

Did you ever pass by a person sitting on a wheelchair, or in front of their home or apartment building and you say hello or hi and how are you and then keep on going. Well, to that person asking how you are is an invitation to initiate a conversation and what a disappointment it is when you keep on walking away. Especially for someone who is lonely, spending lots of time alone. Now is the time for outreach to those who are homebound, have certain medical or physical needs, and those going through difficult emotional and spiritual times way before the yom tovim begin. There might be individuals who are embarrassed, might feel ashamed, might feel uncomfortable to ask a question, such as meals, where to have their Sukkos meal and that extra support only a rabbi, rebbitizen, chaplain can give. Speaking about emotional and other special needs support, I am proud to announce an enhanced collaboration with OHEL to be officially announced in the forthcoming days specifically to benefit our member rabbonim, their rebbitzens and our chaplains.

Here is a poem by Dawn Mazzola I often used in some of my workshops on caring, feeling and hey it’s me, please pay attention to me! Did you ever hear the expression I’m not just a piece of furniture you know “?

“I’m A Person Too”

Here I lie in bed again, Awaiting my next meal.

A worker barges in my room, As if it’s no big deal.

What ever happened to courtesy? Just a little knock,

Do you think I’m just a vegetable, Laying here like a rock?

What ever happened to manners? I haven’t got a clue.

BUT KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO.

I know I can not walk, or even joke around.

But I am aware of everything, and also every sound.

If you have another worker help, change me during rounds.

Please do not talk about me, as if I am not around.

Treat me with respect, the same I would give you,

KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO.

My bones are stiff and achy, I hear you say I am contracted.

My belly hurts, I have not pooped, I hope I am not impacted.

I am sorry I may drool, and at times I even stare.

It is not easy being old, aging is not fair.

These are the cards G dealt me. There is nothing I can do.

JUST KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO,

I used to be a lively one, just like your pretty self.

I traveled, married, and worked long hours until I lost my health.

I press my light to see a face, Or just for company.

For someone just to look inside, and realize that I am ME.

You walked past my light, what am I to do?

PLEASE REMEMBER I’M A PERSON TOO.

I am sorry that I messed the bed, I feel like such a baby.

I am so embarrassed, and ashamed, that I am doing this at eighty.

I am sorry I couldn’t hold it, I didn’t know what to do.

KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO.

I wish I were able to communicate some way.

So finally, I would get the chance, to say what I want to say.

I hear you talk with other patients, so please do not walk away.

If everyone showed a little compassion, I would not feel this way.

My name is Helen, and I am all alone.

Cancer took my husband, he had it in his bones.

We had one child, our precious son.

Until his life was taken by a gun.

So here, I am, no family left, as loneliness weighs heavy on my chest.

I may be sad; I may be blue.

PLEASE REMEMBER I’M A PERSON TOO.

Next time my light is on, come and see if I am OK.

I am a retired nurse of thirty years and would love to hear about your day.

Copyright 2006-2017 Available www.FamilyFriendPoems.com

There is much to discuss and to learn from Dawn Mazzola.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. By Ralph Waldo Emerson

And in the end, it is not the years in your life that counts. It is the life in your years, by Abraham Lincoln.

One of the challenges many families face is after the shiva is over and family who gave all the moral support during that period must return to their own daily lives and those mourners are now left alone. Sometimes there is time to prepare for the inevitable and sometimes there is no time to prepare or to discuss- “now what”. In my situation, not only did I have caring children from all sides of the family, take an interest, prepared some of the initial Shabbos meals and they and other family members and neighbors offered to do shopping. I eventually started doing my own shopping, meal preparations, returned to going to shul, continued my articles, being involved in certain RAA projects, other organizations, and committees, and keep in touch with other family, chavarim and neighbors. I am looking forward to attending a grandsons afruf and wedding, but with trepidation of being without my wife. I cannot even begin to think about family pictures without her. I am sure all the immediate family members will also be feeling sadness of her not being physically present. Yet, we do believe the neshama will be there as it is custom to invite the neshamas in Gan Eiden to attend. After so many weeks since the shiva, I am still being met by others who were so touched by her sincerity, her kindness. I know I mentioned this recently, but it keeps happening. Just this past Monday at my dentist appointment, the dentist was saddened. He knew about her illness and told me how optimistic she was even though she knew how serious her illness was. Last week I received another condolence card from an elderly woman who wrote “Kaila was a special lady. She always’ greeted me with a smile. She had that friendly being and kindness about her. Sincerely Mrs. __and daughters”. Just this week another woman stopped to tell me her immense sadness she, her husband and daughter were and still are about my wife passing. This woman mentioned how my wife and I have those relationships with others and my wife no matter what one’s Jewish background might be or not of the Jewish faith my wife’s kindness was so evident. Both the older woman when I met her one day in the lobby of my building and this younger woman were very grateful for the Purim delights my wife gave them and most of all for remembering them all the time. The following experience brought tears to my eyes even as I tear just thinking about my encounter with a Jewish husband and wife who are our neighbors. Both use sign language, write or speak as best as possible, broke out in the lobby crying nonstop. They noticed my son and I were bringing out of the elevator boxes and bags filled with my wife’s clothing going to the gemachs. They wanted to know if I was going away. I shared with them where the bags and boxes were going and why. They were unaware that my wife died. I told them when as they asked but were in such shock especially the wife of that couple. My wife meant so much especially to her. The most wonderful joy we had was just being nice to others. Making a Kiddush H. Not having “hang ups”- no hidden agenda. Just being sincere and caring about others. May we be zoche that this Elul, HaKadosh Boruch Hu will look at us kindly be inscribed with good health, happiness a Shanah Tovah Umesuka a sweet and good year.  Sincerely Yehuda Blank

Please read the attached flyer from OHEL

 

image001



 

COVID-19 Update Rosh Chodesh Elul, August 19, 2020

Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD, , RAA/Igud’s Director of Halacha and Medicine Commision

I thank all of you that asked me to continue writing these updates, which I will do as I have time and as there is sufficient new information to impart.

I will Iy”H continue our motzei Shabbos Zoom talk addressing common COVID-19 questions that might be applicable to all. We will move up the start time to 9:30 PM this week, and as Shabbos ends earlier, move to earlier times going forward. You can join the session via:

Zoom at Meeting ID 980 3243 6809; Password: SUMMER2020;

or by phone: 929 205 6099

or via YouTube link obtainable from yiwoodmerecovidupdate@gmail.com.

 

How are we doing regarding new cases in our area?

While the number of new COVID-19 cases nationwide has begun to slow over the past few weeks, the United States is still recording more than twice the number of new daily COVID-19 cases than in June.

Unfortunately, and most importantly, we are seeing increased cases in selected NYC and Long Island locations, related to travel, camps and other risk behaviors. The Nassau County Executive and Commissioner of Health informed me that Lawrence and Cedarhurst currently have the highest new case totals in all of Nassau County. This should be of great concern.

The NYC DOH also called me regarding troubling increases specifically after two “super-spreader” events, a wedding in Brooklyn and a weekend sheva brachos in the Catskills. I am called every day by physicians, schools, patients and the DOH regarding similar exposures and how to handle them and the quarantine concerns they create. The DOH has stated that such new cases have the potential to put school openings and Yomim Noraim minyanim in jeopardy.

The most common problem I am asked to help with, but cannot easily answer, is what to do for the person with an unclear exposure – usually when the parties were not wearing a mask. I am unable to provide guidance in such situations, and sadly, the default position is to quarantine for 14 days.

Likewise, the city, state and county DOH are imploring people to work with themnot against them in trying to appropriately identify who was exposed and who should be quarantined. This has the potential to be a huge kiddush Hashem, or heaven forbid, the opposite. Ultimately the DOH will do what they deem necessary to address such exposures from weddings, weekend gatherings (sheva brachos, family reunions), camps, that have been the cause of some of the most recent exposures in communities that “have no COVID” anymore. Various branches of the DOH have asked me to remind everyone that if you are quarantined, you absolutely must adhere to the restrictions mandated, and that the DOH takes this very seriously. They will use every measure at their disposal to ensure that spread of illness is curtailed.

What is new from the CDC?

1) We are learning more about COVID-19 in children every day, which is so critical as we start the school year. While there are fewer cases of COVID-19 in children age 0-17 years compared to adults, the number and rate of cases in children in the United States have been steadily increasing. The incubation period is the same for children as adults, 2-14 days with an average of 6 days.

Signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in children include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Myalgia
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion or rhinorrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Poor appetite or poor feeding

Children may have many of these non-specific symptoms, may only have a few (such as only upper respiratory symptoms or only gastrointestinal symptoms), or may be asymptomatic. The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children are similar to other infections and noninfectious processes, including influenza, streptococcal pharyngitis, and allergic rhinitis. The lack of specificity of signs or symptoms and the significant proportion of asymptomatic infections make symptom-based screening for identification of COVID-19 in children particularly challenging. Evidence suggests that as many as 45% of pediatric infections are asymptomatic.

Boruch Hashem, hospitalization rates in children are significantly lower than in adults, as children have less severe illness from COVID-19. The rate of hospitalization among children is very low (8 / 100,000) versus adults (165 / 100,000), but hospitalization rates in children are increasing.

2) The CDC updated its isolation guidance acknowledging that people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after a COVID-19 diagnosis yet are not considered infectious to others after 10 days with resolving symptoms. Therefore, retesting in the 3 months following initial infection is not necessary unless that person is exhibiting new symptoms of COVID-19 and the symptoms cannot be associated with another illness.

Thus, all people with COVID-19 should be isolated for at least 10 days after symptom onset and until 24 hours after their fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications.

There have been more than 15 international and U.S.-based studies recently published looking at length of infection, duration of viral shed, asymptomatic spread and risk of spread among various patient groups.  Researchers have found that the amount of live virus in the nose and throat drops significantly soon after COVID-19 symptoms develop.  Additionally, the duration of infectiousness in most people with COVID-19 is no longer than 10 days after symptoms begin (up to 20 days in people with severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised). CDC will continue to closely monitor the evolving science for information that would warrant reconsideration of these recommendations.

What is new from the FDA?

FDA  issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Yale School of Public Health for its SalivaDirect COVID-19 diagnostic test, the fifth saliva test so authorized, but the first that uses a new method of processing saliva samples. FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. said this authorization will “create innovative, effective products to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and to increase capacity and efficiency in testing.”  Assistant Secretary for Health and COVID-19 Testing Coordinator, Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. said: “The SalivaDirect test for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is yet another testing innovation game changer that will reduce the demand for scarce testing resources.”

Several unique features make this SalivaDirect test very promising.

  1. A) Eliminates nasopharyngeal swabs that make other tests difficult and uncomfortable;
  2. B) Saliva can be collected in any sterile container, by the patient;
  3. C) Does not require a separate nucleic acid extraction step so less prone to shortages and testing delays;
  4. D) Rapidity of results (hours);
  5. E) Ability to easily batch tests
  6. F) Less expensive;
  7. G) Potential for DAILY testing for schools and work;
  8. H) Uses common reagents and instruments, meaning the test could be performed in most labs;
  9. I) Does not rely on proprietary equipment and uses commercially available testing components.

What mask should I use?

We have discussed numerous times the extreme importance of wearing a mask that covers the mouth and nose whenever in close proximity to others not living in their household. This is one of the best ways to prevent your transmitting Covid-19 as well as getting Covid-19, and as mentioned, not being in an insoluble quandary after a questionable exposure.

New data support wearing either a standard three-ply surgical mask or a three-ply cotton face covering as optimal. While data are limited, these appear superior to single or double-ply cloth face coverings, and are certainly better than a bandanna, “gaiters” or scarfs covering the mouth and nose, which I do not recommend that people use. N95 or KN95 masks are usually worn only by healthcare workers in close proximity to selected patients with COVID-19. They require fit testing to be worn properly.

Masks that have air vented outside should absolutely not be worn. While they offer some protection to the wearer, they put everyone else potentially at risk from breathing the exhaled air through the vent.

What still needs to be done upon return from camp or bungalow colonies?

We all need to be vigilant about potential spread of COVID-19 when people return from camp, bungalow colonies, and trips to other communities. Certainly, there have been cases identified from all these venues, and each scenario needs to be individually assessed for the risk it poses. I again stress that if the DOH recommends quarantine, be it for an individual case or from general travel, quarantine must be adhered to in order to prevent serious illness spreading. I recommend a very careful evaluation of each camp or bungalow situation with appropriate testing and quarantine as indicated by the particular circumstances. When in doubt, I favor caution, testing and quarantine.

What are best ideas for safe Shofar blowing?

In general, outdoors poses less of a risk. However, if appropriately distanced with all listeners wearing masks, indoors can be safe as well. Testing for active COVID-19 is not a routine recommendation I make, but is something left to the discretion of the local shul based on local incidence and concern. Such testing is not fool proof or without cost and effort. Prior COVID-19 infection or bona fide presence of antibodies is helpful but not a requirement for safety.

To optimize safety, I recommend as many of the following as possible. Have the blower be a person with prior COVID-19; blow as far away as possible from others; have the end of the shofar (where sound comes out) covered with a mask; blow into an open window; blow into an enclosure; blow in another room or outside (with the sound able to be heard in the room where the people are). All of these have been discussed and approved by HaRav Mordechai Willig, shlita. Blowing in chodesh Elul, is less risky as it is only a few blasts at the end of davening, but I still recommend using the above ideas as possible. Public outdoor gatherings on Rosh Hashana for women and others to hear the 30 sounds should also follow these guidelines. I am actually more concerned with the ensuing public gatherings than the shofar risk!

Any data on safety of Shofar blowing and singing?

There are limited data. One local ophthalmologist put dye in his shofar, blew into paper, and used a split lamp to look for traces of the dye, but didn’t find any.

A paper entitled “COVID-19 Transmission Risks from Singing and Playing Wind Instruments – What We Know So Far” conducted experiments measuring airflow while playing wind instruments. From evaluating the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra they noted that normal breathing showed a cloud of fog of approximately 50 cm emitted from the nose and mouth. This was unchanged for string instruments while playing versus while at rest. For winds, “aerosols” were not reported or were “hardly visible” from the opening at the end of the wind instrument, with the exception of the flute. They conclude that a musician’s exhaled air is not expected to expand by more than approximately 80 cm, which is within the 6 foot distance recommended for distancing.

Spahn et al. conducted a risk assessment on data from wind players and singers with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. They concluded that a minimum of 2 meters (6.5 feet) distance between musicians (including winds) was sufficient, as no additional movement of indoor air during playing was detected at this distance. Therefore the risk of droplet transmission, if distancing is followed, was very low. Similarly, the authors provided similar recommendations for singing (2 meters apart).  Of note, the authors proposed a number of preventive measures to mitigate the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission during musical activities, including reducing the duration of the activity to allow for regular airing out of the space and applying cloth protection to the bells of wind instruments where feasible.

These studies are NOT definitive, and clearly much more needs to be assessed before declaring no risk. However, utilizing the guidelines I suggested, I do not think that shofar blowing will be a significant mode of transmission, be’ezras Hashem. And davening and singing should be curtailed as possible according to the each shul’s Rav, dependent upon local physical considerations and local COVID-19 incidence.

Is it better to daven indoors or outdoors for the Yomin Noraim?

Outdoor minyanim at this time of the year remain optimal, very viable and safe venues for people concerned about indoor shuls and longer than usual davening. Same applies to shofar blowing.

However, as long as indoor minyanim are properly supervised, meaning appropriate masking and distancing, indoor minyanim in low COVID-19 incidence areas can be equally safe and may offer advantages regarding comfort and kavanah that outdoor minyanim may lack because of environment or weather. Ultimately, it is a personal choice.

Any more exciting news regarding vaccines?

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar reported there are currently six vaccines under contract with the US government with good safety profiles and with studies documenting neutralizing antibodies at a level at or above what people recovering from COVID-19 produce in their own bodies. Very good news indeed, with still the hope that one or more of these vaccines will receive emergency use authorization from the FDA before the end of 2020. In addition, large clinical trials of vaccine in China, Russia, Pakistan and other countries are also underway.

Many people have expressed a concern that any vaccine approval will be rushed and therefore not as safe as our vaccines usually are. To address this, FDA officials will use the regular tried and tested guidelines whether and when a vaccine can be made available. Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and other senior FDA officials insisted that they would maintain “unwavering regulatory safeguards” in evaluating COVID-19 vaccines. Before any approvals are granted, they promised, the agency will convene its vaccines advisory committee to review candidates, and all traditional standards for efficacy and safety will be respected.

According to an AHRQ-funded modeling study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, based on a model that simulated the spread of the COVID-19 virus through the U.S., for a COVID-19 vaccine to end the pandemic without social distancing measures, it would require about 75% of the U.S. population to get vaccinated. This does not take into account natural immunity, and obviously depends on vaccine efficacy and the long term immunity generated.

We at Mount Sinai South Nassau, as well as other academic centers in the NYC region, are moving forward with vaccine trials. More information to follow….

Any proven cases of getting COVID-19 a second time?

Cases are still being assessed, and I personally have little doubt that some cases will be proven, especially as we move further away from March and April. It still remains very reassuring, that with upwards of 20 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, there are very few proven reinfection cases. This is critically important for herd immunity, and partially explains why certain communities have very few new COVID-19 cases despite not adhering to masking guidelines.

What new information was published?

1) Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommended against routine temperature checks to screen for COVID-19, despite the fact that this is still a policy guideline for hospitals and schools in many jurisdictions. “Temperatures are notoriously inaccurate, many times, and are especially unreliable on hot summer days.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that temperature checks are most beneficial when employees take their temperature at home and act accordingly based on the result, versus employers testing employees upon arrival at work. In schools, the CDC has recommended daily temperature screenings of staff and students, if possible, but does not specify whether tests should be conducted on site or before arriving at the location.

2) A study in JAMA identified no COVID-19 infections (asymptomatic or symptomatic) among community health workers after the addition of face shields to their personal protective equipment. Previously, there were infections when just wearing masks. Face shields may have reduced ocular exposure or contamination of masks or hands, and  /  or may have diverted movement of air around the face. This study supports what I have been recommending that teachers of pre-school and younger children unable to wear masks, wear a mask plus eye protection. It is unknown if a face shield is superior to goggles at this time.

I hope many people are planning on following the advice of the Mateh Ephraim to say 10 chapters of Tehillim every day during Chodesh Elul. In this merit of reciting sefer tehillim twice during Elul,

may we all have a kesiva vachatima tova.

Have a great Shabbos.



 

Divrei Torah: Shoftim

Rav Asher Weiss - Shoftim 5780
 
Dirshu - Shoftim 5780
 
Rabbi Ziegler - Shoftim 5780
 
Rabbi Ziegler - Shoftim 5779
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Ziegler 5775
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Ziegler 5774
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Ziegler 5773
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Stone 5743
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Rokeach 5773
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Rokeach 5772
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Rokeach 5770
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Mandel 5769
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Kurzrock 5769
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Kurzrock 5740
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Kirsh 5775 (2)
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Kirsh 5775 (1)
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Kirsh 5772
 
Shoftim - Rabbi Kirsh 5769
 
Shoftim – Liska Rebbe 5779


 

Upcoming Yahrtzeits 2 Elul-9 Elul



 

Learn About the RAA Retirement Plan

As advertised in the Jewish Connection, August 21, 2020



 

Queens Jewish Link: Hate Crime

The Queens Jewish Link, August 19, 2020, carries the RAA’s call for an investigation on vandalism against a New York State Assembly Member



 

Tosfos Yom Tov: Elul 5780

גליון מעדני מלך חודש אלול תש''פ


 

The Rabbinical Alliance of America Embraces Diversity of Views

The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — includes members from across the spectrum of Orthodox Judaism, each member passionate about his beliefs and dedicated to the fulfillment of his Jewish mission. Segments represented within the RAA include Chasidic, Lithuanian, Chabad, Modern Orthodox, Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and more. Additionally, even within those broad categories, each member follows specific traditions and holds unique views. As Orthodox rabbis, RAA’s members share mutual beliefs about Judaism, Torah and the Creator. However, on specific issues, the members will disagree, sometimes passionately, sometimes even considering the other member’s views religiously invalid. These debates have occurred throughout history and will continue for the foreseeable future.

RAA cherishes the opportunity to bring such a diverse group under a single umbrella organization. This accomplishment epitomizes the ideal of Achdus, unity, the ability to overlook our differences in order to join in a common Torah mission. In this world full of confusion, we work together to spread Torah values and practices, accomplishing even more because of our differences, reaching wider audiences because of our different origins and approaches. RAA encourages members to consult with their Torah mentors on all matters so they are best able to think and act authentically and honestly, teach Torah in the way they do best, touch as many souls as possible, sanctify this world through Torah study and mitzvah acts.

Because of this blessed diversity of RAA membership, each member speaks for himself only and not for the organization. RAA embraces vigorous debate in the time-honored rabbinic tradition and encourages members to publish learned articles and speak passionately about the issues of the day. Therefore, RAA neither endorses nor objects to statements by members made in their own name. Only messages emerging from the RAA office represent the organization’s stance on any issue.

If there are any questions about this, please reach out to rabbi@igud.us

 



 

Bukharian Jewish Link: Participate in Census 2020

The Bukharian Jewish Link, August 13, 2020, includes RAA/Igud’s encouragement of the public to participate in the important national census this year



 

Reflections on Gush Katif

Rabbi Pesach Lerner reflects on Gush Katif, 15 years later


 

 

 



 

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