Please Note: All Mincha services now start at 6pm.
We are all in unchartered waters. There is simply no recent precedent for the covid-19 pandemic, sweeping the globe.
That being said, worry should not be confused with preparation and panic should not replace (healthy) fear.
Examples of panic are people circulating unsubstantiated rumours (“fake news”) and confusing feelings for facts. Last Friday night, I shared the following perspective. I hope we could all absorb it and grow from it: “While our conduct is dictated by medical experts, our feelings and attitude should be informed by a strong trust in Hashem. Although panic is a common
human emotion, it is not practically helpful and should be managed by strengthening our trust in Hashem through added prayers and increased good deeds”.
Last night a national meeting of community leaders chaired by the SAJBOD was held in Johannesburg to provide information about the Caronavirus pandemic. In attendance were Prof Barry Schoub, founding director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and Dr Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare. It was stressed that the situation is fluid and new data is coming in all the time. As far as shuls are concerned, it was stated that there is no requirement at this time to cancel services provided the guidelines sent previously by the Chief Rabbi’s office are strictly enforced.
Guidelines include no handshakes, hugging or kissing (including the Sefer Torah or Mezuzahs) and good hygiene practices, including the cleaning of hands with alcohol rub. There will be alcohol hand sanitizer available at the entrance of the shul and we urge every congregant to use it. Anyone ill with respiratory symptoms, e.g. coughing, fever, sore throat or sneezing, do not come to Shul until you are better. If you have returned from a country with the an outbreak of Covid-19 do not come to Shul for the first 14 days Each of us is responsible for our own health and the health of others. This is a basic Torah principle. I will be attending a meeting of communal leaders this afternoon and if there are any updates, I will communicate these through a further email. The BOD will also be setting up a Q&A email address and details will be forwarded when available.
Our Shul has engaged a company who will be disinfecting surfaces today, in preparation for Shabbas.
Shkayach to the contestants who stand a chance to win a bicycle! All those who gave mishloach manot on Purim and sent in a selfie will be in the raffle tonight. Shkayach to Benji Rudnick, Yakira Hack, Cami Sive, Hannah Strul, Rose Miller, Mia Cassel, Lexi Murcia, Zoe Musikanth, Ella Smolowitz, Ayellah Cohen & Ava Mcleon.
Mazel Tov to Barry & Sandra Geffen on their 50th Wedding Anniversary! The Geffens are such committed regulars and wish them only the best of mazel and brocho as they enter their 6th decade of married life.
Condolences to Raymond Hirsch and Gaby Anne Unterhalter on the loss of their mother Sheila Myrna Friedman. May Hashem grant you comfort and strength.
Shabbat shalom everyone, I hope to see (most of) you in Shul!!