Important Etz Chaim Update Regarding Covid-19
This is a very uneasy time for all of us. We have been inundated with information and stories and fear due to the current health situation. I am sure that by now you have also heard about ALL Shuls and institutions in Bergen County being closed for the foreseeable future. CLOSED! In our own community, many of our beloved institutions, including GOA and JKHA/RKYHS have moved to remote learning to create "Social Distancing." Livingston Public Schools just announced the same.
So what do we do about Shul? Do we ever close Shul?
It is with a heavy heart that we have to make what is probably the most difficult and sad decision in the history of our Shul. Effective immediately, we will be closing Etz Chaim for ALL activities, including Davening, Shiurim, Youth Activities and social gathering. We know there will be confusion, sadness, perhaps even anger, but we take the notion of Safeik Pikuach Nefesh - saving of a life which is only possibly in danger - very seriously. There has just been a confirmed case in Essex County which has only solidified our decision to try and stay ahead of this.
If you need your Tallis and Tefillin, please contact Rabbi Klibanoff to arrange retrieval.
For those who are saying Kaddish, please see if you can arrange for someone else to say on your behalf if you cannot get to a Minyan. If you need assistance, please contact Rabbi Klibanoff.
When will Etz Chaim reopen? It is hard to know right now, but we will reassess in the middle of next week and keep everyone updated.
What Can You Do?
We will create virtual opportunities for Torah Study and discussion to maintain a sense of community. Thanks to modern technology, this is easier than ever.
Please make sure to check in on one another, especially those who may be most vulnerable. Since we are not quarantined, we can take the opportunity to perform Chessed in the community by making sure your neighbors and friends have what they need. Take the time to call or text or Facetime with those who may feel isolated.
Daven! Though we will not be having Minyanim, we can still Daven as individuals, especially on behalf of those who are most affected by this crisis. Think of those who are confined to their homes. Think of those who cannot work and provide for their families. Think of those worldwide who are truly suffering.
With the help of Hashem and the support of one another, we will weather this storm and become an even stronger community than we already are.
"Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Lazeh" - It is time to show what we are made of.
With humility, respect and a great deal of sadness,
Rabbi Klibanoff, Mike Rieber and Jeff Susskind