April 17, 2020
Hate is also a virus — and it also kills

I am writing this post on behalf of myself. Not on behalf of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County, simply for myself. I have surveyed the response to how members of our community are dealing with our current health crisis and I am worried.

To claim there is animosity toward the chasidic community in Rockland is nothing new. But the volume and severity of the threats its members are receiving is something we have not seen before. There are countless news reports of people continuing to gather and not social distancing. Church services, beach parties, golf outings, biker funerals, and the like have all been going on. Synagogues and mikvehs have been closed for weeks, yet the chasidim bear the brunt of the blame for spreading the virus.
Reducing stress and anxiety
Rockland Jewish Family Service offers a 30-minute morning meditation for peace and to reduce stress and anxiety through Zoom. It’s set for every Monday at 10 a.m. and includes breathing, meditation, and chair Qigong; the sound track is relaxing classical piano music. For registration or information, call (845) 354-2121, ext.140, go to www.rjfs.org, or email reception@rjfs.org
A change of focus at New City Jewish Center
‘We’re becoming a community again’

Fortunately, said Jessica Trokel, executive director of the New City Jewish Center, the synagogue has been able to maintain contact with its members during the covid crisis. But the nature of that contact has changed — and not just because formerly live events have become virtual, but because the shul itself has become the main initiator of that contact.

“The focus has changed,” Ms. Trokel said. “Rather than congregants calling us with issues and questions, we took the entire congregational list and divided it among lay leaders and staff so we could reach out to all congregants. We have a large senior population, so there are also grocery runs.”
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