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Call for Volunteers to Help the Elderly and Infirm We are in the process of organizing a community-wide shopping and delivery service for individuals who are not capable of shopping in stores during these times. Any healthy young men or women who have access to a car and are able to drive and shop, please contact Rabbi Kaufman at Rabbioe@aol.com with your name and cell phone contact information to be forwarded to the Chesed Committee or contact your OE Chesed Rep,. Laini Weitz at pixelpixie921@gmail.com.

Message from the Vaad HaRabonim

כ''א אדר תש''פ

March 17, 2020

To the members of the Edison/Highland Park/East Brunswick community:

As the world deals with the difficult challenges presented by the novel coronavirus, we, the Rabonim of the community, have been in constant contact with each other, with major poskim, with medical professionals, and with public health officials. We are treating the crisis at hand with the utmost seriousness, and we ask you to join us in recognizing that we are currently in a true עת צר ה - a time of making extraordinarily painful sacrifices for the greater good, particularly in our religious lives. We therefore ask you to unite together with us in following the guidance and protocols many shuls have already laid out for their memberships, as outlined below.

It has become clear that it is no longer safe to congregate together in shul or otherwise. Based on the guidance of gedolei haposkim and infectious disease specialists, all of our shuls have suspended minyanim for the time being. We ask that the community understand how serious this decision is, and that it was not made lightly by any of the Rabonim of the Vaad. We strongly discourage the formation of any minyanim at this time - in shuls, in homes, or anywhere. We must buy into these measures and others together, without exception, in order to achieve the greatest good for the general welfare.

Guidance for Individuals:

• Home minyanim must not take place.

• Playdates between children, hosting Shabbos guests, and the like are strongly discouraged.

• No one should kiss mezuzos, siddurim, sifrei Torah, etc.

• Follow the advice of medical professionals with regard to hand-washing, disinfecting, traveling, and working from home.

Restaurants and Groceries:

• We recommend that customers only patronize restaurants by ordering to pick up or through delivery. Please support these establishments with your business at this difficult time.

• Please be conscious of your fellow community members when shopping and only purchase that which your family regularly requires.

Community Initiatives:

The current circumstances present a unique opportunity to perform acts of chessed with our fellow community members. The Vaad will be establishing two separate committees in order to provide support and assistance during this critical time.

1. Chessed – Many individuals in our community need assistance at this time with daily tasks, such as shopping for food and preparing for Pesach. Additionally, many are isolated due to their health condition. We are forming a chessed committee to identify and assist in these areas. If you are interesting in volunteering to be part of this, please contact Rabbi Gedaliah Jaffe at gedaliahjaffe@yahoo.com.

2. Emergency Parnasa Initiative (EPI) – Undoubtably, the current situation will affect the income of members in our community. We are setting up a committee that will identify specific needs and allocate the necessary support and funds to individuals. When there was a community-wide appeal in 2009, members responded with extreme generosity, and we were able to help both the unemployed and the underemployed with dignity. We hope that the community will respond similarly during this time of crisis. If you are interested in participating on this important committee, please contact Rabbi Gedaliah Jaffe at gedaliahjaffe@yahoo.com.

We are encouraging all the members of our community to participate in a Yom Tefilla, today March 17th at 1:30 pm. Please join Klal Yisrael at this time in reciting the following chapters of Tehillim: 91, 120, 121, and 130. There is a yehi ratzon that is said as well, and it can be found on the attachment to this letter. Additionally, we are organizing a Tefilla and Chizuk event specifically for our community this upcoming Sunday, March 22nd; please look out for more details in the next few days.

Being deprived of the opportunity to daven in our shuls should serve as reminder of how important our tefilla is to us. Let us use our tefillos at home to daven with a little more kavana than usual, as we ask Hashem to remove this outbreak from the world so we can serve him to our fullest capacity and resume Torah and tefilla b’tzibur in the immediate future.

Even if we cannot be together proximately for now, let this time be one of tremendous unity in safeguarding the religious and social sacrifices we are being asked to make, however painful. Let us reach out to each other and offer our support so that we can get through this difficult time together as one. And may HaShem swiftly bring us back to normal and send health and wellbeing to the entire world.

The Vaad HaRabonim of Raritan Valley

A message from the Safety & Security Committee:

PRINT .PDF . email:  jgotlibmgcc@yahoo.com


Volunteer Door Monitors are urgently needed particularly for the early minyanim and both woman and men are urged to participate during for all 3 minyanim. This does not require joining a committee or attending any meeting but a short conversation with any security committee member to review Door Monitor functions and procedures. Volunteers will promote adherence to the one door entrance OE policy as well as welcome quests who should be in our shul. Both the HPPD and Homeland Security visited us during Shabbos over the past 2 weeks and separately confirmed that restricting entrance to the alley door, which is monitored, is fundamental in keeping us safe.

Passing on a message: Doors Stay Closed. During the early Minyan last Shabbos, an individual opened the Raritan Street door – which we all know should never be opened during services, without knowing who was banging on the other side or what weapon that person may have been carrying. As pointed out by a concerned congregant who alerted us, such opening of the outside Raritan door undermines the entire system of locked doors, ingress and egress monitoring, panic buttons, emergency phones and police protection established at significant cost and effort – to help keep our kehillah safe. Had there been a Door Monitor at the early minyan last Shabbos, this dangerous and unacceptable risk taken unilaterally by an individual would not have occurred. Let’s help each other and please contact anyone on the Security Committee to lend a
hand-volunteer.

Understanding the OE System: At the request of several members and beginning soon on upcoming Shabbosim, members of the Security Committee will be conducting “mini walk arounds” after Kiddush to familiarized participants with the location of the panic buttons, 911 phones and other security devices to be used in an emergency. A color-coded MAP showing location both emergency devices and emergency evacuation routes will also be displayed in

key visible points around the shul. In the meantime, please take a copy of the ADVISORY FROM THE O.E. SAFETY & SECURITY COMMITTEE describing emergency procedures including evacuation routes.

For volunteering or any questions please contact Jonathan Gotlib at jgotlib@mgcc.com


From the Security Committee:

The Highland Park PD have asked us to inform all members that they have increased patrols and stops at local shuls and increased their presence along Raritan Avenue and, in conjunction with other agencies ramped up their protection of Jewish facilities throughout our county.

At OE during the week prior to the tragic Jersey City massacre we installed additional panic buttons, dedicated phones for 911 calls to the police, taken steps to improve our video surveillance and have been in contact with other agencies and private security experts. As you know, we pay for off duty police to help protect us every Shabbos morning.  We will update you soon, about steps to make the Denison exit safer.

Panic button and 911 phone locations are:

Beis Midrash

Panic Button on woman’s side of mechitzah, along the bookshelf 911 Phone on the back wall, under the Yad Vashem lamp.

Entrance Hallway

Panic Button

Social Hall

Panic Button

Kitchen

911 Phone

911 Phone

MAIN SHUL

Men’s side Panic Button Panic Button Panic Button 911 Phone

Woman side 911 Phone

outside to the right of the walk-in coat closet

Right side with kitchen door on wall.
Inside the entrance, behind the refrigerator
on the wall between the Rabbis study and the playroom

on wall left side of side entrance doors
under the rabbi’s stender
under the Shulchan
main entrance inside - right, next to the yortzeit plaque.

rd
3 row back, next to last seat on the left

Secretary’s office
Panic button Inside the desk drawer

We will be installing more devices and hardening our facility over the next weeks. Please contact Jonathan Gotlib with any suggestions at 908 380 5122 jgotlib@mgcc.cc

Jonathan Gotlib
Assistant General Counsel Office: (908) 925-1123 ext. 330 Cell: (908) 380-5122 jgotlib@mgcc.cc

Security Update regarding Ahavas Achim Synagogue

Statement regarding vaccination

In light of the measles outbreak affecting Jewish communities in New York and New Jersey, the board and Rabbi of Congregation Ohav Emeth would like to issue the following statement:

 

Measles is a highly contagious, life threatening disease. Measles is also preventable. According to the CDC, the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine is 97% effective against measles. Those who are immunocompromised or are too young to be vaccinated rely on herd immunity to be protected against this potentially deadly disease. It is our obligation to do everything we can to protect ourselves and safeguard our community against danger.

 

Congregation Ohav Emeth strongly urges all parents to vaccinate their children on the timetable recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC.

 

Adults born between 1957 and 1989 may not be immune to measles even if previously vaccinated. 
We encourage everyone in this age group to consult with their doctor regarding an immunity test (titer), or booster vaccine.

If your child is older than 6 months but less than 1 year old, we recommend that you consult with your pediatrician to see if your child should receive their first dose of the vaccine early.

   
The safety of our congregants is paramount. For this reason we request that individuals who do not have a registered medical exemption and have not been vaccinated against measles refrain from entering the building or participating in shul functions.


Please see the attached resource for a more information on the importance of vaccination.

 

For a statement on vaccinations from the OU and Rabbinical Council of America, please use the following link: https://www.ou.org/news/statement-vaccinations-ou-rabbinical-council-america/


We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Community News Updates

Please be aware of the following important message, received from my colleague Rabbi Yaakov Luban, Rabbi of Congregation Ohr Torah and Executive Rabbinic Coordinator of the Orthodox Union.

The message is as follows: 

"Please be advised that the sushi department in the Acme store on Ryders Lane in Milltown is no longer under OU certification. In addition, the Acme deli which was OU certified is now closed. 

Rabbi Yaakov Luban
Executive Rabbinic Cooordinator
Orthodox Union
212-613-8214"

PBA Scam Alert: 
The Borough of Highland Park has informed us that people have been receiving calls claiming to be soliciting for the Highland Park PBA. THIS IS A SCAM. Please do not donate to or share any personal info with the caller. If you have received one of these calls, please call the Highland Park Police.

Plastic Bag Ordinance:
Effective May 1,2019 plastic shopping bags will not be provided by vendors throughout the borough. Please bring your own bags when shopping.
(Re-using plastic bags you already have is totally fine.) hpboro.com/plasticbags for more info
.

Sat, April 4 2020 10 Nisan 5780