Unfortunately, the uptick in COVID-19 cases in our communities, noted in Agudath Israel of America’s recent statement regarding simchos, continues its upward trajectory. While there have been hospitalizations, boruch Hashem most of the recent cases have not been as serious as those in March and April. Theories to explain this phenomenon abound, and much remains unclear. Some medical experts see the slow rise in cases now in our community as echoing what we experienced in early March, chas v’sholom, and are concerned that we may be at the cusp of an exponential rise. Others see the past month, in isolation, as less alarming.
The truth is, we do not know where this is headed.
And that is exactly why we must remain vigilant.
So, this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, please remember to daven fervently for tichleh shona v’kililosaho. We must all resolve to improve our limud and support of Torah, kavod hatefila, and kedusha, as the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah has instructed. And, with the guidance of your rabbonim, please also take the precautions you’ve heard about so many times in the past 6 months – for yourself, and for the people next to you who may have health conditions that put them at greater risk.
Medical experts and health officials are recommending that, as much as possible, people mask and social distance, especially given the uptick. They further advise that for indoor gatherings, ventilation should be enhanced by opening windows and/or increasing the fresh air input settings of HVAC systems. This is especially so in the context of the Yomim Noraim, when we spend additional time together in shul.
Of course, the elderly and those at high risk should be especially careful. Individuals who have had exposure to a COVID case or attended a high-risk event should seek medical advice before attending shul. And if you feel at all ill with COVID symptoms, please stay home; do not risk endangering your fellow man.
May our renewed focus on bein adam lamakom and bein adam lachaveiro merit a k’siva va’chasima tova for all of us.