Informational Documents on COVID -19 

Dear Kehilah members and friends:
The World Health Organization declared that the current COVID-19 virus is a pandemic.  We recognize the impact it is having on the physical health of those most fragile, and even those in reasonable health.  The effect has already been seen worldwide on medical facilities and their medical professionals, the financial stability of countries, many institutions worldwide and of course, families.  This can also be an extremely difficult time emotionally for many who have tested positive, in isolation, quarantined and for those who continue to go to outside of their homes, worried about the infectious spread of this virus.  This is a wonderful time to reach out via texts, emails and phone calls.  Now, more than ever, we need to maintain our community even virtually.  
In light of these circumstances, The Kehilah has partnered with the Riverdale communal shuls and institutions.
As we pray and learn in our homes for the near future, may this time provide for us the opportunity to connect with family in our homes, consider how we can support each other, take the time to learn and grow and find ways to bring us closer to Hashem and each other.
We pray for those seriously affected by this virus to have a refuah sh'laima and for us all to be safe and healthy. 
May we hear b'surot tovot.
Shabbat Shalom.
Please see the letter below:


March 13, 2020 - 17 Adar 5780

Dear Riverdale Community,

We write to you as community partners in an unprecedented time, as we consider our role in the health of our neighborhood, city and nation in a global pandemic. In this health crisis, we consider it our halakhic (Jewish law) and moral duty to do what is in our control to slow the spread of COVID-19. We, like all of you, have received a real-time education on the public health benefits of “social distancing” and precautionary quarantines. We are also aware of the significant risks posed to the physical, emotional and psychological health of community members forced into isolation. Therefore, we will be moving forward, collectively and individually, with an “essential services” model guiding our decisions and practice. 

All Riverdale congregations and organizations, beginning this weekend, will be closed for all tefillah (prayer) services and all in-person learning and social activities due to the possible threat to human life (safek pikuach nefesh). We will reevaluate this heavyhearted decision as we move forward. We know that this decision is difficult for many members of our community, especially those reciting kaddish. At this time, the very real possible threat to human life overrides the value and obligation of tefillah b’tzibbur (communal prayer). 

During this time, we will increase our support, guidance, and resources for community members in need. Additionally, we strongly encourage everyone to continue davening privately at home, as our clergy will be doing, at the same times as communal prayer would take place, and to continue praying for all those affected by the virus. 

We implore every member of our community (adults and children) to strictly practice social distancing even after the quarantines end and to leave their homes only for essential needs.

Riverdale Jewish day schools have moved to online learning platforms and are currently closed, even as many in our community will emerge from precautionary quarantines. 

The Riverdale Y will remain open to provide government mandated and essential services to our community members, following all directives of New York State and New York City. There will be significant changes to schedules and programs in order to ensure necessary social distancing. Please check the Riverdale Y website for regular updates. 

The Riverdale Mikvah will move to an appointment only model every night. Please call the mikvah ahead of time so usage can be staggered thereby ensuring the safest possible fulfillment of this essential practice. Please do all Mikvah preparation at home. If you or anyone in your household has a fever, respiratory symptoms or experiencing any signs of illness, we ask that you not make use of the mikvah at this time. If you are in quarantine, you may not go out to use the Mikvah. 

With prayers for strength and healing for all and gratitude for the partnership of our Riverdale Jewish community,



Rabbi Steven Exler, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale – The Bayit

Deann Forman, The Riverdale Y

Rabbi Aaron Frank, Kinneret Day School

Rabbi Thomas Gardner, Riverdale Temple

Rabbi Shmuel Hain, YIOZ of North Riverdale/Yonkers

Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, SAR High School

Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Yeshivat Maharat

Rabbi Barry Dov Katz, Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale

Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, SAR Academy

Rabbi Jonathan Kroll, SAR High School

Rabbi Dov Lerea, Congregation Beth Aharon

Rabbi Dov Linzer, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Rabbi Dan Margulies, The Riverdale Minyan

Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman, The Kehilah of Riverdale 

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Chabad of Riverdale

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn, Congregation Tehillah

Rabbi Dovid Zirkind, Riverdale Jewish Center

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