COVID-19 updates for the CT Jewish Community

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Welcome to the Cape Jewish Chronicle’s COVID-19 Information Hub. As information comes in from our communal organisations about COVID-19 and the status of our facilities, we are adding it below. If you have information that affects the Cape Town Jewish Community that you would like to share here, please email editor@ctjc.co.za.


MONDAY 10 AUGUST: Plan for getting back to shul from Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

Dear Friends, 

This has been a long journey. One of the most difficult aspects of the pandemic is that we haven’t been able to go to shul. Our shuls are so important to us – spiritually, emotionally, socially, they offer us so much. It’s the place we go to connect with Hashem. It’s the place we go to connect with each other. It’s the place we go to find faith and strength, community and partnership, vision and inspiration. And for the past few months, we’ve been bereft without them. 

Thank G-d, throughout the country, the infection rate is starting to decline. Throughout this crisis, our approach has been, as the halacha requires, that we prioritise protecting people from a potentially life-threatening disease. We have been guided by the analysis and understanding of expert medical advice, as the halacha requires us to do. 

Now, thank G-d, under the guidance of our medical experts, Professor Barry Schoub and Dr Richard Friedland, as was presented today at our community webinarwe are able to begin a phased reopening of our shuls. This does not mean the risks and dangers of doing so have abated. It means that they have decreased to the extent that, with the implementation and maintenance of strict health and safety protocols, our medical team has advised us that it would be considered responsible to resume minyanim as per the timetable and conditions below. But we will need to be careful and cautious, and be very strict about implementing all the necessary protocols as explained below.

The process of reopening has been determined regionally based on the different stages of recovery in different provinces. This means that, in the Western Cape, where the peak of infections arrived earlier, we are now in a position to resume minyanim as soon as shuls are ready.

In Gauteng, providing the downward trajectory continues, we are aiming for Rosh Chodesh Elul, 20 August, to be able to restart minyanim, at first outdoors with fewer than 15 people, slowly expanding until the week before Rosh Hashanah, from 12 September, to be up to the legal maximum of 50 people. The Eastern Cape is in the same position as the Western Cape. And in KwaZulu-Natal, where the number of infections has not yet fully plateaued, minyanim will likely return only much closer to Yom Tov. The bottom line is that all our shuls should be reopened in time for Yom Tov, should current positive trends continue.

Minyanim will only resume under strict medical protocol, which must at least conform with government regulations, such as proper screening, and limiting numbers to 50 people. As explained in previous communications, I have appointed Professor Efraim Kramer to draft extra health and safety protocols for our shuls, which have been checked and endorsed by Professor Schoub and Dr Friedland. These protocols augment the government requirements to ensure the reopening takes place in as safe and responsible a manner as possible.

The draft protocols have already been shared with shul leadership (rabbis and committee members), who have begun the work of implementing them. Some of these protocols may change as the shuls engage with Professor Kramer, and once we have a final draft, these will be shared with the community. The basic rules and principles will not change, and Professor Kramer shared them today at our webinar, which can be accessed here. Each shul must appoint a COVID-19 marshal, who will be responsible for compliance with the protocols, which include proper screening with track and trace capability, masks, hand sanitisation, two-metre distances between congregants, and a maximum of 50 people.

Each one of us must take responsibility for ourselves. If you’re at shul and notice that your shul is not complying with the protocols, you must raise the issue with shul leadership. If they are unresponsive, then you need to find another shul or else stay at home. The Office of the Chief Rabbi and the UOS cannot take responsibility for the implementation of the medical protocols by individual shuls. We are supporting and encouraging our shuls in this regard, and have said to their leadership that if they do not feel confident to be able to implement the guidelines then they must not open.

To furnish our shuls with all the support necessary for a safe reopening, I have set up a shul support team, led by Professor Kramer, and made up of representatives of the Beth Din, the UOS, CSO, CSO Medical (Cape Town) and Hatzolah. This team will be able to give all of the necessary direction to our shuls from an advisory capacity in terms of halachic, security and medical guidance. Ultimately, though, each individual shul will take responsibility for its return. If a shul feels that it cannot adequately implement the health and safety protocols, it must not reopen. Shuls that do reopen will do so if their leadership can personally undertake to their members to commit to implementing the protocols and maintaining them at all times. 

To attend shul, each of us must take a personal decision and assume personal responsibility. Anyone who feels unsafe returning to shul should certainly not do so. Furthermore, our medical advisors are recommending that those of the age of 60 and above, or with co-morbidities, not return to shul because of their high-risk profile. Of course, if you are in this category, and choose to go to shul anyway, you will not be turned away – again, it comes down to taking personal responsibility.

It is further important to emphasise that, especially during these times, it’s vital that we continue supporting our shuls. Even if you have taken the decision not to attend, please make sure to pay your shul membership fees. If you normally give a donation over Yom Tov, please do so again – and increase it if you are able to. Right now, our shuls need and deserve our support more than ever.

I also want to take this opportunity to commend our Rabbis and Rebbetzins who have served and led our community with such dignity and devotion through these times, and for all their tireless efforts in ensuring that our congregants have remained connected to our shuls in spite of the physical separations. We have been working together, as a team, throughout the crisis, and are currently preparing inspirational programmes and ideas for Yom Tov. We will share this with you in due course.

This prolonged absence from our shuls has shown us how precious they are to us. For now, let us devote our full attention to a safe return. May Hashem bless us to safely return to our precious shuls. 

With blessings,
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein


TUESDAY 9 JUNE: PRESS RELEASE – GLENDALE HOME

On Saturday, 6 June 2020, Glendale Home received COVID-19 testing results indicating that one resident and one staff member had tested positive for the virus. During the course of the day another 2 residents began displaying symptoms. The Home immediately moved from Unit Lockdown to Room Lockdown.

The Governing Board and Families have been updated throughout as soon as information has become available. After Shabbos on Saturday, 6 June 2020 an Emergency Family Zoom Meeting was held to brief family on the current situation and answer questions. During the course of the day, assistance was received from Highlands House and together it was arranged for COVID-19 testing kits to be delivered overnight.  A team of 8 doctors; headed by Dr. Leon Geffen, Chief Medical Officer of Highlands House entered the Home on Sunday morning just after 7.30am in order to conduct testing on ALL residents and staff on the premises. During the course of Monday, 8 June, test results began coming in (see below) and families were duly informed. The remainder of staff who were not onsite and not tested on Sunday morning were tested by a mobile Unit which came on site at 4pm, Monday, 8 June 2020. These test results are now awaited.

Glendale home Lockdown
Glendale home has been in a facility Lockdown since 12 March 2020. Numerous measures were put in place such as: the monitoring of all residents and staff on a daily basis; only allowing essential staff and service providers on to the property; some carers moved onto the property; and all other staff have been transported with Glendale vehicles in order to avoid exposure on public transport. Numerous education, training and awareness programmes have been conducted and implemented with residents and staff during this time.

Current situation
As at 9am, Tuesday, 9 June 2020 the situation is as follows:

Residents

  • 20 residents have tested COVID-19 positive and are doing well either in the infected isolation unit onsite or in room isolation;
  • 25 residents have tested COVID-19 negative  and are in room Lockdown
  • 2 residents results are outstanding
  • 1 resident required non COVID-19 related emergency treatment for an ongoing medical condition and was admitted to hospital in the early hours of Sunday, 7 June 2020.
  • 3 residents have been with their families since the beginning of Lockdown and are thus not affected.

Staff

  • 9 staff have tested COVID-19 positive and are in isolation onsote or at their homes
  • 20 staff have tested COVID-19 negative
  • Approximately 30 test results are still awaited.

Glendale home is a Jewish long term residential facility that provides 24 hour care to persons with intellectual disabilities. It is currently is home to 50 residents. The Home has been preparing for 3 months for the current situation. We wish to thank and acknowledge our frontline staff, family & community members who have been supporting us in so many different ways during these unprecedented times.

Messages of support and inquiries can be directed to communications.glendale@gmail.com
Glendale can be followed on Facebook on www.facebook.com/glendalehome

Please do not contact Glendale directly as all staff need to remain 100% focused on attending to and caring for our residents.
Judith Cohen
Acting Chairperson, Glendale Governing Board


MONDAY 18 MAY: PRESS RELEASE – UPDATE: COVID-19 RESPONSE AT HIGHLANDS HOUSE

As of today at 12 noon, Highlands House has—

  • 45 confirmed cases (13 residents and 32 staff)
  • 1 resident discharged from hospital and back on-site
  • 13 cases in home (all clinically stable)
  • 45 active cases (people currently infected)
  • 493 tests done (10 residents were retested on 14 May, 9 results negative, 1 result positive)

Our 13 COVID-19 positive residents are currently doing well and we hope for this to continue. They are checked on daily by a doctor.

Team of doctors to see all residents: Seven GPs have stepped forward to provide health care services to all Highlands House residents on-site. Each resident has been allocated to one of these doctors, in some cases a doctor they haven’t consulted with before, and will be assessed in the coming days. We assure you all doctors are very experienced and highly capable. There will be no charge for services rendered by these doctors, who will be remunerated by Highlands House. This is a measure we implement with the ongoing wellbeing of all our residents in mind.

Catering: Feedem, providing us catering services, are preparing 600 meals daily which are delivered to residents in their rooms, a further 150 ‘meals on wheels’ and an additional 150 meals a day for staff members. Breakfast alone involves the boiling or scrambling of 600 eggs! The sheer scale of this one aspect of Highlands House living really puts things in perspective.

Time outside: We are working to implement a systematic way for residents who have been quarantined in their rooms to access the garden areas and take walks outside. A care-giver will supervise to ensure safety and social distancing.

As we learn the best responses in this tumultuous time and adapt our service delivery and care models accordingly, we remind you that no measure is perfect, but every measure is always with our best intent. Things can and will go wrong, and we will continue to adapt. We ask for your patience and goodwill as challenges are unpacked and addressed.

We understand this is a stressful time, and you are welcome to ask us anything by email to mathilde@ctjc.co.za (including media queries). We will not divulge information on the wellbeing of specific residents as this would contravene their rights to privacy.
We are grateful to you, the Cape SAJBD, CSO and countless individual volunteers for your support at this time.
– Management and Staff


FRIDAY 15 MAY: PRESS RELEASE – UPDATE: COVID-19 RESPONSE AT HIGHLANDS HOUSE

As of today at 12 noon, Highlands House has— 
44 confirmed cases (12 residents and 32 staff) 
1 hospitalised case (clinically stable, to be discharged today) 
12 cases in home (all clinically stable) 
44 active cases (people currently infected) 
493 tests done (10 residents were retested yesterday, and 9 results came back negative, waiting on 1 result) 

Testing: Since our last release, we have retested 10 of our residents and 9 of those tests have returned a negative result. We are waiting to confirm the last 1. Any resident or staff members presenting symptoms will be sent for testing and immediately isolated and quarantined. 

Caring for our staff: A senior nursing sister is making regular contact with our COVID-19 positive staff members to check in on their wellbeing. 

Medical consultations: A dedicated team of doctors will continue to monitor our COVID-19 patients and be available to consult with any of our residents, including medical needs outside of COVID-19. All our staff continue to wear appropriate PPE when interacting with COVID-19 patients. 

We urge you as you continue reporting on care facilities locally to contact us directly for any information you may require about Highlands House. 

You are welcome to direct media queries to mathilde@ctjc.co.za 

We will not be addressing queries in this regard through any other channels. We will not divulge information on the wellbeing of specific residents as this would contravene their rights to privacy. 

We wish you good health and safety, and Shabbat Shalom. 

Issued by Mathilde Myburgh 
Communications on behalf of Highlands House 
Cape SAJBD | mathilde@ctjc.co.za 


WEDNESDAY 13 MAY: RESIDENT AND COMMUNITY RELEASE – UPDATE ON COVID-19 AT HIGHLANDS HOUSE 

As of 12:00 on Wednesday 13 May 2020, Highlands House has: 

Total confirmed COVID-19 cases: 39 (12 Residents and 27 Staff) 
Cases in hospital: 1 and stable 
Cases in home: 11 (9 clinically stable and 2 being monitored) 
Total active cases (currently infected patients): 39 
Total number of tests: 483 (Residents 187 and Staff 296) 

Dear Residents, Family Members and Cape Community 

INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY 
On 12 May 2020 the world celebrated International Nurses Day and we cannot thank you enough. Thank you for the compassion and care you show us always, and particularly during the local COVID-19 response. We value you. We appreciate you. We cannot do this without you. As Management, Residents and Families we especially think of the vulnerable and at-risk residents of Highlands House, a space where elderly people depend on you. Thank you for serving with a smile. 

ZOOM CALL WITH FAMILIES AND PROFESSIONAL TEAM 
On Sunday 10 May the Professional team held a Zoom Webinar that dealt with issues of the Home, COVID-19 in the Western Cape and a Medical Report. We want to thank all families for the overwhelming support of the efforts of the lay and professional teams. If you were unable to attend the Zoom Webinar, please email stuart@ctjc.co.za for a copy of the link. 

TESTING 
Since our last correspondence, we have not conducted any further COVID-19 tests. All residents that present any symptoms will be sent for testing and be immediately isolated and quarantined. 

MEDICAL TREATMENT 
The care of residents and staff are critically important and, as discussed on Sunday’s Zoom Webinar, the residents have been divided into groups for whom eight doctors will continue to monitor and perform medical checks. All residents who tested positive have been seen by a doctor and they and their families have been informed of results. All residents who tested negative have been informed. 

Residents in isolation are being cared for by staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including masks. 

SOCIAL DISTANCING AND HYGIENE 
At present all residents are confined to their rooms. 

MEDICAL TEAM 
The Home continues to be guided by our Medical Committee and the Western Cape Department of Health. Based on the best current evidence and guidelines, we will adapt as more information becomes available. 

We need to announce that a member of our team, Dr Leon Geffen has been tasked with running the COVID-19 response in the home. 

Dr Leon Geffen’s bio 

Leon Geffen is a family physician in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the director of the Samson Institute for Ageing Research, Cape Town. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Geriatrics Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Cape Town. He has been a contributor to the WHO Clinical Consortium of Healthy Ageing. He has been on the expert panel of the WHO Infection and Prevention Control Guidance for long term care facilities. He is currently working with the Western Cape Province Department of Health in South Africa to develop an action plan for older persons during the COVD-19 pandemic. He is a fellow of interRAI. He was the Honorary Medical Superintendent of Highlands House from 2000 – 2016, he served as President from 2009 – 2011 and was appointed as aTtrustee in 2018. He has been voluntarily assisting the BOD & Highlands House during the COVID-19 crisis and on Friday 8 May was requested to manage the current crisis, which he has agreed to do voluntarily. 

Highlands House has acquired the services of a doctor who will be on-site Monday to Friday for two hour-slots. The doctor has also committed to being on call for advice at any time. He will see State and Private patients for any medical concerns, not solely COVID-19 care. 

PARCELS TO THE HOME 
The Home will only receive parcels on Mondays — other than medication — and no perishables whatsoever, as the parcels have to be quarantined until Thursdays (on the advice of the Medical Subcommittee). 

MASK WEARING 
All residents on the main site have been issued with two masks each. Our Special Care Unit residents are unable to partake in mask-wearing as the nature of their conditions may not allow it. All staff members have been issued with three masks each and mask-wearing is compulsory for all staff. 

The Highlands House team will continue to communicate with its residents and families as and when information changes and when we have updates. All of us recognize that regular communication is vital if we are to ensure that we stop the fake news and rumors. The team is in the process of developing a customer call line for all questions. In the weeks ahead, we will develop Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) material in all three official Western Cape Languages and sent to staff and families. 

We understand this is a stressful time and if you have any questions please feel free to email us on sajbd2@ctjc.co.za. We continue to thank the community, and the Cape SAJBD and CSO, in particular, for their moral support at this time. 

Regards, 
Management and Staff 


FRIDAY 24 APRIL SUMMARY OF ALERT LEVELS

On Thursday, 23 April, President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined the gradual and phased recovery of the economy beyond Thursday, 30 April 2020.
• The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCC) decided that the national coronavirus alert level will be lowered from level 5 to level 4 from Friday, 1 May 2020.
• South Africa will shift to a system of alert levels at the provincial and district levels.
• Different parts of the country may be at different levels at the same time. 
• Each area’s alert level will be determined by the rate of the infection and the health system capacity. 
• The NCC will review and change alert levels as needed. 
• Many restrictions on public life and gatherings will remain despite lower alert levels.
• There’ll be no international travel, except for the repatriation of South African nationals and foreign citizens.
• Businesses will be encouraged to adopt a work-from-home strategy.
• In some cases, a sector won’t be able to return to full production during Level 4. These will be spelt out next week.


FRIDAY 3 APRIL 9:00 ASSISTANCE FOR EXPECTANT AND NEW JEWISH MOTHERS

Pregnancy and the first few weeks of beautiful yet brutal new mamahood are daunting enough without a pandemic in the mix, so we’re offering expectant and new Jewish mothers a safe and nurturing virtual space in which to connect with likeminded souls, swap stories, seek and offer advice, and share the load. IMA founder, postpartum doula, and mama to 3-under-5, Benita Zive, and professional doula, yoga instructor and aromatherapist Gayle Friedman are facilitating a free twice-weekly half-hour support circle on Zoom. Dishevelled pyjamas, breastfeeding, unwashed hair and loud babies welcome. Whatsapp or call 0823725159 for more info ASAP.


WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL 13:00 MESSAGE FROM RABBI DOVI GOLDSTEIN

Dear Community Member

We have all been in lockdown for nearly a week and I was thinking how difficult this Pesach is going to be for many – if not all – in our community and around the world. However, PG we will have everything we need: a Haggadah, wine, matzah, fish and meat. In fact, I believe we are indeed very blessed in South Africa, to have so many of the items that we have come to enjoy over Pesach this year as well, due to the planning of the manufacturers, food services and retail stores.

At the BD Kosher Department, the very reason for our existence is to serve the Jewish community and for more people to eat more kosher more often. We moved all our operations remote over two weeks ago and our team has been working tirelessly to maintain the highest standards of Kosher supervision during this challenging time.

Fortunately, many of our Kosher certified food services are deemed “essential services” by the government and so you can buy from your favourite Kosher butcheries, bakeries and supermarkets.

We have a great list of resources to help you have a meaningful Pesach and make it as user-friendly as possible.

For a list of products that do not require special Pesach Hechsher, please see our Green List. We have close to 30 items on this list. You can access the Green List on our website.

The PNP Pesach Guide is an indispensable booklet which can be accessed online and help you understand all the intricacies of Pesach as well as how to Kasher your home. We have over 50 common items and how to kasher them with an illustrated guide. Please access the guide here.

This year, we have added extra hours to our Kosher Desk WhatsApp hotline, to assist you with your Pesach and general Kosher and halachic queries. Please use our WhatsApp hotline on 0636939417, so we can make your Pesach planning as smooth as possible.

Finally, we have an online “Selling of Chametz” portal which can be completed remotely. Please use the link to access all the info.

I would like to wish you and your families a Pesach filled with joy, unity and freedom.

Kind Regards
Rabbi Dovi Goldstein
MD Kosher


MONDAY 30 MARCH 16:00 MESSAGE FROM CSO

ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 ARE ENCOURAGED TO FILL IN THIS SECURE FORM ON THE CSO CAPE TOWN WEBSITE.
 
As the Coronavirus spreads across the country, protecting and caring for the Western Cape Jewish Community is our first priority. The CSO feels it necessary to track every case so that the right support and resources can be provided.
 
WHY IS CSO CAPE TOWN ASKING FOR THIS PERTINENT INFORMATION?

• To check-in with those who need support, and ensure they are making a recovery
• To analyse community cases, and ensure the right resources are being deployed to where they are needed most
• To protect our medical responders who continue to work on the frontlines, and prevent us from inadvertently spreading the virus
 
Your privacy is of utmost importance and so extra precautions have been taken to ensure that the data is kept secure.

The more information you provide, the better we can support you, however we also understand that you may prefer to remain anonymous.
 
If you have already tested positive, we urge you to fill out this form which does not replace any Government processes, but rather is in addition.

Please help us help you.

We deeply appreciate your support and cooperation in this critical mission. Please share this with your loved ones.
 
Kind regards
LOREN RAIZE
Director, CSO – Cape Town


THURSDAY 26 MARCH 20:30 MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF RABBI

Dear friends

Please take note of some important information to be aware of during lockdown: 

Mikveh
Women who need to go the mikveh must contact the mikveh attendant to make an appointment. She will explain exactly how it must be done to comply with South African law during lockdown. If you do not have a mikveh attendant, please contact Peta Welcher on 082 490 0132.

Brit Milah
Parents must likewise contact any accredited South African mohel to make the appropriate arrangements for a bris to take place in a way that complies with South African law. If you do not have a mohel, please contact Rabbi Anton Klein on 076 187 1451.

Preserving human life and protecting people from harm is one of the highest Torah values we have, and as a community, we are therefore doubly committed to carrying out the directives of the lockdown. Fortunately, we are able to do so and fulfil these vital mitzvot

With blessings,
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

THURSDAY 26 MARCH 03:15 MESSAGE FROM CAPE SA JEWISH BOARD OF DEPUTIES

As we enter the national lockdown that President Ramaphosa announced to start at 23:59 on Thursday 26 March, the Cape Board and our communal organisations are here for you
 
Please remember the lockdown will span over 21 days until 16 April but may be extended.
 
At the time of this communication, there are 709 confirmed cases in South Africa, of which 61 are new cases in the Western Cape.
 
Following the rules have never been more important. It is our collective responsibility to follow the guidance offered by our national and local government and the WHO, NICD and other health bodies. The lockdown only has the desired effect if EVERYONE is on board.
 
Let’s all remember the Do’s and Don’ts
 
DO
Go collect social grants
Go buy food (don’t panic buy)
Go seek medical attention (but, call first)
Visit the pharmacy for medicine
Gather 50 or less people for funerals
Access public transportation for essential services during specific times 

DON’TS
Go jogging in public
Go walk your dog
Try buy alcohol (its sale and movement has been banned)
Arrange gatherings (prohibited) on public roads, in buildings, places and premises
Move between Provinces and even Districts (prohibited) 

As a precaution, we are discussing the possibility that the national lockdown is extended after 21 days. The various organisations are strategising for this possibility, including our schools. 
 
We will communicate as the local narrative develops.
Your continuous cooperation is crucial in our collective safety.

#MakeSomeSpace. #StayAtHome. #CurbTheSpread
 
Sincerely,
Stuart Diamond
Executive Director
Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

THURSDAY 26 MARCH 15:00 MESSAGE FROM CAPE JEWISH SENIORS ASSOCIATION

Dear Members

Our CJSA offices will be closed from Thursday 26th March. However, all CJSA Social workers, Office Staff and Drivers will be on call for our members at all times. Should you need any assistance please call our office number 021 434 9691 and you will be directed to your Social Worker or the Office where we can be of assistance.  Volunteers will also be available to assist wherever necessary.

We urge everyone to stay indoors and to be as careful as possible so that we can ensure that the spread of this infection can be stopped as soon as possible.

We are here for you at all times and wish you well.


THURSDAY 26 MARCH 11:15 MESSAGE FROM GARDENS SHUL

Here are four * important * links for today and tomorrow:

1. Join me on zoom this morning at 11:00am (zoom room opens from 10:55) for the weekly Parsha Shiur. My sister Rebbetzin Fruma Shapiro will be joining from St Ives in Sydney Australia to share some words of learning and inspiration. Zoom room opens at 10:55pm. Click this link to join: https://zoom.us/j/802407718  

2. While services will continue from my home at 6:00pm daily during lockdown, tonight at 6:00pm is the last service to be held in the Gardens Shul itself! Please join me this evening at 6:00pm, zoom room open from 5:55pm. Click this link: https://zoom.us/j/8374176841 

3. Tonight at 7:00pm is the launch of the pre Pesach light and learning lecture series with popular educator Devorah Kruss. For ladies only. Please email Jenny to receive the source sheets at  jennyaltsch@gmail.com. Tonight’s title: Painting your Day with Colour!’ This is the link for tonight’s lecture. Zoom room will be open by 6:50pm. Click: https://zoom.us/j/922740191 

4. The final link is for our pre Shabbat communal kabbalat shabbat service tomorrow Friday at 5:15pm (Zoom room opens at 5pm). Click: https://zoom.us/j/291923371 

Reminder that today is the last day to buy wine before lockdown. Please ensure you have sufficient wine for the Pesach Seder. 

Wishing you lots of love ❤ and blessings 🙌 for the next period!
 
Rabbi

THURSDAY 26 MARCH 08:00 *LOCKDOWN: MOVEMENT, STOPS, DETENTION AND ARREST INFO*
Know the regulations when dealing with SAPS and the SANDF.

Every person is confined to his or her home, unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service, obtaining water or essential goods (basic shopping) and services, collecting a social grant, or seeking emergency medical attention.

All indoor and outdoor public spaces where religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, exhibitional, organisational activities take place are now closed.

All transport services are prohibited, except for purposes of rendering essential services, obtaining essential goods, seeking medical attention, funeral services and obtaining social grants, provided that each vehicle carries no more than 50% of its capacity.

Movement between provinces as well as between metropolitan and district areas is prohibited. All borders of the Republic are closed during the period of lockdown, except for the transportation of essential goods and fuel.

The National Health Act allows for the forced testing, isolation and quarantine of individuals. A person who refuses to be tested, isolated or quarantined may be “detained” for a period of up to 48 hours while the authorities seek a warrant from a magistrate.

You do not need permission to leave home, but you may only leave home for valid reasons otherwise you will be ordered to return home. If you do not comply with a lawful order to return home, you may be detained or arrested.

The SANDF has been deployed to ‘support’ the SAPS. They will assist wearing combat uniform and armed with standard issue rifles. They will have the powers of arrest but must hand the arrested person over to the SAPS immediately, with a statement giving reasons for the arrest.

Normal SAPS powers apply with an emphasis on ensuring adherence to the regulations. The SAPS and the SANDF are required to follow the principles of minimum force.

If you are stopped: present ID and supply your reason for leaving home which should be accepted if valid.

If you are arrested: you should be afforded all the normal rights. A state of disaster should be implemented in a manner consistent with the Bill of Rights. Limitations apply only where it is necessary to effectively address the disaster situation.


THURSDAY 26 MARCH 08:00The dos and don’ts during the national lockdown
(Source: News24, Alex Mitchley)

Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned any person who contravenes the regulations of the nationwide lockdown from midnight on Thursday will be guilty of a criminal offence and will be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both.

During a briefing on Wednesday, members of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster clarified what residents would be allowed to do and what has been prohibited during the lockdown which aims to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

News24 has compiled a list of what you can and cannot do.

Allowed
· You will be allowed to collect social grants.
· You will be allowed to buy food.
· You will be allowed to seek medical attention.
· You will be able to visit the pharmacy for medicine.
· A gathering of 50 people will be allowed at a funeral.
· You will be allowed to access public transportation for essential services during specific times.

Prohibited
· You will not be allowed to go jogging in public.
· You will not be allowed to walk your dog in public.
· You will not be able to buy alcohol as its sale and movement has been banned.
· All gatherings have been prohibited, including gatherings on public roads, buildings, places and premises.
· Movement between provinces is prohibited.
· Movement between districts is prohibited.

Places you will be prohibited from accessing
· Public Parks
· Fleamarkets
· Public swimming pools
· Beaches
· Nightclubs
· Casinos
· Lodges
· Guesthouses
· Hotels
· Private and public game reserves
· Holiday resorts
· Shopping malls (excluding grocery store and pharmacies at the stores)
· Cinemas
· Taverns
· Bars
· Shebeens
· Any place normally open to the public where religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, organisational or similar activities may take place.


WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 15:00 Message from Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

Dear Community Members 

Join us this Thursday evening to discuss the City of Cape Town’s preparedness and plans to deal with COVID-19.

The chat will be hosted on Zoom. Please register with stuart@ctjc.co.za for the link.

Regards,
Stuart Diamond


WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 12:45 Message from Union of Jewish Women

We hope you are keeping healthy and safe. The world is experiencing trying times but please G-d it will only make us stronger as individuals and as a community.  
 
In the 21st century we are blessed that a community is not limited to physical interactions. Our community will continue to meet and support each other virtually.
 
We are approaching “Lockdown” from midnight 26 March 2020, and in view of this, the Union of Jewish Women will be closed until further notice to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Unfortunately Yad Sarah (medical equipment) will not be available and should have any medical equipment that you need to return please could we ask that you keep it safely at home for now.

During this time of crisis you are not alone and the UJW are there for YOU! We are a phone all away, our emergency numbers are:
 
*   Patsy Fivelman (Chairman) – 082 443 2506
*   Shelley Levy – 082 372 3577
*   Karen Kallmann – 082 578 9195 

We recommend keeping a close eye on WHO, NICD and Provincial Health information. Media reports and social media reports may be inaccurate. 

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms contact the COVID-19 hotline at 0800 029 999.
 
We at the UJW will be in regular contact with our members, especially the senior members, with check-in phone calls to establish what peoples’ needs are, as follows:
 
Family, friends and your support systems
*  Meals:  food and shopping
*  Medical
Technology & Banking 

We encourage every member of our community, in the strongest possible terms, to please adhere to the guidelines set forth by the national and community bodies. South Africa is still behind other parts in the world in the severity of the virus, and the only chance we have to curb the impact is by strict practices of hygiene and social distancing.

We emphasise that this decisive measure is being implemented to save millions of South Africans from infection with COVID-19 and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
 
It is an unsettling time for all to have such an unclear picture of the next few months. However, we know we are doing what is necessary to best support the health and wellness of the community.

This in an ongoing situation and we will continue to update the community regularly on developments. We will continue striving to be there for you, our community, during these turbulent times. In every situation there are silver linings. More time for family and reflection on the important things in life are some of those silver linings. Together, we will emerge stronger than ever before!
 
Take care and be safe.
 
Warmest Regards
Patsy
Patsy Fivelman
Union of Jewish Women, Chairman (Cape Town Branch)


WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 09:15 Message from Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies – Become a community hero

We want to take a moment to acknowledge the latest news has been a blow to us all.
What you are thinking and feeling is valid. We are in this together. Let’s virtually hug it out.

Do you seek community support, or can you offer it to others?
 
COVID-19 is affecting every South African in ways that are unique to our own circumstances, our retention or loss of income, where we will be calling ‘office’ or ‘home’ and what our friends and family will require of us now. Some of us are calm, some are concerned, others worry where the next meal may come from.
 
The Cape SAJBD seeks to build a network of volunteers to help our community through the tough times. Concurrently, we want members of the community to feel they have a safe space to reach out to, a voice on the phone and someone to lean on.
 
We’re concerned with people’s

• Support Systems (Family, Friends)
 
• Meals (Food, Shopping)
 
• Medical Needs
 
• Technology and Banking Needs
 
and hope to find people willing to check in on them regularly and help out.
 
If you’d like to become a #CommunityHero or get in touch with a #CommunityHero, email sajbd2@ctjc.co.za / 083 270 8001

#MakeSomeSpace #StayAtHome #CurbTheSpread

TUESDAY 24 MARCH 14:30 Message from Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

Last night, President Ramaphosa confirmed the National Coronavirus Command Council’s decision to enforce a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, with effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March until midnight Thursday 16 April 2020 (which period may be extended).

We emphasise that this decisive measure is being implemented to save millions of South Africans from infection with COVID-19 and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

For those of you having to close your business premises for lockdown, advice from the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) in readying your premises (where applicable) follows;

• Remove all display items from the windows

• Secure your business effectively

• Ensure that your alarm system is working and being monitored by the armed response company

• Ensure that your emergency contact number is visible from the outside so that you are contactable in case of an emergency

• Where possible, leave your store lights on

We remind you that today is not a day to find ways around the national measurements put in place to protect us all. It is not a time to find loopholes that make your company fit the list of the essential services — a full list will be made available by the Presidency in due course and is to be strictly followed.

Today, you as a South African can take responsibility for your own health and those of others. Your staff, including your domestic staff, need to remain home under lockdown during this 21-day period (which may be extended) to keep everyone safe and flatten the infection curve. Show compassion for other families as you care for your own.

Your cooperation is crucial in our collective safety.
 
#MakeSomeSpace
#StayAtHome
#CurbTheSpread
 
Sincerely,
Stuart Diamond
Executive Director
Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

TUESDAY 24 MARCH 12:30 Message from Gardens Shul

We are all by now aware of the impending national lockdown. Thankfully, the President’s speech last night was a much needed morale and confidence booster for the country. With Hashem’s help, we will get through this and more so, it will please G-d be a catalyst for a new era of increased national unity and prosperity.  

However, despite the necessity of the lockdown, it is a difficult time for us all. And that is why we need to stay in touch with each other as much as possible. Thankfully, technology allows us to do so in unprecedented ways.

There are three links below:

The first is for tonight’s Mincha and Maariv service at 6pm. It is the same link that was posted on the Gardens CoronaCare groups (please let me know if you are not on the group and would like to join) and is the same link that can be used to access the Minyan every night this week. The Zoom room will be open from 5:55pm.

Minyan Link: Join URL: https://zoom.us/j/8374176841

The second link is for tonight’s social event with Nik Rabinowitz. Nik will share his unique take on the Coronavirus. The event starts at 8pm. The Zoom room will be open from 7:50pm.

Social with Nik Rabinowitz: Join URL: https://zoom.us/j/377713794

GUEST SPEAKER: The final link is for the Thursday morning Parsha Shiur at 11am. This week, towards the end of the Shiur, my sister, Rebbetzin Fruma Shapiro, of Chabad St Ives in Sydney, will join us to share words of learning and inspiration.

Thursday morning Shiur: Join URL: https://zoom.us/j/802407718

The link for Thursday’s Pre-Pesach light and learning lecture series will be posted tomorrow pg and the link for the pre-Shabbat Kabbalat Shabbat service later in the week.

With blessings for healing and strength… and with encouragement to please strictly implement all the necessary precautions as required.

May we have only good news to share.
See you tonight!
Rabbi  


TUESDAY 24 MARCH 10:00 Message from South African Jewish Board of Deputies – Clarity on Jewish issues as relates to SA lockdown

Dear Jewish Community

We applaud our President for his decisive action communicated in his speech last night.

These important steps are of critical importance in giving our country a realistic prospect of dealing with this pandemic.

We as a community need to be disciplined and responsible at all times in abiding by these measures so that achieve the required outcomes.

There is no doubt that painful sacrifices will need to be made, but it is pivotal in terms of our country being able to get on top of this virus and ultimately for lives to be saved.

The directives for the lock down can be found https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-ramaphosa-escalation-measures-combat-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-mar

Following the President’s speech, there are several questions specific to our community especially around kashrut and Pesach.  We are currently in a process to get legal clarity on these issues.

Should members of the community have Jewish-related questions that they would like clarification on, please email sajbd@sajbd.org.


MONDAY 23 MARCH 12:34 Message from MENSCH – Help us help you

Dear Mensch Network and Community members,In challenging times like these, communities and networks are more necessary than ever. We can share information, pool resources and lean on one another. As social change-makers, we realise many of you are on the frontlines facing the spread of the Corona virus, and at Mensch we want to do all we can to support you, and facilitate networking to strengthen your responses.Here are 4 ways we will be doing this:

  1. Compiling & sharing a ‘Needs Newsletter’ 
    Please send us a list of any needs for your organisation and we will share this via a Newsletter with our community and beyond. Eg:

    Volunteers: In-person or virtual (deliveries, phone calls, admin, etc.)
    Donations: Monetary or in-kind (food, other necessities)
    New initiatives: Any new initiatives that serve your beneficiaries or the wider public, that you would like shared
    Training and other support: Any areas of training needed
    Click here to send us your requests.
  2. Weekly ‘Change-maker Check-in’ Zoom calls
    We will be hosting weekly virtual meetings facilitating conversations between people in our Mensch Network and Community.


    These calls will be an opportunity to share best practices from our work and facilitate connection and support.

    To create a community of practice, we invite you to facilitate a portion of the meeting, offering your peers a useful coping technique, a resource, etc. 

    Click here to indicate your interest and help us find a convenient time for calls.
  3. Online Training Workshops
    We will be offering online training workshops in the coming weeks:

Topics being planned:

  1. Virtual Facilitation Training – learn how to facilitate online using Zoom and Mural platforms
  2. Virtual Writing Workshop – How to make your message heard in the chaos

More workshop topics will be shared. Please let us know if there is something you feel you need and we will do our best to source the best information or person to deliver it. (That may also be you!)

Click to indicate your interest in these workshops or share a topic.

4. Change-maker Communication Whatsapp Group
We will also be sending the information in this email out via a Whatsapp Broadcast list.

We will be setting up a Mensch Network & Community Whatsapp Group for the purposes of sharing best practices and information useful to social change-makers working with vulnerable communities. This will not be a general Corona virus information sharing space.

Click here to be added to the Group.

If there is any other way we can help or any ideas or information you would like to share with us or the Jewish community, please send us an email.
Wishing you all strength and good health as we face this global challenge together.
Much love
Gina, Jodi, and the Mensch Board


FRIDAY 20 MARCH 19:00 Message from Bnoth Zion WIZO Cape Town

After careful consultation and consideration, we took the decision to postpone our Sponsor-a-Child Golf Day until August 2020.
Also on hold for the time being are Hadar branch’s Card Afternoon, and Aviv Shorashim’s Swap-a-Thon. 

Should you, or any one you know, be in need of assistance during this time of self-isolation, be it in the form of medical attention or otherwise, please inform our offices 021 464-6700 x 131 or contact Jewish Community Services on (021) 462-5520.

Janene Currie Chairman, Bnoth Zion WIZO Cape Town


FRIDAY 20 MARCH 14:44 Message from the Chief Rabbi – let your home be your shull

My dear friends,

This is an erev Shabbos like no other. For the first time in our more than 175-year history, we, the South African Jewish community, don’t have shuls to go to. It’s an incredibly painful reality, something so difficult to integrate. 

Shul is such an important part of our lives; for so many of us, our lives revolve around our shuls. And now, all of a sudden, there’s an enormous gap, a big piece missing from our family and community life. 

Yet, as painful as it is, we should not fall into despondency. We should realise that by closing our shuls in this interim period, we are fulfilling one of the most crucial mitzvot in the Torah – pikuach nefesh – the principle that almost all of the laws of the Torah are set aside to preserve human life. We all know the famous statement of the Talmud – to save one life is to save an entire world. And right now, we are all doing all we can to carry out this sacred mitzvah. 

At a time like this, we have an opportunity to reach for greatness, to make a real shift in our lives. For it’s at the most difficult moments in life that Hashem gives us the opportunity to grow and become truly great. This is our chance to rise to the occasion.

How do we do this? At a time when our shuls are closed, let’s transform our homes into a shul. Let’s make them a sanctuary, a spiritual safe-haven, a place of holiness for our families. Let’s fill our homes with kindness and warmth, with Torah learning and davening and mitzvot – with all the G-d-given values that have enriched the lives of Jews for generations.

And, as we head towards this Shabbos, let’s prepare to bring in Shabbos and make it an uplifting experience. When we bring Shabbos into our homes, we bring Hashem into our homes – and strength and joy and comfort.

Making our homes into a shul can easily be achieved with a little bit of thought. In the same way that shuls have times to daven – Kabbalat ShabbatShacharitMinchaMaariv – let’s make our own family davening times and daven together as a family. And let’s fill the day with meaning and upliftment. There’s no rabbi delivering the sermon? You deliver the sermon. There are so many wonderful Torah resources available to print out and prepare and share among the family. Get everyone involved. And let’s have all the meals together – Shabbos dinner and Shabbos lunch, a Kiddush-brocha, and seudat shlishit

When there’s so much darkness around the world, let us fill our hearts and our homes with the light and warmth of Shabbos. Let’s make it a Shabbos filled with holiness and togetherness, love and faith, hope and light – an uplifting Shabbos that we can draw strength from in these troubled times. 

There is another reason not to be despondent this Shabbos. There is, in fact, one minyan that will be going ahead as planned. And it’s in perhaps the unlikeliest of circumstances. The Chevrah Kadisha, our beloved community welfare organisation, has taken the crisis very seriously – and under the direction of board member and Netcare CEO, Richard Friedland, has instituted a lockdown in order to safeguard Sandringham Gardens residents who are at the age of being most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Residents and staff have also been undergoing regular testing. The outcome of all the incredible efforts and dedication of the Chev is that, baruch Hashem, Sandringham Gardens is, at this stage, a coronavirus-free zone. And because the facility is sealed, the minyan will continue.

So, while all our shuls are closed, we know as a community that the Torah will still be read somewhere. There will still be Barachu and Kedusha and Kaddish – and all of the special prayers recited as a community. Our sages from the Talmudteach that prayers said in a minyan have a special potency – and we will have that great merit as a community. It can give us incredible peace of mind to know there is a minyan functioning even in these tough times.

In addition, the Chev has kindly offered for anyone who needs to say Kaddish for a relative – either as a mourner or for a yahrzeit – to send their names through to Rabbi Jonathan Fox. Click on the button below:

Click for Kaddish

Send both the English and Hebrew name of your departed loved one, and state whether it is for a yahrzeit or aveilus. In doing so, you can have the comfort of knowing that Kaddish is being said for your relative.

I’d like to personally thank Chevrah Kadisha chairman, Colin Datnow; CEO, Saul Tomson; and Chev rabbi, Rabbi Jonathan Fox for this incredible gift to the community. May Hashem continue to protect Sandringham Gardens and all the Chev facilities. And may He protect each one of us.

Let us go forward into this Shabbos as a community, emboldened and strengthened. Let us prepare to welcome a Shabbos of light and hope and faith, and to transform our homes into shuls, into real sanctuaries of peace and togetherness. And let this be a Shabbat shalom for us all. 

Have a wonderful Shabbos,
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

FRIDAY 20 MARCH 11:35 Message from Netzer: Calendar Update

Dear Netzer family and friends, 

It is with a heavy heart and in very unfortunate circumstances that we are emailing you all today.

In light of everything that is happening with the COVID-19 Virus, we have had to reevaluate our events and make some changes to the schedule for the coming months.

Please read the following carefully for an update on our Netzer activity for the coming months:

Netzer Service: While there will be no in-person shabbat services offered, there will be a number of online options available to get involved with Netzer and the Temple Israel community. Below is the link to Kabbalat Shabbat [Friday 20 March, 6.30pm], Shabbat Shacharit [Saturday 21 March, 9.30am] as well as Havdallah [Saturday 21 March, 7.45pm] which will all be livestreamed. https://www.facebook.com/Temple-Israel-119771798374274/videos/
Like Temple Israel on Facebook to keep up with all the wonderful services and resources that will be offered.

Mini Machaneh: We will be postponing the mini mach [camping weekend] to later in the year. However, we still plan to celebrate the weekend with you and we will be holding some of our events virtually. Stay tuned for more information!

Winter Day camps: As for now, our winter day camps have been put on hold and will be evaluated as time goes on.

Winter camp: As for now, our winter camp has been put on hold and will be evaluated as time goes on.

Israel Tour: Due to the very uncertain and unsafe nature of international travel at the moment. Israel tour will unfortunately have to be put on hold.

Shnat: Due to the heavy restrictions in Israel as well as further reasons that I am sure you all understand, we have discontinued the Shnat Netzer gap-year program in Israel for 2020. The entire cohort has arrived home safely to remain in the safe care of family and friends.

Of course these have all been very difficult decisions that we have had to make and trust that you understand that we have made them with the health and safe keeping of everyone in mind. Having said that we also look forward to exploring creative ways to connect with you all! Please keep up to date with what we are offering online on our Facebook page [Netzer South Africa], Instagram account [netzer_southafrica] and Website [www.netzer.org.za].

We would also like to extend a huge thank you to the community for all of the guidance and support that we have received in these very difficult times.

Wishing you all the best of health and safe keeping over this shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom!
Warm Regards,
Rachael Sara
Rosh Cape Town, Netzer South Africa


THURSDAY 19 MARCH SABC News coverage of Synagogues closure due to spread of COVID-19

Watch on YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=9uerGsmswG8


THURSDAY 19 MARCH 18:45 Message from Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies: Cape Town Community | COVID 19 Update

This evening 19 March 2020, the Cape Jewish communal leadership met again to discuss its communal strategy and plan in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and minimising its long-term impact on our community.

At the time of this communication, 150 cases are confirmed Nationally, of which 46 cases are in the Western Cape.

The aim remains to prevent further spread of the virus.

To date decisions have been made to close all Shuls and schools nationally as well as the Gardens Community Centre, including SA Jewish Museum, SA Holocaust and Genocide Centre, Gitlin Library and Café Riteve. Our Welfare organisations have also implemented tight access controls.

Various challenges and solutions were discussed and plans put in place to take them forward. Nationally, we are seeing our day-to-day lives impacted but this is not a time to panic.

The situation calls for unity and compassion. It is with this regard that I make myself available to all members of the community if you need to engage and can be contacted on 082 387 7315 or stuart@ctjc.co.za

We recommend keeping a close eye on WHO, NICD and Provincial Health information. Media reports and social media reports may be inaccurate. 

Practising social distancing, proper hygiene and following the guidelines set out by the authorities and Jewish leadership can help us flatten the curve and protect our most vulnerable community members. 

Let’s keep our bodies apart, but our hearts and minds together.

#MakeSomeSpace
#StayAtHome
#CurbTheSpread

Sincerely,
Stuart Diamond
Executive Director
Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies


THURSDAY 19 MARCH 15:30 Message from Rabbi Oshy Deren – Chabad West Coast is moving – in to your home!

Dear Friend,
Before you start reading, take a deep breath. And as our beloved Rebbe always taught us in times of distress – Think Positive. Think positive again.

Ok. Now continue reading.

By the Grace of G-d we are living in South Africa where we have been blessed with a delay of the impact that the devastating Coronavirus is having across the globe. This gives us the advantage of hindsight to learn from what other communities are tragically already experiencing, and how we can PG plan for the future and at least somewhat mitigate the effect that it will have.

In consultation with the leading medical authorities in this country, the Chief Rabbi yesterday afternoon, in an emotional video conference with rabbis across the country, announced that the (brick and mortar) Shuls of South Africa should remain closed until the danger of this virus has passed, please G-d in the very near future.

(But, as only our Chief knows how – he followed up a few minutes later with an equally important announcement! Scroll down to “A Thought for Shabbat” for more on this transformative initiative….)

For that reason, all of The Shul services, classes and social gatherings will now take place – in your home! Yes, we are turning the Coronavirus in to a force for good, a goodness that PG will go viral and heal our entire world! – www.TheShul.co.za/Coronavirus.

I can not even imagine what kind of difficulties this is creating for so many of our beloved brother and sisters right here in Blouberg.
I know some are immunocompromised and therefore can’t leave the home. Others are already doing whatever they can to maintain a level of self-quarantine or at least social-distancing to the extent that minimal tasks are considered. Most of us are beset with the concern of the economic downturn that this virus is bringing in its wake.

And of course all of us have on one level or another that niggling anxiety in the back of our thoughts as we grapple to understand and absorb the implications of the greatest challenge in living memory of our generation.

No, we are not panicking. Thank G-d. That would of course be even more dangerous than the virus. Yes, we are all taking this seriously (I hope) and are being hyper-vigilant around our hygiene and social distancing. Yes, we have all tapped in to a new level of faith in Hashem and trust in His way, even as we grapple with the questions of why this is happening, and rather focus on what we should do about it.

Please please just know that if there is any way that I can be of any support, whether something practical where I can help or if you just need to talk to someone, I am available for you whether to talk on the phone, or on Whatsapp 24/6. Even if my phone is off or I am not able to answer right away, I will make sure to respond asap. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. For anything.

But I can’t do it on my own. We all need to be there for each other, if you are able to. So please join in and volunteer to for Random Acts of CoronaKindness.

Together, we will hold each other tight, and we will, with Hashems help we really really will, come out on the other side of this stronger. 

We as a community are here for you, today more than ever, to help keep you safe, supported, and held close during these difficult times.

And it is for this reason that we are moving Chabad of the West Coast in to your home.

So how will we do that? What does it even mean?

Well, our two most basic challenges right now are first and foremost 1. protecting our health and 2. surviving the economic downturn. I hope you are doing everything humanly possible to address number one, and while number two is beyond what any one of us can solve, we as a community leadership are exploring what possible resources could possibly be accessed to help alleviate this as well. 

But what about our Shul? Our School? Our Chabad of the West Coast community?

So, the three challenges that I find myself, and everyone I speak to today, needing most right now, especially from our Chabad of the West Coast, are:

  1. Comfort – because we need to be comforted with the strength and knowledge that fuels our heart with the courage to stay positive. As a Jewish community, our sacred heritage of Torah, both through the sacred texts and rituals, alongside the reservoir of ideas, thoughts, stories and living Torah examples, is a constant source of comfort. And one that we should be sharing with the world at large.
  2. Connection – because of all of the factors that lend themselves to feeling lonely, we need to reconnect, to each other, and to Hashem. We need to Daven, together. And we also need to spend time talking, chatting, catching up, having a L’chaim – basically, we need time in Shul but we also need some time in the Brocha room!
  3. Care – because whether basic needs, or anything more urgent, our community is a place we come to for care and kindness. Everyone of us needs to be a part of this effort. Whether you are spending a lot of time at home and would love to use that time reaching out to vulnerable members of our community, or whether you or someone you know needs some help. We can all be either a giver or a receiver of this care. (And if we’re really honest with ourselves we can be both.)

    And if we can create all of this, today more than ever, then we transform the meaning of Corona from a lethal virus, back to its original Latin and Spanish meaning which is “Crown”

    Which is perhaps why the Mishna says that “There are Three Crowns – the Crown of Torah (from which we take comfort in times like this #CoronaComfort),and the Crown of Priesthood (and today, when we each come to serve Hashem in prayer and connection as a community we are each the Kohen of our home #CoronaConnection) and the Crown of Royalty (expressed by our benevolent kindness that we bestow upon one another #CoronaCare). And the Crown of Good Name is Superior to them all.”

    And so let’s crown ourselves with these three crowns,

    1. #CoronaComfort: 1.1. Empowering messages for these time from our Blouberg Rabbis and Rebbetzins 1.2 Cape Town city-wide and National Learning Spaces 1.3. Personalized one-on-one learning.

    2. #CoronaConnection: 2.1. Online Social Events and Chat Rooms 2.2. Special Joint Shul Davening Service 2.3. Sister-Community link up to other Shuls to join their prayers, and Kaddish for Yarzeits when necessary.

    3. #CoronaCare: 3.1. A Buddy Pairing System for the whole community 3.2. Social Media Connection Spaces 3.3. Support network for people to ask for/ offer, Random Acts of #CoronaKindness

    And please G-d may the “Crown of a Good Name” the name of Hashem, be on us all, with a time of health and healing and the coming of Moshiach speedily in our time!

    Please read below in “What’s Happening @ The Shul” section of the newsletter, about the full outline of what and how we can do, for you, and what you can do for others.

    “A Thought for Shabbat” continued below

    In today’s Weekly Email:
    1. Shabbat and Weekly Times. Shabbat begins with candle lighting no later than 6:39 pm and ends at 7:29 pm.
    2. What’s Happening @ The Shul COVID-19 Blouberg Update
    3. What’s Nu in The Shul Family
    4. A Thought for Shabbat from the desk of yours truly

    1. SHABBAT TIMES
    Shabbat begins Friday 20 March with candle lighting after 5:41 pm and no later than 6:39 pm and ends on Motzai Shabbat 21 March at 7:29 pm. 
    The Torah portion this week is Parshat Vayakhel Pekudei. For a fascinating journey through the infinite messages of the Parsha this week, visit www.TheShul.co.za/Parsha.

    2. WHAT’S HAPPENING @ THE SHUL – in your home

    Set up your home.
    Get your Items. If you need to pick up any  of your personal items from Shul, please whatsapp Caleb at 0835941435 to make up a time to pick it up. Remember to sanitize when you come in and when you leave. From tomorrow at 5 pm the Chabad of the West Coast facility will no longer be accessible at all.

    Shul Basics – at home. if you don’t have a Siddur, Chumash, or Tehilim at home, you can whatsapp Caleb for a time to come take this on loan from The Shul, but it needs to be written down in the register that Caleb will show you so we can keep track of where everything is.

    Set up online. You probably are on whatsapp already but if you haven’t downloaded Zoom please do so asap. It’s a very easy to use app and it is where we will be holding all of our events and Shul services www.Zoom.com https://www.zoom.com.

    And get on board with Chabad of the West Coast – in your living room!

    1. #CoronaComfort:
    1.1. Empowering messages for these time from our Blouberg Rabbis and Rebbetzins

    1.1.1. The Bouberg Jewish Community Group:  If you havent joined the “Blouberg Jewish Community” Whatsapp group yet, please do so here: https://chat.whatsapp.com/IAO37R2qgAk2jud9WBIMDR.

    It will be updated daily with information, inspiration, and maybe even a bit of humour, and of course comforting words and messages of Torah from your rabbis and rebbetzins. For those who want to just keep the minimal news, the site is a closed group so it will not a steady flow of non-stop conversation. All Chabad West Coast virtual events going forward will be posted there.

    1.1.2. Daily Study Groups: If you would like to receive our Daily Learning messages on Whatsapp, join any of these groups, get right on board! Chumash with Rashi – https://bit.ly/2RqhZyq Lessons in Tanya – https://bit.ly/2FYVTlk and Halacha – Kitzur Shulchan Aruch – https://bit.ly/2HNn6t4

    1.2 Cape Town city-wide and National Comfort and Learning Spaces.

    1.2.1. The Chief Rabbi (who has been leading our community with breathtaking calm, vision, and discipline) invites you to join him for daily whatsapp updates, learning and inspiration here: https://www.chiefrabbi.co.za/updates.

    1.2.2. Rabbi Ari Shishler whose insightful wisdom and creative presentaion of it is always a source of light, can be followed here: https://chat.whatsapp.com/F17i6IxmkhF594Uej2aot6.

    1.3. Personalized one-on-one learning

    1.3.1. Jnet – Today! Would you like to learn any topic, at any time, with your own personal Torah tutor? Visit www.TheShul.co.za/Jnet right now and get started.

    2. #CoronaConnection:

    2.1. Online Social Events and Chat Rooms

    2.1.1. Challah Bake with Zeesy – today at 4 pm! Get your dough ready now so that it has risen in time, or just join in for the fun and do your dough then! You can follow the Challah Bake at https://zoom.us/j/675637692

    2.1.2. Pre-Shabbat Kiddush Friday at 5:30 everyone is invited to join in with a L’chaim, some Kugel, and a Niggun or two as we get in to the Shabbat spirit. Join in here – https://zoom.us/j/577014008.

    2.1.3. The Blouberg Brocha Room. In the #CoronaCare section you will see about the groups that have specific purposes. But this group is where you come to after you’ve finished eating, and you come back to the Brocha room, not for dessert, but just to hak with whomever else there. One rule: Stay positive. None of the fear mongering. You coming? https://chat.whatsapp.com/DnSXbmNlSf0KBVRJUx4YQJ.

    2.1.4. NIK RABINOWITZ Takes on the Coronavirus! Join us at the Gardens Shul Zoom Platform for an exclusive coffee chat with our very own Nik. Wednesday 24 March, 8:00pm. The link will be sent out in the Blouberg Jewish Community Whatsapp room shortly before the launch.

    2.2. Special Joint Shul Davening Service

    2.2.1. Musical Kabbalat Shabbat Bring your Siddur, your Song and your Celebration! We will start Kabbalat Shabbat together as a community, and then at 6:30 pm we will close the screens, light the candles, and prepare for the best Shabbos of your life! Join here https://zoom.us/j/577014008 (Same link as Pre-Shabbat Kiddush).

    2.2.2. Sunday Morning Tefilin Club We can’t send you breakfast but we will Daven together, with extra songs and celebration. If you don’t have a pair of Tefilin at home, you can still join in (and we can get you a pair of Tefilin!). Link will be sent on the Tefilin Club group.

    2.3. Sister-Community link up to other Shuls to join their prayers, and Kaddish for Yarzeits when necessary.

    2.3.1. Join us for Maariv tonight – in Jerusalem! Our very own Chananya will link us in to Davening at Mayanot Yeshiva in Yerusholayim – and maybe a little Farbrengen afterwards? Join the link, tonight, Thursday 19 March, at 7 pm. https://zoom.us/j/200570945

    2.3.2. Kaddish Services. If you were saying Kaddish every day and now can’t because of the Coronavirus we have special volunteers in communities where it safe to go to Shul, who will do that for you. Visit https://www.theshul.co.za/4677070 and fill in the form.

    3. #CoronaCare:

    3.1. A Buddy Pairing System for the whole community

    3.1.1. Need a Buddy? Do you know someone who could use a “check-in” phone call every morning and evening? Email Mandy at admin@sinaiacademy.co.za or Whatsapp her at 0829017780 and she will set them up with someone asap.

    3.1.2. Be a Buddy? I know things are a bit hectic in the house and with work right now. But if you can make some time to reach out to those who might not be blessed with the hectic chaos of house and work, you might find yourself a little more peaceful too! Email Mandy at admin@sinaiacademy.co.za or Whatsapp her at 0829017780 and she will set you up with someone asap.

    3.2. Social Media Connection Spaces

    3.2.1.  The Community Conversation. There are two existing local community groups, open chat, which have evolved in to spaces that people can share support for one another, that they need, or can give. Please respect that these are not ongoing conversation spaces: The mens group The Tefilin Club can be joined here – https://chat.whatsapp.com/Ht9iweMzovRIEn46PG3fKX and the ladies group CWest Coast Support can be joined here – https://chat.whatsapp.com/5LYgsEznnuMKVex6Q7i906

    3.3. Support network for people to ask for/ offer, Random Acts of #CoronaKindness

    3.3.1. Cape Town Jewish Community Services. If you know of someone in need of Social Services please give them the number of the JCS at 0214625520. If it is severe medical needs they must call the CSO/Ezra at 086-18-911-18

    3.3.2. Blouberg Support Groups. If you have any further ideas about what and how we can do more, or if you would like to volunteer to head up any sort of initiative, please be in touch with Mandy, or #CoronaCare coordinator.

    Shul Shabbos and Weekday Services:
    • Friday night Mincha  Kaballat Shabbat: 6:00 pm
    https://zoom.us/j/577014008
    • Shabbos morning Shacharis: 10:00 am
    – at home, with your family. 
    • Maariv Motzai Shabbat: 8:00 pm
    – at home, with your family. 
    • Sunday Morning Tefilin Club: 8:15 AM
    https://zoom.us/j/199813490
    • Monday – Friday Shacharit: 7:45 am.
    – Zoom link To be announced.
    The “KOLLEL BENYAMIN” Jewish Life and Learning Programme at The Shul:
    • Daily Torah Mon – Fri: 

    Talmud Tractate Sotah Platform to be announced. 
    Chumash with Rashi – https://bit.ly/2RqhZyq
    Lessons in Tanyahttps://bit.ly/2FYVTlk
    Halacha – Kitzur Shulchan Aruch – https://bit.ly/2HNn6t4
    Monday 1:00 pm: Lunch ‘n Learn at Chabad Sea Point – Zoom link will be sent out.
    Tuesday 1:00 pm: Tanya, advanced Shiur. Zoom link will be sent out.
    Wednesday 8:30 am: Tea and Torah for ladies Zoom link will be sent out.
    Shabbat 9:15 am: Project Likkutei Sichos Zoom link with new time will be sent out.
    Shabbat 1:30 pm: Points to Ponder from the Parsha – Ladies Shiur during Mincha. Zoom link with new time will be sent out.
    Shabbat 1:45 pm: The Jewish Home – Halacha – this will be in the Halacha group. https://bit.ly/2HNn6t4

    WHAT’S NU IN THE SHUL FAMILY
    We wish happy birthday to: Keira Kernohan 20 March; Arlene Solomon 22 March; Gayle Hessen 22 March; Kevin Wolffe 23 March; Lance(Meilech) 23 March; Gideon Cohen 24 March; Lawrence Nates 24 March; Jerome Jacobson 24 March; Louisa Kleyman 25 March; Phyllis Dickman 26 March; Nathaniel Delit 26 March

    We wish long life to: Brenda Diamond for her late Husband 26 Adar/22 March; Michele Sacks for her late Father 26 Adar/22 March; Lianne and Nicole Diamond for their late Father 26 Adar/22 March

    We wish mazeltov to: Ryan and Debbie Van Putten for their anniversary on 21 March; Brendan and Jolyn Levin for their anniversary 22 March; Jonathan and Vanessa Musikanth for their anniversary on 23 March

    Mazel Tov Kievmans! We wish a heartfelt Mazel Tov to Mendel and Ruth Kievman, and their parents Rabbi Avraham and Goldie Kievman and Dovid and Sheila Valentini, on the birth of a baby brother to Ava! In keeping with the new communal health guidelines, there will not be a Shalom Zachor and the Bris will be with absolutely minimal attendance – in person. But we will all join in spirit, so please have an extra Lchaim at your Friday night table welcoming Baby Boy Kievman in to our Blouberg community!
  4. A THOUGHT FOR SHABBAT
    I have always been a fan of our Chief Rabbi, and watching the tears flow from his eyes yesterday as he shared with the rabbi the decision taken with Dr Friedland Professor Schoub that we should close the Shuls of South Africa, I realized yet again that our community is blessed to have his leadership as we do. But it was the email I got from him a few minutes later that that made me truly understand why.

    “Dear Friends,

    For the first time in recent history, or maybe even for the first time in world history, we are all home… together.

    We have an unprecedented opportunity to bring the joy and happiness of Shabbat into our homes. We can disconnect from the fear and uncertainty of the world for 25 hours and take comfort in one another and our shared tradition.

    We’ve curated some of our best Shabbat resources to help you bring the light of Shabbat into your home. 

    Join us in #KeepingItTogether this Shabbat, uniting our individual homes around the world in the warm embrace of Shabbat. Now, more than ever, we need Shabbat.

    United together. Physically apart. One nation. One heart.

    May G-d bless our community and our world with healing and health.

    The Shabbat Project Team”

    Yes, the same Chief Rabbi who moments ago was shedding bitter tears at the challenge our world is facing, was now putting on a smile and encouraging us to look at this new Shabbos at home as a time to be #KeepingItTogether – Apart.

    I would just add to his letter, that perhaps this is the second time in world history that we were given this instruction.

    The first time wasn’t the day the virus plague started, like we had this week.

    It was the day after the plague finished, 3,332 years ago – in this week’s Parsha.

    It was at a critical moment. When the plague that came after the Golden Calf had wiped out a significant number of people, and the fear was still on the air. Moshe came down from the mountain, and he gathered the people together, as a community, because now it was safe for them to gather. He gathered them as a community, at a time when they needed to hear that message. Of coming together as one, men, women and children, for a purpose and a vision. 

    It was a glorious vision that would change the course of history in fact, as we mortal human beings were being given the mandate to build a home for our Creator, and our Community, one home together. It would be a home of bricks and mortar (or accacia wood and silver to be precise) that would set the template for the Shuls and Chabad House and Yeshivas and Community Centres across the span of time and space, where the Creator and His People, would come together.

    We would come there to Daven and Learn, to Laugh and to Cry, to Celebrate and to Mourn, as one people, at one with our creator. And from there, from this space, we would spread out in to the world, to our homes and our business, to our malls and our parks, and everywhere in between, and we would expand the walls of this home for the Creator and the Community to envelop the entirety of the universe as we know it.

    But first you need to stop.

    The first instruction Moshe gave us to building the community and its home for Hashem was to put down our tools.

    Stop.

    Rest.

    Wait a second.

    Yes the fist instruction we are given to build a home for Hashem is to stop building and keep Shabbat.

    Today we know that there is no Mitzvah in the world more precious than saving a life. That’s why this week Shuls are closed, concerts are canceled, and weddings are downsized to a Minyan. Because if you are building your home with a brick that has broken someone’s life, it’s not a home worth building. If one sneeze could put someone’s life in danger, then that Bar Mitzvah party should never happen.

    We learned that from the Chief Rabbi’s announcement about our physical health yesterday.

    And we learned it from Moshe Rabbeinu’s announcement this week as well.

    PG just as Shabbat then was the first Mitzvah of healing the world after their plague, may this beautiful Shabbat that we are all celebrating together, apart in our homes, but together in our hearts, be the first and final step of healing for our world today.

    Zeesy and the children join me in wishing you a Shabbat Shalom of healing for our world,
    Rabbi Oshy Deren

    P.S. If you enjoyed this thought and would like to learn it more directly from the source visit www.ProjectLikkuteiSichos.org.
    P.P.S. To subscribe to our Weekly Email visit www.TheShul.co.za/Subscribe

THURSDAY 19 MARCH 14:30 Message from Gardens Shull – New Important Updates

Here are some important updates since yesterday’s email:

First of all, a special thank you to all who joined the first Zoom Shiur this morning at 11am. It was a wonderful experience, connecting and learning together during this time. One of the advantages of technology is that people can join from all over the world. It was fascinating to hear first-hand feedback about the impact on their community, from a participant who joined in from Tzfat, Israel.  

As of yesterday, sadly, Shul’s around the country have closed their doors for Minyanim. However, our Shul has not closed its doors for a Minyan in 179 years (!) and we intend to keep the doors open daily in the following way:

Every evening at 6pm I will be in the Gardens Shul sanctuary. I will lead the Mincha and Maariv service from inside the Shul, while everybody is welcome to join along from home by clicking on the Zoom link below.  

I will give a short Shiur dedicated to all those whom Kaddish is being said for, or for those who have Yarzeit. In this way, we can at least pray and learn together virtually, and we can also honour those who have Yarzeit and for whom Kaddish is being said. The service should not take longer than approximately 25 minutes.  

Click this link tonight from 5:55pm to join our virtual prayer service. https://zoom.us/j/635925446

Virtual Kabbalat Shabbat:

As communicated in yesterday’s email, we will be hosting a virtual Pre-Shabbat Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday at 5:15pm. You can join by clicking on the link below from 5pm. The interactive service will consist of the Kabbalat Shabbat service until after Lecha Dodi.

My sermon tomorrow night at the virtual service: ‘The Power of Imagination in Building Virtual Communities’.

The service will also include the prayer of healing and the prayer for those who have Yarzeit in the coming week, as would usually be done on Shabbat morning.

Join tomorrow from 5pm by clicking on this link: https://zoom.us/j/430892817

Following the service, technology will be turned off as we welcome in Shabbat by lighting the Shabbat candles and praying the rest of Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv at home, followed by a Shabbat dinner with Kiddush and Challah with the family.

In this new reality, I encourage everybody to use the opportunity to create a spiritual and meaningful Shabbat experience for your families that can be remembered for years to come!   

Please note, the Shul office will be open during weekdays from 9am-12pm, but only for phone calls and emails, NOT for walk-in visits or meetings.

Please be assured that I am still available 24-6! I can be contacted any time on email or cell phone.

We will continue to send out regular updates.
With blessings for peace, serenity and health,
Rabbi


THURSDAY 19 MARCH 12:30 Community WhatsApp Group

My fellow community members

In the coming weeks we may be tried and tested in so many ways. There is so much that is unknown – so much that is beyond our control.

One of the only things that we can try to ensure is how we react – whatever comes our way. As we distance ourselves physically, in our best efforts to flatten the curve of infection and protect one another, let us use every other way we have to support one another.

To this end, I have set up a community WhatsApp group to connect in real-time and offer timeless guidance, inspiration and support.
 
Join the group here
(if the group is full try the next one):
Group 3
https://chat.whatsapp.com/JXkmZyVcQYyENbgXmc8AAS
Group 4
https://chat.whatsapp.com/Ei14Gn3Y4NQKzBY9DYiDuf
Group 5
https://chat.whatsapp.com/BehSymrHighBc661GCSaUb

I have been overwhelmed with admiration at the coordinated and swift efforts of our leadership. It has been so affirming to be part of a dedicated team, including the Rabbis, shuls, the Board of Deputies, the Chev, the schools, Hatzolah, CSO and CAP, who are so dedicated to our community’s well-being. At this crucial time in history, let us do everything we can to spread love, support and the spirit of community that we know so well to all of humanity. Above all, let us have faith and trust in G-d, Who, no matter the circumstances, is always there for us. Let us turn to Him with our davening and our mitzvot at this crucial time. 

Stay safe and G-d bless
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

THURSDAY 19 MARCH 12:00 Message from Gifttime

Dear Giftime Customer

Due to the seriousness of the current situation, the decision has been made to close Giftime until further notice.

In lieu of gifts, please consider donating to Astra. You can do so by emailing Mandy at jsec@iafrica.com.
For any queries, please email Frankye at wollach@iafrica.com.

Kind Regards
The Giftime team

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 15:56 Message from the Chairman of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 15:51 Message from the Chief Rabbi of South Africa

Dear Friends
 
The situation with the coronavirus continues to change day by day, and we are now seeing an increased number of cases. The latest announcement from the Minister of Health is that South Africa has its first cases of local transmissions, which indicates a new level of threat of the disease. This situation raises the question of shul services, which have continued without interruption until this point. Against this background, we have consulted with Dr Richard Friedland and Professor Barry Schoub, who have been guiding our response to the community on this matter from the beginning.
 
It is their opinion that, in theory, if there were complete and strict adherence to all of the precautionary guidelines at shuls – such as social distancing, as well as the immunocompromised and the elderly not attending shul – there would be a way potentially to maintain acceptable levels of safety. Practically, however, it appears that many are struggling to adhere to these guidelines. This creates a situation of risk, not only for our community, but for our fellow South Africans with whom we are in contact all the time.
 
Therefore, in these circumstances, their expert medical advice is that in order to prevent further spread of the disease, our shul services should not continue at this point in time. And so, in consultation with and support of world halachic authority Rabbi Osher Weiss, it is with a heavy heart that we recommend that people daven at home, on their own, without a minyan, and that shul services no longer take place at this stage.
 
The situation is in flux and will be constantly re-evaluated. And we will look for the earliest opportunity to be able to resume services.
 
This is a very difficult time for us all. Let’s draw strength from our prayers and our connection to Hashem. Let’s redouble our efforts to learn more Torah, to daven at home with meaning and devotion, to do more mitzvos and acts of kindness. Let us make our homes places of holiness and faith, of love and compassion. May Hashem bless our community, our country and our world with health and healing.
 
With blessings

Chief Rabbi Goldstein
The Beth Din
The South African Rabbinical Association
The Rabbinical Association of the Western Cape
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WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 14:36 Message from Temple Israel

Join us virtually on Friday evening and Saturday morning for Shabbat services. We will be live streaming both through this Facebook page — click on our videos section to follow along. Additionally, you can use the link below for an online version of our siddur https://www.ccarnet.org/publications/mishkan-tfilah-for-shabbat/#dflip-df_9729/23/

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 12:22 Message from the Gardens Shul (Cape Town Hebrew Congregation)

We encourage every member of our community, in the strongest possible terms, to please adhere to the guidelines set forth by the national and community bodies. South Africa is still behind other parts in the world in the severity of the virus, and the only chance we have to curb the impact is by strict practices of hygiene and social distancing.
As of now, the recommendation has not been to close the Shul (this may change) however all other Shul events, aside from daily Minyanim, will be held online. Unfortunately, at this point, our communal Seder will NOT be going ahead, however our task team is looking at various options of delivering Seder essentials to those in need.
Regarding Shul attendance: If you feel that you are in any way vulnerable because of age or fitness, if you feel ill in the slightest, or if you have been incontact with anybody who has been overseasplease remain at home and rather join our online community events. If you do come to Shul, please make sure to follow all the protocols, including strict hygiene and social distancing of at least two meters.
 
As communicated previously, we have put together a comprehensive Gardens CoronaCare program.
The three pillars of this program are Spiritual, Emotional and Practical. These relate to the three pillars on which the world standsTorah, Avodah and Gemillut Chasadim (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:2).
In order to be kept up to date with all the services to be elaborated below, please join the communal whatsapp group corresponding to your age bracket by clicking on the appropriate link below. In this whatsapp group, you will receive ONLY the most essential information relating to the Shul and community. It will NOT be an interactive group; only the admins will be able to post. Please do join a group to be kept abreast of all the important information that needs to be communicated.  
 
If you are age 60+ please join the whatsapp group by clicking on this link:https://chat.whatsapp.com/K3u4svs7xSh8oUobnQzPsR
 
If you are between the ages of 40-60 please join the whatsapp group by clicking on this link:  https://chat.whatsapp.com/G2jyqkTPIezLgvVdsUYt8I
 
If you are between the ages of 20-40 please join the whatsapp group by clicking on this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Ea0Dx4pk4fgD4Iutw4Clf6  
 
For 20’s and below please join the youth whatsapp group by clicking on this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/JsJJyCXP1N7KNgVigi2H60
 
Details of Gardens CoronaCare
 
Pillar 1.
Torah. This pillar relates to all the forthcoming Spiritual offerings at Gardens to be held online. The first one will be tomorrow’s Thursday morning Parsha Shiur at 11am, open to ladies and gentlemen. Click this Zoom link (details about Zoom below) to join https://zoom.us/j/782477801

FRIDAY NIGHT PRE-SHABBAT ONLINE CELEBRATION:
For those not able to make it to Shul on Friday night, we are offering an exciting pre-Shabbat online Shabbat service. The program will include, amongst other things, interactive Kabbalat Shabbat singing led by Choni, and a Drosha that I will deliver. It will take place this Friday March, 20 at 5:15pm. You can join the service by clicking on this zoom link (you can join from 5pm).  https://zoom.us/j/430892817

Our Fathers and Sons Barmy Course will continue on Zoom on Monday, as will the Thursday nights Light and Learning pre–Pesach learning program and all our other regular Shiurim. Links will be posted to the whatsapp groups for those who want to join.
 
The reason we are using Zoom specifically is that it is an interactive platform. In this way it is not only watching or listening to something online, but actually participating as well. There will be times throughout the events when the group mute will be lifted and participants will be able to ask questions, share concerns, offer insights, etc.

Zoom is incredibly easy to use. Download the app to your phone, click on the link that will be sent out, and you will automatically enter the event. If you click on the link from your computer it should open automatically.

Please let us know if you need assistance connecting with Zoom. 

 
Pillar 2. 
Avodah. Gardens will be hosting a wide variety of weekly online social eventsfor the community to stay connected. The first will be held next Tuesday, March 24 at 8:00pm. Guest Speaker: Nik Rabinowitz

Make yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy from the comfort of your lounge room; ‘My Take on the Coronavirusa Conversation with Nik Rabinowitz’.

zoom link will be sent onto the above whatsapp groups nearly next week to join the social.
 
Pillar 3. 
Gemmilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness). This pillar, focusing on thepractical needs of our community, will be headed up by our Chesed Club director Marie Klagsbrun. This practical pillar will be dealing with a range of services, from telephonic support for those in isolation to ensuring basic services to those in need. Please contact Marie directly if you require any support (no request is too big or small) or if you would like to join the task team.

A special thank you to all the volunteers and task team leaders who have already joined. Marie can be reached on her cell phone: 082 559 8245.

Please consider adding in Torah study, prayer and good deeds at this time. Our sages teach us that these are crucial ingredients to Spiritual blessing, healing and protection. 
 
This in an ongoing situation and we will continue to update the community regularly on developments. We, as your Shul, will continue striving to be there for you, our community, during these turbulent times. In every situation there are silver linings. More time for family and reflection on the important things in life are some of those silver linings. Together, we will emerge stronger than ever before!
 
Please do let us know if there is anything else we could assist with at this time,
 
With blessings for health, strength and healing,
 
Rabbi Osher Feldman
Chairman Stephen Levetan   

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WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 09:06 Message from the Eliot Osrin Leadership Institute

Hillel taught: In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man” (Pirkei Avot 2:5) – This means that when there is no one else to take the initiative and assume responsibility, it is upon you to take up leadership.

The COVID-19 crisis has turned all our lives upside down and at the same time has elevated the meaning of caring for each other. We are either infected or affected, but we cannot stand by idly. Hillel’s injunction is a call to action to each and every one of us – to step up and play our part. Eliot Osrin Leadership Institute has had to be agile and resilient and change our leadership training model.  

Please watch this space for new ways to lead and learn. Contact details:    info@osrinleadership.org

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TUESDAY 17 MARCH 17:53 Message from the City of Cape Town

CLOSURE OF CITY FACILITIES:
City to close facilities to contain spread of COVID-19, encourages use of online services where possible. 

The City of Cape Town has noted the key containment and mitigation measures that are being implemented across the world and in South Africa in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19. We have taken note of best practice from other affected countries and the success they have found in social distancing and improved hygiene practices.

As such, the City has decided to close the below City facilities from Wednesday, 18 March 2020. We will continuously assess the situation and will inform the public accordingly. 

Facilities to close include:
·         Swimming pools
·         Camping sites
·         Museums
·         Art centres
·         Community halls/Civic centres
·         Recreational hubs
·         Stadia
·         Spray parks
·         Resorts
·         Braai and picnic spots
·         City sports fields
·         Nature reserves

Furthermore, visits by the City’s Mobile Office have been suspended until further notice.

Library operating hours (including mobile services) will be reduced incrementally and these facilities will provide only basic services, namely, taking out and returning reading material. The number of persons allowed into the library will be controlled. Needless to say, this might change at short notice. 

Cemeteries will remain open, although residents are advised upon making bookings to be mindful of the number of persons at the graveside during burial, and to please stick to their allotted times. The Recreation and Parks Department is working to keep gravesites as far apart as possible to limit contact between mourners during burials.

The City also reminds the public that an announcement was made by the National Minister of Social Development that all Early Childhood Development Centres will close on Wednesday, 18 March 2020, in line with the schools.

The City realises that, due to the closure of sporting facilities, there will be an impact on community sporting culture and especially on the municipal facility management committees (MFMCs) who work with the City on the management and maintenance of the facilities. We plead for their understanding and request the support of MFMCs to ensure that all non-essential contact is avoided and that social distancing is strictly enforced.

Please note all public meetings and non-critical meetings, gatherings and site visits will also be postponed indefinitely unless an emergency meeting is called which we will communicate on. The situation is being assessed on a daily basis and is subject to frequent and rapid change. 

Note that offices that provide City services like cash offices, Driving Licence Testing Centres and housing and planning offices will remain open for now.

Residents are advised that all events at the City’s nature reserves have been cancelled and staff are currently working on refunding affected stakeholders, we will provide a full refund for any bookings and also permits to Steenbras Gorge.

Accounts, motor vehicle licences 

The City encourages account holders to make use of the City’s online service offerings, where it is possible to do so, rather than visiting City customer centres for over the counter transactions. Customer offices will remain open, however, strong precautions will be taken to ensure a heightened level of hygiene and customers are encouraged to rather conduct their business online or via telephone than over the counter if possible. The number of people going to the offices must be limited to limit the spread of COVID-19. Details on precautionary measures will be communicated as soon as possible. 

Customers are reminded that accounts still need to be paid. 

For account payments

·         The City encourages account holders to use the City’s online e-services portal to pay their accounts

·         Other payment options available to account holders include paying online using their bank’s website or via ATM, at Nedbank.

·         The City is already listed as a beneficiary with all major banks, so account holders do not need to load bank details when paying online. Account holders can also register with www.paycity.co.za or www.easypay.co.za to pay accounts

·         To pay via ATM, account holders can simply contact their bank to add the City as an ATM beneficiary

For account enquiries

If account holders have any questions related to their account, they can please call 0860 103 089 for more information. Account holders should keep the reference number they’re provided with to track the progress of their query.

For motor vehicle renewals

The City’s Motor Vehicle Renewal which include motor vehicle licence renewals, vehicle registrations and licence payments can be done online. An online licence application takes approximately 14 days from the date of application to receiving it in the post, so residents must please bear this in mind and act in a timeous fashion. Residents who would like to go this route can do so via the City’s online services portal (http://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Pay/Driving-and-vehicles/Vehicle-licences/Pay-your-vehicle-licence).
Residents are reminded to take along their proof of address when renewing their motor vehicle licences. This must be done annually as per National Government requirements. It is very important for customers to have all of the required documentation with them when they apply for licence disc renewals to prevent any additional delays.

For driving licenses

Driving License Testing Centres remain open; however, strong precautions have already been instituted to ensure a heightened level of hygiene. 

All eye testing equipment is sanitised after each user.

Staff have been issued hand sanitiser, and gloves and masks are on order. Additional sanitation of all work surfaces has been implemented. 

The number of occupants have  been limited as per the queuing system

Notices have gone up at all DLTCs, advising the public of precautions to take to promote good hygiene and limit the spread of the virus.

For traffic fines

You can pay your fine online via:

·          Paycity www.paycity.co.za

·          You can also pay your fine using online banking. Please contact your bank directly for assistance or advice.

·          Fine payments can also be made through ATMs. Contact your bank directly for assistance, or visit the bank’s website for more information.

The following can be done via e-Services:  

·         e-Billing
·         Careers
·         Informal trader bay applications
·         Land use and building plan applications (DAMS)
·         Motor vehicle licence renewals
·         Municipal accounts
·         Pet registration
·         Report a fault or request a service
·         Supplier self-service
·         Identity documents uploads
·         Company registration documents
·         Tax clearance certificates
·         Bank statements upload
·         Affidavit uploads
·         Conveyancing
·         Indigent applications

We know that this will prove inconvenient for some of our residents. But in the interest of containing this highly contagious virus and for the protection of all our residents, we trust our residents will understand the need for these measures.
Numerous resources have been made available to the public regarding COVID-19. These include:

·         The NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999 operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day

·         The Western Cape Provincial Government Hotline on 021 928 4102

·          https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

·          https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/health

·          www.nicd.ac.za

·         WhatsApp:  0600 123 456

To listen to this statement click here: https://soundcloud.com/ct-media/new-recording-572-copy-3

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

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TUESDAY 17 MARCH 12:00 Message from the Union of Jewish Women

 The Union of Jewish Women Cape Town attended a meeting held by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and received guidelines on how to move forward with the recent developments  of the COVID-19 pandemic (Corona Virus). The decision taken has been to close some institutions while limiting and enforcing strict access control at others.

The Union will be operating with minimal presence. Shuli will be in the office from 08h30 – 14h00 Monday to Thursday and until 13h00 on Friday. Rika will also be on hand to assist with any medical equipment from Yad Sarah if needed. We are closed for Pesach on 9 April, 15 and 16 April.

All activities – Jewish events/holidays, meetings, Adult Education Division, Bingo and our Friendship Lunches have been cancelled until further notice. We will do our very best to assist in any way possible with as little disruption as possible.

Listed below are upcoming events and meetings until the end of June which have been cancelled.

List of events:

AED – 18 March
MANEX meeting – 23 March
Debbie Silver – 23 March (Circle of Women)
Debbie Silver – 30 March (Circle of Women)
AED and Pesach Lunch – 1 April
EXCO Meeting – 3 April
MANEX meeting – 20 April
AED – 22 April
Kensington Education AGM (Stonehaven) – 23 April
AED – 13 May
Bingo – 15 May
EXCO meeting – 15 May
AGM – 7 May
MANEX meeting – 25 May
AED – 27 May
EXCO meeting – 5 June
AED – 12 June
MANEX Meeting – 22 June
AED – 24 June

We ask that all the necessary requirements to protect each other are adhered to during this time. We will keep you posted on developments, which are ever changing.

If ill or have flu like symptoms, then please contact your doctor or the HOTLINE: 0800 029 999 or the WhatsApp: 0600123456

Patsy Fivelman
Union of Jewish Women
Chairman

TUESDAY 17 MARCH 10:37 Message from SA Jewish Board of Deputies

Dear Jewish community

In the three days since our last community letter there have been further developments around Covid-19 and in terms of our community and government’s response to the pandemic.

Attached are the revised guidelines that have been created by the Jewish communal leadership, the various sectorial clusters that have been established (education, welfare and religious) in close consultation with experts in the field of infectious diseases.

The community is urged to take careful note of these guidelines.

There are two areas that we would like to make specific mention of:

1. Self-Quarantine for people returning from overseas or who have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19
It is important that our community adhere to this critical factor in minimising the transmission of COVID-19.
Minister Mkhize in his briefing this morning said, “each and every one of the individuals is capable of creating their own mini-outbreak.”  Please see guidelines attached. 

2. Limiting Community events
Wherever possible communal gatherings should not take place.  Our guidelines will make reference to some painful decisions we as a community have made in this regard.
Similarly included in the attached document are guidelines by the Chief Rabbi’s office regarding simchas.
Minister Mkhize spoke of South Korea, where 60% of their COVID-19 cases originated from one church.  We as a community need to be vigilant in terms of ensuring that our shuls and communal gatherings are doing all they can to minimise the risk of further spread.

3. Adhering to Personal Hygiene
It is imperative that community members adhere to these guidelines; thorough washing of hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, not hugging, kissing and shaking hands and maintaining a distance of 6 feet.

Please note that the COVID-19 Community Update platform is continuously providing updates and YouTubes with Professor Barry Schoub addressing specific issues of concern to our community. This can be found on our website. There is a facility for you to send questions to Prof Schoub on this online platform.  You can also receive regular updates on our Facebook page.

MONDAY 16 MARCH 17:09 Message from the SA Zionist Federation

Dear Members of the Jewish Community and Friends of Israel

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) has been forced to cancel our annual Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut events due to Coronavirus concerns. Yom HaZikaron is the occasion to commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Yom Ha’atzmaut brings together thousands of Jews in our community to celebrate Israel’s rebirth and independence and connect us to our spiritual and religious home.

We cannot risk hosting large communal events whilst the COVID-19 virus is still a threat, and must heed the South African government’s instructions to minimise attendance at public gatherings. This does not mean that there won’t be opportunities for us to commemorate and celebrate these important occasions, or that they will go unnoticed in South Africa. Our communal love for Israel and our proud Zionism will never waver. Over the coming weeks we will be working on innovative ideas and alternate plans for these two events, and will be in touch with you in this regard.

In the meantime, we trust that community members stay healthy and safe, wash hands regularly, practice social distancing, avoid unnecessary public and social gatherings or travel, and take the necessary precautions to reduce the spread of this virus. We stand in solidarity with South Africans, Israelis and those around the world who are currently fighting this disease, and wish them Refuah Shlema.

Warm Regards

Rowan Polovin
National Chairman
South African Zionist Federation

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MONDAY 16 MARCH 15:51 Message from Cape Jewish Seniors Association

With immediate effect ALL CJSA Centres are closed.
No Outings, Twilights, Cards or activities
Our Social Workers are available to take your call.
Kindly call your CJSA Center should you require assistance:
Sea Point 0214349691
Milnerton 0215551736
Southern Suburbs 0217617960
WestCoast 0744055186
National HOTLINE 0800029999

Please also check our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/capejewishseniors for updates.

Thank you from us at CJSA

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MONDAY 16 MARCH 14:34 Message from the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre

The Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre is closed to the public.

You will appreciate that this is a fast-changing situation that we are finding ourselves and as such, we have taken the decision to postpone public programs as well as any educational programmes. This is a proactive measure taken to help limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus as our primary concern is the health and safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers.

These are strange and unprecedented times, and require flexibility and adaptability from us all. At the same time, our collective ability to support one another needs to be strengthened and affirmed.

We ask for your patience while the situation unfolds. Any changes and updates will be announced by email, on our website and through our social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

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MONDAY 16 MARCH 14:20 Message from Stanley Norrie

NOTICE: CAFÉ RITEVE – closed to the public.

On advice from public health experts, the Cape Town Jewish communal leadership have decided to close the Gardens Community Centre to the public. Café Riteve, SA Jewish Museum, The Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre and the Jacob Gitlin Library will therefore be closed until further notice. The Gardens Shul will remain open for services only. 

This is a proactive measure taken to help limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus as our primary concern is the health and safety of our visitors. 

Thank you.

Stanley Norrie
078 801 90 57
(Temporary café number)
riteve@norriecaterers.co.za

MONDAY 16 MARCH 14:15 Message from the SA Zionist Federation (Cape Council)

Dear Friends,

Due to COVID-19 and in order to follow the right procedures we will have to cancel our FILM CLUB on 29 March.

We are working on some creative alternatives so that we can still commemorate Yom HaZikaron and celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, albeit in different ways this year. We will be in touch with more information and details as soon as we have them.

Thank you for your continued understanding as we navigate our new-found circumstances.

Shalom,

Esta, Julie, Yvette, Natasha and Galya

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MONDAY 16 MARCH 09:45 Message from the Jacob Gitlin Library

Dear Borrowers
 
In light of the current widespread concerns about the Coronavirus and its potential dangers, the Jacob Gitlin Library will be closed from 16th March 2020 till further notice.  This is in line with the policy adopted by the other public spaces at the Gardens Community Centre.
 
We ask for your patience while the situation unfolds. Any changes and updates will be announced by email, and through our social media.
 
Due dates for borrowed materials will automatically be extended and NO LATE FINES will be assessed.
 
Borrowers can return materials when the Library re-opens.
 
Our highest priority at the Gitlin is the health and safety of our borrowers, staff and volunteers.
 
Should there be any urgent enquiries please call Jacqui on  jacqui@gitlinlibrary.co.za or Elaine on robaine1@gmail.com 
 
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your continued understanding and support.

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SUNDAY 15 MARCH 20:35 Message from Andries van Renssen (Executive Director) and
Matthew Gruzd (Chairman) United Herzlia Schools

Dear Parents, Colleagues and Herzlia Pupils, 
 
Some further updates for our community follow:
Again, reporting just facts – there have been no further cases of infection in our schools. The family of the parent (his wife, two children and other close contacts) who tested positive on Thursday, have tested negative. These tests were conducted yesterday and confirmed early this afternoon.

We appreciate that there is uncertainty of what to do and what is appropriate behavior in the next few weeks.

In this regard, we share the following guidelines, aligned with global best practice to stop the spread:People diagnosed with COVID-19 need to remain in isolation for at least 14 days – with repeat testing prior to discharge from isolation. Isolation at home is appropriate so long as there are no other health complications. Any close contact of a patient needs to be notified and are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. Close contacts are individuals who may have had close physical contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. If you are concerned that you might have had close contact, you should self-quarantine. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:Fever, Cough, Chills, Sore Throat, Shortness of Breath, Body Aches, Diarrhea. Should any of the contacts develop symptoms we suggest they call their local GP or the NICD hotline 0800 029 999. The school has been physically closed in order to help prevent the spread of this disease and flatten the disease curve. Please take this guidance seriously as people’s lives could depend on it. In line with the national government decision to close all schools, our schools are now planned to reopen on 20 April 2020.
 
Again, we ask parents and stakeholders to act responsibly: If you or your family feel unwell – please don’t ignore this. People returning from outside South Africa should self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of symptoms Isolate yourself at home, do not have people over, go out only if absolutely necessary and if so, avoid contact with other people. Exercise caution in planning playdates, sleepovers and attending any large gathering – if you are not comfortable with the risk, don’t do it. Elderly community members are statistically at greater risk from this virus – keep this in mind when interacting with younger members. Social distancing requires a 2m distance between people. We would further like to reiterate, how we act, influences our children and others around us. Remain kind and caring.
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SUNDAY 15 MARCH 19:32 Message from Stuart Diamond, Director Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies

This Sunday afternoon, communal leaders from across our Cape Town community met again with infectious disease, public health and medical experts to pave the way forward for the community with regards to the COVID-19 virus. At the time of this communication, 51 cases are confirmed nationally, of which 14 cases are confirmed in the Western Cape and 2 in our Jewish community.

The aim, at this stage, is to prevent further spread of the virus within our community, as well as the greater community. The decisions taken and policies implemented, are with this in mind.  Due to the unique structure of our community, the policies below, although in line with international practices, are ahead of current local benchmarks.   

Decisions have been taken to close some institutions, while limiting and enforcing strict access control at others. It is important to understand terminology, as well as guidelines. These are listed below.

The following has therefore been decided in consultation with experts and leadership of the Cape Town community:

Gatherings:

  • It has been decided to cancel communal public gatherings, including social functions and events, as well as practicing strict social distancing which requires 2m distance between people. 
  • This includes Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Quarantine and Testing:

  • If you are experiencing cold and/or flu-like symptoms, you are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 5-7 days and monitor your symptoms closely.
  • If your symptoms get worse, contact your local GP, the ER closest to you or the COVID-19 hotline at 0800 029 999. 
  • If you have had contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19, you must self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • If you have not been in direct contact with the person infected with COVID-19, you do not need to self-quarantine, unless you start to develop symptoms.
  • Anyone who has travelled internationally is strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. Should the person show any symptoms, the whole household should be quarantined.

Welfare Organisations:

  • Strict access control to The Highlands House, Glendale, Astra (Rosecourt) and Oranjia has been implemented.
  • Check the Jewish Care Cape website for further information on specific organisation contact details.

Shul Services and Events:

  • All Shul events beyond regular services have been suspended. 
  • Strict access control (as defined below) has been put in place.
  • Anyone over the age of 60, or those who have chronic illnesses, are advised not to attend Shul services.
  • Social distancing at 2 m or more will be implemented.
  • Limiting funeral attendance is recommended, in conjunction with social distancing.
  • No food to be served in Shuls.

School closure and recommendations for parents:

  • Jewish day schools nationally are closed until further notice.
  • Parents are advised to practice strict social distancing and avoid parties, play dates, sleepovers and events typically associated with school holidays.

Public spaces:

  • Closure of the following until further notice: The Cape Town Holocaust & Genocide Centre, South African Jewish Museum and the Gitlin Library.
  • All Kosher restaurants must observe strict access control (as defined below), as well as with staff members. Social distancing must be implemented.

We reiterate our previous communication (revised guidelines below) around addressing suspected cases, accessing vaccines, following travel advice and strict self-isolation and quarantine for anyone who has had contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases or are experiencing symptoms.

We recommend keeping a close eye on WHONICD and Provincial Health information. Media reports and social media reports may be inaccurate. 
 This is not a time to panic, but rather a time for action and vigilance. There is strong indication that making simple and responsible adjustments to your daily lives can help curb the spread in our community and beyond.

Sincerely,

Stuart Diamond
Executive Director
Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

Communicated in consultation with the following experts in Infectious Disease, Public Health and General Medicine;
Dr Karen Cohen
Professor Marc Cotton
Professor Emeritus Rodney Ehrlich
Dr Leon Geffen 
Dr Gary Kantor
Professor Sean Wasserman

Terminology:

Access control involves a process of strict assessment: 

  • No access to those who have travelled abroad in the last 14 days;
  • No access to anyone who has come in contact with a person testing positive or showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus;
  • No access to anyone showing cold and/or influenza-like symptoms (as below);
  • Strict hand hygiene to be implemented at entrances. 

Cold/ influenza-like symptoms are: 

  • Fever;
  • Cough;
  • Body aches,
  • Runny nose, sore throat or any upper respiratory tract infection

Vulnerable persons:

  • Over the age of 60 years;
  • Anyone with chronic disease or underlying conditions. 

Revised COVID-19 Guidelines and Protocols (as per email 13 March 2020):

  1. Education 

One of the most important aspects of containing this pandemic is education around effective personal hygiene:

  • Proper handwashing including the use of soap and water, which is as effective as hand sanitizer and washing for at least 20 seconds, ensuring thorough washing on both sides of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails.
  • Avoiding handshaking, hugging and kissing.
  • Using correct sneezing and coughing etiquette preferably using a tissue and then disposing of the tissue in the garbage and washing hands, or if not possible into the crook of your arm.
  • Masks are not advisable, with the exception of healthcare workers and those who are infected. 
  1. Self-Isolation/Quarantine

People who may have returned from international travel or in contact with a person who may be infected must `self-quarantine’for 14 days.  The family does need to isolate, unless anyone starts experiencing symptoms. This entails isolating yourself at home, going out only if absolutely essential and if so not coming into contact with people. It is especially important to employ self-quarantine processes if there is a child in the home.

  1. Basic precautionary measures 
  • Flu and pneumococcal vaccination: It is strongly advisable to be vaccinated against influenza.  
  • Food hygiene: This must be scrupulously adhered to, especially in communal settings.

4.    Local and International Travel

  • There are no restrictions at this point on local travel.
  • It is recommended to avoid non-essential international travel, especially to countries with local transmission of COVID-19. This includes many countries in Asia, USA, Europe, Israel, Australia and the UK. This is in line with the global risk of the disease and the real possibility of importing it to our country. Anyone who comes back from international travel should self-quarantine for 14 days.

5.  Communal Gatherings

If you have cold/influenza-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and /or shortness of breath and/or recently travelled to an area (or from an area) with ongoing local infection or have been in contact with someone who has, do not attend communal gatherings. Further to that,  communal public gatherings, including social functions and events are cancelled. Practicing strict social distancing which requires 2m distance between people is a must.

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SUNDAY 15 MARCH 19:01 A message from the Chief Rabbi of South Africa:

Dear Friends

At this time of great challenge we must be strong and determined. With the advent of the newly reported cases of those infected with the coronavirus in our community, there are a number of new guidelines with regards to shul and simcha gatherings that have been developed under the direction of Prof Barry Schoub, founding director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Dr Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare.

These guidelines, which have been discussed with and endorsed by the Beth Din and senior Rabbis, are not easy for us, but it so important that we work together vigilantly and without compromise to adhere to them so that we can impede the spread of the coronavirus.

New guidelines:

1. Shul services can continue as normal, but people should take all necessary precautions, such as hand-washing, etc, as per original guidelines. In addition, it is advisable to maintain safe distances (around 2m) when sitting in shul.
2. No kissing or direct touching of the Torahs or mezuzahs.
3. It is advisable that the elderly and immunocompromised not come to shul.
4. Anyone returning from overseas must go into 14-day self-quarantine. Other members of their family can come to shul, except for children under bar/batmitzvah as per schools’ guidelines. However, if a member of the family is tested as positive for having the virus, the whole family must go into quarantine.
5. Shul brochas should be cancelled until further notice.
6. Shiurim can continue, but with a safe distance between people and all the other necessary precautions taken.
7. Family simchas such as weddings and barmitzvahs can go ahead, but the attendance should be as small as possible, ideally limited to close family, with all the correct precautions taken.
8. Family members from overseas should not attend the simcha until their 14-day quarantine period is completed.
9. At simchas, there should be no physical contact between people even when dancing, and with a safe distance maintained at all times. 
10. Mikveh use can continue as normal, except for women who have the virus. Those in quarantine should contact the mikveh for special guidance on how they can use it. The Beth Din will be providing the mikvehs with instructions in this regard.

This is a very difficult situation, but let’s all pull together. The important thing is that each one of us takes personal responsibility to create the safest environment for us all. If we stand united and give each other strength, then we will be able to come through together as a community and rise to these challenges.

May Hashem bless our community, our country and our world with health and healing. 

With blessings
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

To read or download the full May issue PDF of the Chronicle, click here

To keep up to date on COVID-19 related community news, click here

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