Chaplaincy Commission Update

Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

March 26,2020

By now you have read the major announcement by 5 main orthodox organizations who have joined together – Agudath Israel of America, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, the Lakewood Vaad, the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America. What tremendous achdus !!! The hope is that the message is conveyed to our communities and taken seriously by those who still are not sure how devastating the Coronavirus COVID-19 can be. One thing is for sure, of how Klal Yisrael has used this challenge to bring achdus, chizuk, Torah learning, renewed strength in our tefilos and unbelievable opportunities of doing wonderful gemilus chasadim in many different ways. [...Click headline above for more...] 

NASCK COVID-19 Guidelines for Chevros Kadisha (Updated March 25, 2020)

March 25, 2020 The following are guidelines and precautions necessary to protect chevra kadisha members from possible transmission of COVID-19 as they perform a taharah. These guidelines were updated on March 25, 2020. Changes are noted in RED In light of the growing COVID-19 health crisis, and in response to questions from many chevros kadisha, NASCK is suggesting the following set of protocols be followed. These protocols are based on the best available information from the CDC at this time. NASCK has also consulted with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in NYC and other infectious disease specialists including Rabbi Dr Aaron Glatt, Hospital Epidemiologist and Chief of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau Community Hospital. Rabbi Dr Glatt also serves as the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Anshei Chesed and Assistant Rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere. In addition, these protocols were also discussed with and approved by rabbonim and poskim across the spectrum of the frum community. This information will be updated as required. ____________ There are two distinct areas of concern with regard to possible transmission of COVID-19 during the taharah process: a) Potential transmission from the body itself (whether or not the person had tested positive for coronavirus). b) Potential transmission from the chevrah members to each other because of the close proximity in which they perform a taharah. ____________ GUIDELINES NECESSARY TO PROTECT FROM POTENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE BODY OF THE NIFTER/ES: 1. Strictly follow the list of universal precautions recommended by the CDC and OSHA. These include use of:

  • Disposable gloves (Nitrile or Latex are recommended)
  • Full-length disposable gowns that cover the arms to the wrist
  • Face masks. This is now mandatory. Any surgical mask is sufficient. People with glasses who may find that some masks fog their glasses, should find a mask that allows them to breathe without fogging.
  • Face shields should be worn either attached to the mask or separately.
  • Additional personal protection equipment (PPE) is optional, including booties and head covers. If one is wearing open shoes, foot covers (booties) are mandatory.
  •  [...Click headline above for more...] 

    Chaplaincy Commission Update

    From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS. BCC
    Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
    Rabbinical Alliance of America/ Igud HaRabbonim
    917=446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

    Please read the attached important information from the Partnership Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives . US Department of Health and Human Services about COVID-19. Also the letter from Rabbi Klass, Presidium Chair RAA.  [...Click headline above for more...] 

    Chaplaincy Commission Update

    From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda ) Blank, MS, BCC
    Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
    Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
    917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

    On Tanis Esther, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Feinstein shlita offered suggestions in his Bais Medrash regarding how some of the tefilos should be said and to add extra Tehilim for Klal Yisrael and the world in general due to the situation in the world today and for a refuah shleima.  [...Click headline above for more...] 

    Chaplaincy Commission Update

    From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
    Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
    Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
    917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

    First and foremost, we always depend on the Aibershta for all of our concerns. However, we must do our hishtadlus which we are required to do and not depend on miracles. There is much fear and anxiety in the air about the Novel Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 to such a degree, in some areas it might even lead to some sort of panic. [...Click headline above for more...] 

    Chaplaincy Commission Update

    From the desk of Rabbi Leonard ( Yehuda ) Blank MS, BCC
    Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
    Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
    917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

    Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, author of many sefarim including about HaGoan, HaRAv Moshe Feinstein ztkl and is a rebbe at Yeshiva Darchei Torah, was the guest speaker for the Bais Medrash L’Torah V’Horah Kollel of MTJ Yeshiva’s melave malka this past Motzei Shabbos with HaGoan HaRav Dovid Feinstein and other chashuva rabbonim in attendance. He spoke about different aspects and examples of being maker tov and offering hakaros hatov. One such example was before Moshe Rabbainu went to Mitzrayim following the Aibershta’s request, Moshe Rabbainu first went to Yisro his father in law for permission to leave and go to Mitzrayim. He did so ,as he was grateful for whatever Yisro did for him, his wife and children. He was maker tov and conveyed his hakaros hatov appreciation to Yisro. [...Click headline above for more...] 

    Chaplaincy Commission Update

    From the desk of Rabbi Leonard ( Yehuda ) Blank MS, BCC
    Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
    Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
    917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

     
    There was once a situation in a synagogue where one person requested the window near him to be closed. Another person requested the window to be kept open. Rather than compromising and working a solution such as changing seats, or working out a compromise when the window can be closed, open, just a little and so on, they both ended up leaving the synagogue. One of the most well known role models was Aharon HaKohain Gadol who sought and brought peace, kindness and goodness amongst and between each other. [...Click headline above for more...] 

    Chaplaincy Commission Update

    From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank, MS, BCC
    Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
    Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
    917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

    So many things are going on in the world today. Some exciting, some frightening, some it can’t be true, some I cannot believe it is so. Whatever the case, we always’ say everything is minhashamayim and if you ask our Gedolim, they will say that is so and we should continue to have Emunah true faith and Btochim in the Aibershta. But, we also must do our hishtadlis. We have to do our part in doing what is best, what is correct, what is the right thing to do. For instance, dealing with medical issues, concerns and decisions – we often seek advice from the rabbi’s who we are familiar with and surely those who are knowledgeable in various areas of halacha and medical expertise. Should a rabbi not be familiar with certain medical information, he would be willing with permission of the patient or health care proxy to speak to a doctor or medical team when necessary and discuss the situation with the patient and or health care proxy.  [...Click headline above for more...]