Three Programs Before Shavuos – Rosh Chodesh TODAY, Vayichan and Ohel

Three Programs Before Shavuos – Rosh Chodesh TODAY, Vayichan TODAY and Ohel WEDNESDAY

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Please see below information on three upcoming events:

  1. Igud’s Rosh Chodesh Sivan Conference today at 7pm
  2. Achdus Torah event with speakers every half hour today from 10am-3pm
  3. Ohel mental health preparation for Shavuos on Wednesday at 9pm

Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt: Covid Update and Motzei Shabbos Zoom Call

Update for May 8, 2020 plus Zoom call Motzei Shabbos

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Below is an update on the Covid situation from Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt, RAA/Igud’s Director of Halacha and Medicine Commision, dated May 22, 2020 (the situation changes day to day). He will provide a live update on Motzei Shabbos, May 23 at 9:40pm NY time

Zoom dial-in:
Meeting ID: 980 3243 6809

Password: 5TFRBM

or by phone: +1 929 205 6099 US

COVID-19 UPDATE: May 22nd

Of course, no one needs to be told that yesterday May 21st, Governor Cuomo allowed religious gatherings of up to 10 people to take place in NYS. The OU/RCA guidelines, based on our great poskim, HaRav Schachter and HaRav Willig shlita, with approval of many other gedolim including HaRav Asher Weiss and HaRav Dovid Gohen, shlita, therefore authorize the start of the 14 day “clock” to allow us to properly assess the situation and prepare for safe minyanim in a very careful manner. I look forward to discussing various aspects of this motzei Shabbos at 9:40 PM on the shul zoom, Meeting ID: 980 3243 6809; Password: 5TFRBM.

What new studies of importance were published this week?
We truly are learning more about COVID-19 every day, some confirming beliefs, some shattering them.

1) The Korean CDC published interesting findings on their patients who retested positive after being COVID-19 negative. They found absolutely no evidence that these “re-positive” cases transmitted illness. Furthermore, no virus was isolated in respiratory samples from 108 “re-positive” cases, and no person was found to be newly infected from contact with re-positive cases. This is very welcome news indeed!

2) A Mount Sinai Health System study showed > 99% of individuals recovered from COVID-19 who had mild to moderate symptoms went on to develop antibodies. The study also showed that these IgG antibodies have the potential to confer immunity and protection against reinfection. While we don’t know for certain whether having antibodies confers immunity at this point, or how long immunity would last, it is very encouraging that even people with mild illness produced antibodies.

3) A new analysis from the Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University says nearly 250,000 people in the nation’s 30 largest cities are alive today because of strict stay-at-home orders issued by local and state governments. Stay-at-home orders likely reduced the number of coronavirus deaths by 232,878 and prevented 2.1 million people from requiring hospitalization. Wow. This analysis showed what might have happened had Americans not taken the drastic social distancing steps ordered and encouraged over the last few months. We in our communities have certainly seen the evidence of this with our own eyes as boruch Hashem we successfully flattened the curve. But we must remain unbelievably vigilant that it doesn’t come back with a vengeance.

4) Latest data from the WHO estimated the COVID-19 “R0” (actually pronounced “R naught”) – the reproduction number – as 2.0 to 2.5. This means that infected individuals transmit it to 2-2.5 others on average. By contrast, the R0 for measles is 12-18, For SARS in 2003, scientists estimated the original R0 to be around 2.75, while for seasonal influenza it’s a little over 1.

5) According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, if the right side of the heart enlarges and doesn’t function correctly, it may indicate worse outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Though the reason is unknown, researchers say there could be multiple factors, including possible clots, lung damage, low blood oxygen level or heart damage.

6) The CDC May 15th updated guidelines state that the incubation period for COVID-19 extends to 14 days, with a median time of 4-5 days from exposure to symptom onset. 97.5% of persons with COVID-19 develop symptoms within 11.5 days of infection.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 vary, but most persons with COVID-19 experience the following:

  • Fever (83–99%)
  • Cough (59–82%)
  • Fatigue (44–70%)
  • Lack of appetite (40–84%)
  • Shortness of breath (31–40%)
  • Phlegm production (28–33%)
  • Muscle pain (11–35%)

7) Two immunology studies revealed that COVID-19 infected people harbor protective “T” cells that target the virus and potentially help them recover. This bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity and might allow researchers to create better vaccines.

8) And finally, who did not see the very preliminary but encouraging initial vaccine results from Moderna (a clinical stage biotechnology company funded in part by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), regarding human Interim Phase 1 Data for its mRNA Vaccine (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19.

After two doses, all 8 participants evaluated after either a 25 µg or 100 µg dose seroconverted with binding antibody levels at or above levels seen in convalescent sera. Plus, mRNA-1273 was generally safe and well tolerated.

In addition, mRNA-1273 provided full protection against viral replication in the lungs in a mouse challenge model. On May 12, the FDA granted mRNA-1273 Fast Track designation, and Moderna is finalizing the protocol for a pivotal Phase 3 study, expected to begin in July 2020.

What about summer camps?
Lost in the minyan announcement, Governor Cuomo also announced that summer school classes in NYS will only be performed on-line. He did not rule out, but he certainly did not provide any support for summer day camp or sleep away camps…

What about summer trips or vacations?
While we all want to hopefully go on a summer vacation, COVID-19 will not be taking a vacation, and that means we must follow all protocols of social distancing wherever we are. The most important thing to remember is that almost all documented COVID-19 cases are spread by person-to-person transmission, either from symptomatic or pre-symptomatic people. Any contact with people not living in your house has potential to spread COVID-19. However, vacation rental homes, condos or apartment that are properly cleaned in between users, and especially if they are not used for 24 hours between users probably pose a very low if any risk. Likewise, if recommended chlorine levels are maintained as usual, swimming pools should pose minimal risk of spreading COVID-19 to swimmers. However, contamination of the air or surfaces in these facilities is at least a theoretical concern, and one should space usage of pools so that different families do not use them directly back to back and certainly not together.

Anything new on Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome?
The NYS DOH advisory updated their case definition for Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 in individuals aged < 21 years.

  • A minimum one-day history of subjective OR objective fever; AND
  • Hospitalization; AND
  • Either:
    • One or more of the following:
      • Hypotension (low blood pressure) or shock
      • Features of severe cardiac illness
      • Other severe “end-organ” involvement


  • Two or more of the following:
    • Certain types of rashes
    • Conjunctivitis (types of pink eye)
    • New gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain);

· Certain laboratory abnormalities.

What is happening soon with Jewish life cycle events?

It is unfortunately too early to say anything new about our beautiful life cycle events which we miss so much. Certainly, people should absolutely continue to arrange, celebrate and commemorate these important events, but we must perform them in a fashion that always respects fully the law, doesn’t cause a chilul Hashem and doesn’t create hatred towards the Jewish people. Everyone should discuss these events well in advance with their Rav to make sure there are not last-minute unforeseen problems. In general, I do not recommend people making arrangements that potentially involve non-refundable deposits. May we im yertza Hashem have many brissim, pidyon habeins, bar/bas mitzvahs and weddings to celebrate with great joy and close camaraderie in the near future.

Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD


The Weekly Igud

News, divrei Torah, invitations and more…

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May 21, ’20

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Mazal Tov
• Chaplaincy Newsletter Update
• Rosh Chodesh Sivan Conference This Sunday
• Reopening Shuls
• Divrei Torah: Bamidbar
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 29 Iyar-7 Sivan
• All That Was Missed, Parts 1-4
• COVID-19 Update May 15, 2020

Please let us know about your family simchos and l”a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to rabbi.

Chaplaincy Newsletter 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 May 21,2020 There is an old cliché’ behind every husband is his wife. My mantra is my wife is my co-pilot. To me my wife has always been my co-pilot and I attribute anything of value that I have done and continues to do to my Ashis Chayil. I am therefore dedicating this article to her. May Keila Lutza bas Tziporah have a refuah shelaima. She has been my guiding light, my inspiration in so many ways. Just this week she gave me the following and with her permission I am sharing this with you. “When things look blue it helps to remember that tomorrow is another day and will be a brighter day”. We all have our challengers and have mentioned many times about emunah and btachen. But, one of the real challenges is the internal fight of “I know whatever the Aibershta does is for the best”. Yet, emotionally, how can a person face the unknown or the “what will be”and still have that emunah and btachen. Yes, we daven and can cry out to the Aibershta our Hailika Tatte. But as I mentioned in previous articles it is wise to seek the advice and brachos from our mentors, our Gedolim and if need be a counselor whether it be a social worker or a psychologist and of course the support of those who are our loved ones. Through the years, I have been zoche to know Gedolim. worked and collaborated professionally with those in the health and mental health field. In addition to my chaplaincy and other positions, I spearheaded the Manhattan Coalition on Mental Health Issues of the Elderly and was the Executive Director of the Lower Manhattan Health Care Coalition. Perhaps one day, I will share with you why she encouraged me to pursue the reasons I spearheaded and co-chaired the Manhattan Coalition on Mental Health Issues of the Elderly. Recently, I gained much insight from Dr. Norman Blumenthal who is OHEL’s Director of Trauma and Crises Response. I attribute my achievements to the Aibershta, to my co-pilot who continuously inspires me with all her own btachen, emunah and maysim tovim, family, mentors, and many colleagues in the various fields through the years. My wife discourages me from tooting my own horn, so I surely am not going to share any of my other achievements, but to say she gave me as my co-pilot a meaningful flight plan which always includes Torah, Avodah,Gemilus ,Chasadim, kindness and caring for others. Do not look at what was not accomplished, be proud, look at what was accomplished and take it from there. She continues to imbue hope even when hope might seem dismal at times for we trust in the Ribono Shel Olam. “I trust in Your loving kindness, my heart will exult in Your deliverance, I will sing to the Holy One for He has dealt kindly with me”. Psalm 13. 6 It is not uncommon for a person who is experiencing pain or discomfort -physical or otherwise to cry out to the Aibershta “why, what is happening to me, what do you want from me”. It should not be looked at as a lack of faith. We should try to have feelings and understanding what he or she is going through. Are miracles possible, can things change for the better. We hope as chaplains and as rabbis to utilize appropriate words of hope, of meaning, with proper wisdom, compassion, respect, care, and knowledge together with the holy words of our prayers to bring comfort and hope to that person. May all cholim have a refuah shelaima and everyday be filled with much kindness, goodness and comfort. Sincerely, Yehuda Blank Please take the time to read the following important informational flyers from; OHEL Children Home and Family Services TTI= Testing and Training International CAHE= Center for Allied Health Education

1 (2)1Group for Covid 19 Widows_May 26Parenting Under Quarantine_May 20

Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5780

Rosh Chodesh Sivan Conference, Sunday May 24 7:00pm on Zoom. Speakers: Rav Simcha Green, Rav Zeev Saunders, Rav Yaakov Klass

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Dear Rabbis:

Despite this ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the Rabbinical Alliance of America will continue its long-standing practice of holding a monthly conference on or near Rosh Chodesh. Therefore, to maintain a sense of normalcy and continuity, lehagdil Torah ulehaadira, we ask you all to please mark your calendars for the Rabbinical Alliance of America’s Rosh Chodesh Nisan Conference which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 24, 2020, 1 Sivan 5780, 7:00PM. Due to the current global health crisis, this conference will be streamed online and recorded at Meeting ID 915 0680 5156 Password: igud2020

At the Rosh Chodesh Sivan conference, we will be addressed by our chaver Rav Simcha Green, Director of Chidon of HaTanach (Retired), Rav Zeev Saunders, Rav of Delray Orthodox Synagogue, Delray Beach, FL as well as by our Presidium Chairman, Rabbi Yaakov Klass who will deliver the Administrative report.

Please make every effort to join this important Rosh Chodesh Sivan Igud/RAA Conference during these trying times.

Please remember to complete the Gemara you have chosen to learn for our Chai Ellul Annual Siyum HaShas.

On behalf of the Igud/RAA Presidium and of the Beth Din, I extend greetings of Torah.


Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik
Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Alliance of America


The Weekly Igud

News, divrei Torah, invitations and more…

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May 14, ’20

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Jewish Voice: Hatzolah Telethon
• 5TJT: Rav Mirocznik Appointed to Council
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• Divrei Torah: Behar-Bechukosai
• Pre-Shavuos Program Featuring Rav Reuven Feinstein
• Rabbinical Alliance of America Applauds the NYPD in Apprehending two Suspects for Tearing Off Face Masks from Jewish People
• Weighing in on Conference of Presidents Chair-elect Dianne Lob
• Torah Reading and Social Distancing
• Reopening Shuls
• How Do Rabbonim Move Forward After The Epidemic?
• RAA Executive Vice President Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik To Advise City On Reopening Schools And Synagogues
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits: 22 Iyar-29 Iyar

Please let us know about your family simchos and l”a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to rabbi.

Rav Shlomo Amar – Lag B’Omer Shiur for Igud HaRabbonim

Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem Harav Hagaon R’ Shlomo Amar shlit”a recorded a special Lag Ba’Omer shiur for Igud HaRabbonim

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Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem, Harav Hagaon R’ Shlomo Amar shlit”a, recorded a special Lag Ba’Omer shiur for Igud HaRabbonim. It is our kovod to be able to share divrei Torah from this unique Gadol BaTorah from Yerushalayim who feels a special connection with Igud HaRabbonim.

Click here to view the shiur


Reopening Communities and Shuls

As communities start thinking about when and how to reopen shuls, the following documents can help guide you through the thought process

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As communities start thinking about when and how to reopen shuls, the following documents can help guide you through the thought process, in consultation with local authorities and doctors. Attached are guidance documents from the OU and Agudah, as well as a recent teshuvah from Rav Asher Weiss urging caution and a slow pace.

OU guidance: Click here to download

Agudah guidance: Click here to download

Teshuvah from Rav Asher Weiss: Click here to download



Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt: Covid Update and Motzei Shabbos Zoom Call

Update for May 8, 2020 plus Zoom call Motzei Shabbos

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Below is an update on the Covid situation from Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt, RAA/Igud’s Director of Halacha and Medicine Commision, dated May 8, 2020 (the situation changes day to day). He will provide a live update on Motzei Shabbos, May 9 at 9:30pm NY time

Zoom dial-in:
Meeting ID: 980 3243 6809

Password: 5TFRBM

or by phone: +1 929 205 6099 US

COVID-19 UPDATE: May 8th

Several people asked me to write something again this week, so I will update items not easily available in the lay press and expand upon this Motzei Shabbos May 9th, iy”H at 9:30 PM by Zoom Conference.

BH, cases at local hospitals continue to decline, with Nassau County still seeing a 14 day decline in total COVID admissions. Hatzalah is reporting a return to pre-COVID-19 call levels across the region, and we are preparing to care for non-COVID patients in all settings (in-patient, ambulatory practices, procedural areas, endoscopy units) although pure elective surgeries are still not being performed.

The OU and the Agudah are coming out with detailed guidelines for the gradual re-opening of shuls in the near future, date undetermined. If published before Shabbos, I will discuss key aspects of these proposals Motzei Shabbos. While most people in our community have been taking social distancing extremely seriously, and are the major reason we are in the good position we are in today, I have been getting many emails and calls about a minority that have been disregarding these essential practices and have taken liberties, especially among those with recent illness who have recovered. No one within 14 days of illness onset should leave their house; they must stay in self-quarantine for at least that period of time. A physician should usually be consulted before ending such quarantine.

Finally, the Governor also outlined new safety precautions that each business must put in place upon re-opening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to:

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;

  • Enact social distancing protocols;

  • Restrict non-essential travel for employees;

  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;

  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;

  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;

  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and

  • Develop liability processes.

What is this new pediatric illness?

Unfortunately, hospitals worldwide have identified 100 cases of “Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19,” with sixty-four suspected cases in children in New York State hospitals, including New York City. Fortunately, the number of children affected is tiny (relatively speaking), and most have responded well to treatment and have been discharged.

This syndrome has features which overlap with Kawasaki Disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome. Fever, rash and abdominal symptoms may be prominent; cardiovascular problems may be seen; and a very few have developed shock and required ICU care. This inflammatory syndrome occur days to weeks after acute COVID-19 illness. Only one death worldwide was reported, and physicians have emphasized parents should not panic. However, this is a stark reminder we still have a lot to learn about COVID-19 and new findings are being discovered daily.

Anything new regarding antibodies?

Actually, lots of new information here. Highly specific antibody testing is now easily available through both LabCorp and Quest, and can be obtained at most physician offices. While it still remains unknown whether these antibodies actually neutralize the virus (i.e. if their presence protects from reinfection), a new paper suggests that not only are COVID-19 specific antibodies detected in almost all convalescing patients, but in most, these antibodies are neutralizing – meaning they should be protective! Unfortunately, it is still unknown how long this protection lasts or if mutations in the virus will make reinfection possible.

We now also know that IgG antibodies occur in 50% of patients by day 7, and 100% by day 14. More importantly, a new paper demonstrated that live virus was not detected after day 7 of symptoms. Of note, virus was detected a few days before symptoms began, and declined over the next 10 days or so.

These studies suggest that people do develop protective immunity after COVID-19. However, this was only shown for a very small number of patients; larger studies are needed. While more work is needed, these results continue to provide assurance that natural infection will confer protective immunity, and that future vaccination may be effective.

Any new tests?

We are seeing breakthroughs in point-of-care and at-home tests for diagnosing acutely if someone has COVID-19. Using CRISPR technology (usually used for editing DNA), scientists at MIT designed a rapid test that detects COVID-19 RNA. “The STOPCovid Test” takes less than an hour to perform – and can be done at the “point of care” (in a doctor’s office) or even at home! It works like a pregnancy test, and does not require any complex instrumentation. The STOPCovid kit has been validated on patient samples but is not yet FDA authorized or available in stores.

This isn’t the only CRISPR-based COVID-19 test kit being studied. The University of California San Francisco and Mammoth Biosciences also developed a kit. In a just released paper in the journal Nature Biotechnology, results were obtained in 30-45 minutes with their self-contained kit that also doesn’t require sophisticated, expensive equipment needed in currently approved COVID-19 tests.

If these are accurate, and inexpensive (some suggest price will be only $6.00), this breakthrough technology will be another simple, inexpensive, great way to detect disease early on.

Anything new about treatment?

Remdesivir is being received TODAY at hospitals with high levels of COVID-19 patients, and protocols for its use are in place at our hospital as well as other centers. Plasma therapy continues to be available because of the many people who have donated – thank you! Please continue to do so even if it does take time to get called to donate.

Finally, and maybe most interesting, synthetic antibody that could block a key COVID-19 protein from interacting with our bodies and thus prevent illness is being developed at Mount Sinai and other institutions across the world, including Israel. As convalescent plasma therapy has shown promise in treating COVID-19, the goal is to develop a similar, but targeted, artificial antibody, which will have the ability to disengage and block COVID-19 from entering cells. The goal: have a targeted antibody for the first human trials within the next 12 months, or sooner, if everything goes as planned.

Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD