Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.
Editor's Note: Given the rapidly evolving nature of the spread of coronavirus, this post is now outdated. For more updated information and resources on this topic, see "How Reform Congregations are Coping with COVID-19 (and Tools to Help)," which is being continually updated as additional resources and expert recommendations become available.
As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world, our Jewish communities are understandably on high alert, with questions about what the virus is, how it spreads, and how we can prepare for the possibility of its impact on our communities.
At the URJ, our chief concern is for the safety, health, and wellbeing of everyone in our communities, we're committed to continuing to update you on what we know, what we’re doing, and what we suggest to congregations at this moment in time and going forward.
Our URJ leadership is and will remain in close communication with leading public health officials and medical authorities both in North America and abroad. We have created a staff task force specifically to address concerns about coronavirus, and we are taking recommendations from advisors who are subject matter experts in this field. We are committed to ensuring that any programs run by the URJ are safe for participants, and we also want to issue guidance to our congregations and communities.
Of course, the situation is rapidly evolving, changing not just day to day but hour or hour. We remain closely attuned to developments as we monitor the ongoing situation, and as it continues to evolve, so too will our response to it. We will continue to communicate with you, our congregational leadership, to provide updates as they become available.
Below is an list of resources and information that can help you start to prioritize your community’s health and safety.
You can encourage other congregational leaders to stay in-the-know, too, by urging them stay in touch in The Tent and in discussion groups related to their own roles and positions (i.e. CCAR, ACC, NATA, ARJE, ECE-RJ, PEP-RJ, etc.).
Begin to think about who needs to be involved in decisions at your congregation regarding coronavirus response, then begin to consider, as a group, the questions and action items below. For a more comprehensive list, see "URJ Guidance for Congregations Regarding Coronavirus Outbreak," available in The Tent.
Thanks to our partners at the ACC, ARJE, ECE-RJ, CCAR, NATA for helping to compile these questions.
Even as you begin behind-the-scenes discussions and preparations for the possibility of coronavirus-related implications on your community, it’s vital that we, as Jewish leaders, continue to reassure congregants and community members that we are here for them in times of crisis and that their health and safety is our chief concern.
You may find these pastoral and prayer resources to be helpful:
As Rabbi Kunin writes from Tokyo, “May the Holy One send healing to all those that are afflicted, and may this disease soon vanish from the earth.”