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April 1, 2020

Dear Temple Sinai Family & Friends, 

Last night we gathered over 30 doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and others for an open, honest conversation about what they’re seeing and experiencing on the front lines of this pandemic. I’m grateful for their honesty, for their courage, and for the sacrifices they make for us every day.

Like you, I have always been in awe of the healers among us, of their vast encyclopedic knowledge of the human body and illness and of their capacity to restore health, and today, they face very real dangers. Here’s what I learned from our discussion:

It’s worse than we know.
Everyone on our call shared that local hospitals and practices are dominated by Coronavirus cases. They are overwhelming emergency rooms, ICU units and entire floors of hospitals, and the number of cases is growing exponentially. One prominent doctor on our call shared that he and his team are preparing for the day they may have to decide who gets a ventilator and who does not. Another shared that her hospital is now a “Coronavirus hospital.” Others discussed the risks to healthcare providers, especially the nurses and PAs who labor so closely to patients all day long.

When they aren’t with patients, they continue to learn.
Everyone on the call was exhausted. Already long days have become longer. Yet, they all scour medical literature and keep abreast of trials and experiments all over the world, assessing their efficacy for their own practices. Everyone is humbly doing everything in their power to both limit the risks of infection and minimize the consequences of infection, for themselves, for their colleagues, and for their patients. And, what was clear is that we are at the beginning of our understanding of this virus.

There is no Coronavirus demographic; it attacks everybody.
In one hospital, the newest patient on a respirator is a man in his 30’s. Young and old—otherwise healthy and compromised—all are at risk.

When I asked what I should share with you, they said this:
Please, please, please, take social distancing seriously. Each spoke of patients who asked for permission to go to that one event. I must say that I have heard the same sentiments from some in our own community. Our healthcare providers are begging for us to listen; they all said that the only way to stem the avalanche of infection, illness, and death is for us to stay away from each other - really, seriously, and completely - or else we will be carriers of this virus and place ourselves and others at serious risk.

God knows we owe them our deepest gratitude.
Entering a hospital today is akin to entering combat. Our healthcare providers are heroes and angels. After the call, I thought of the medieval sage, Maimonides, and his Prayer for Physicians, which in part reads:

May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.

Grant me the strength, time, and opportunity always to correct what I have acquired, always to extend its domain; for knowledge is immense and the spirit of man can extend indefinitely to enrich itself daily with new requirements…

Oh, God, You have appointed me to watch over the life and death of Your creatures; here am I ready for my vocation and now I turn unto my calling.

Still, I am very hopeful.
True, the sentiments our call participants expressed were dire and alarming but in every comment, I was humbled and awed by the expertise, the single-minded determination to heal, by the brilliance and the sacrifice. I left our call confident that we will be victorious and conquer this virus. Thank God for our healthcare providers. May we do our part so together we find our way to recovery and good health.


Rabbi Michael A. White

COVID-19 Response Plan

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Today's Message and Music from Rabbi Michael White
and Cantors Sergei and Elena Schwartz:
Yih'u L'Ratzon - March 23, 2020

Watch a Message from Rabbi Michael A. White

Listen to Our Clergy's Inspirational Prayer



Dear Temple Sinai Family & Friends,

In these disorienting days confronting COVID-19, we at Temple Sinai are working diligently to live up to our Jewish responsibility to create as safe an environment as possible for our community. Facing an unprecedented modern public health crisis, we must adjust our regular operations. We need to take all reasonable steps to contain the spread of this disease. There is no Jewish value more important to us than Pikuach Nefesh, to save a life. Therefore, at this time we have made the difficult decision to suspend almost all physical gatherings, and to nurture our connections through virtual platforms.

Until further notice, our building will be closed. This decision reflects our intent to “flatten the curve” and to be responsible for one another, our neighbors and our fellow citizens. It is our goal, as our sages teach, to go lifnim m’shurat ha-din, beyond the requirements, and to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Our actions reflect social distancing, and aim to restrict gatherings where the virus may be shared.

This approach is in keeping with a growing number of faith communities and other public venues, and is consistent with the advice from a broad range of experts and health officials.

  • Friday night Shabbat services will only be virtual; we will not gather in person. A link to the virtual service can be found here.
  • Saturday Morning Minyan will meet virtually via Zoom. Click this link for information on how to join.
  • Clergy appointments and tutoring will take place virtually, using video conferencing or telephone. Our clergy and administrative staff will reach out to you directly with more information.
  • All Adult Engagement programs are cancelled or postponed. Adrianne Rubin, Director of Adult Engagement, will provide information on rescheduling as it is determined. Please click here for a schedule of virtual classes being offered by our clergy.
  • Second Night Seder is cancelled. Refunds will be processed shortly.
  • FOF Intergenerational Women’s Seder is now virtual. To participate, click here.
  • Religious School will be closed, in alliance with then Roslyn School District’s protocols. Cantor-Educator Elena Schwartz will provide Information on makeup days shortly. 
  • Nursery School will be closed until March 27. Lindsay Dayan, Nursery School Director, has provided detailed information to Nursery School families. Sharing Shabbat will be held every Friday afternoon. Click this link to find out how to join.
  • Teen Programs will be modified to meet virtually. Lulu Belferder, Director of Youth Engagement, has provided detailed information directly to Teen Programs families.

Even as we face the challenge of limited physical contact, we want to emphasize that you are not alone, and our clergy remain available to care for you. As we find new ways to enhance our virtual gathering spaces, we remain committed to supporting you and this community. While the offices are closed, our staff will still be working remotely during business hours. If you need to be in touch with us more immediately than by email, please call our main line 516.621.6800 and someone will get back to you shortly.

Lastly, if you or a loved one tests positive, please do let us know. We are in this together.

With love and blessings for health,

Rabbi Michael White

Cantor Sergei Schwartz

Rabbi Ilana Schachter

Cantor-Educator Elena Schwartz

Michelle Golden
Temple President

Alison Stamm
Executive Director

Fri, June 25 2021 15 Tammuz 5781