There is a lot of fear and panic right now in the community. I think a lot of it is the fear of the unknown and with new information arising all the time it just adds to the confusion. Social media, the news media, numerous information sources, this can be overwhelming

So what do we do?

Firstly, I think firstly we need to try our best to approach things with a level-head. Shops are still being cleared of toilet paper and other products on a daily basis. Our children will be seeing this and they will become nervous and react as such. Talk to them, reassure them and explain things to them. This behaviour of stockpiling just creates more problems that are not necessary and which can be avoided! We need to take a deep breath and remember we are blessed to live in a country which is working hard to deal with this pandemic.

Secondly, listen to the advice given by the appropriate authorities. Your next door neighbour or friend at shule is not the source of information. Your rabbi is not a medical professional. Sure, the advice is sometimes difficult because it challenges our religious practices. Discuss this matter with your local rabbi if you have questions. Remember that your health is the most important thing. Please do listen to the advice given, it is their for your and everyone else’s protection and safety!!

Thirdly, those who have contracted the virus are not pariahs. They are not criminals. They are not evil. They contracted a virus and need treatment like any other person who has ever had a virus. We pray that anyone who has contracted the virus have a refuah shelaima, a full and complete recovery!

Fourth, be kind. We are in this together. We are all connected. Let’s treat each other with respect, care and dignity. It’s heartbreaking to watch people fighting over toilet paper rolls. Remember there are vulnerable people in the community. Don’t forget about their needs.

Finally (and this is certainly not the least important). As a Jewish community we have always Davened when things are good and when things are not good. Take a few minutes and say some tehillim (psalms) for the welfare of all humanity at this time. Do something nice for another person. Each kind deed will certainly bring goodness into the world.

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat and weekend ahead!

Rabbi Daniel & Rebbetzin Sarah Rabin

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