Chicago Rabbinical Council statements March-May 2020



Chicago Rabbinical Council statements March-May 2020


Letters from the Chicago Rabbinical Council on community guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic

Date Created

March 15, 2020
April 6, 2020
May 1, 2020


Chicago Rabbinical Council









extracted text

Monday, April 6, 2020
8:00 AM

Dear Chicago Community,
We have all seen the impact COVID-19 continues to have on the Jewish community locally and
abroad. We are being told that the current reality facing our fellow communities on the east
coast, may quickly become our reality as well. Based on our conversations with medical experts,
we feel the future of our community is being decided now by every one of our actions and we
must do all that we can to care for and protect each other. This is a matter of pikuach nefesh
and must be observed with all its stringencies.
Therefore, we fully endorse the updated guidelines for the community at this time. Because the
nature of our situation has changed so significantly over the last few days, anyone who was
previously issued a leniency from their Rav in regard to these takanos must ask their Rav again.
We recognize these guidelines are beyond what has been mandated by authorities, but
nonetheless feel this is what is necessary when taking into account our communal culture.
Every community is unique and therefore we are insisting that all questions be asked only to
local Rabbanim.
At times like these it is imperative that we join together as a community. We encourage you to
reach out to others and offer support in this critical time.
Baruch HaShem we are being told that our efforts are working to help slow the spread of this
virus. We ask that everyone continue being vigilant and safe.
Wishing a refuah shleima to all cholei yisroel and may we all have a chag kasher v’sameach.
Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst

Rabbi Yona Reiss

Rabbi Zev Cohen

Rabbi Dovid Zucker

Rabbi Leonard Matanky

Rabbi Shmuel Y. Levin

Rabbi Boruch Hertz

On Behalf of the Rabbanim of Chicago
Jeffrey A. Grinblatt, M.D.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.

David B. Marmor, M.D.

Boruch Zucker, M.D.

A special hotline has been established to address the many needs of community members. The
Chicago Jewish COVID-19 Hotline can be contacted at (224) 534-9867.

Medical Guidelines for the Jewish Community of Chicago
Monday, April 6, 2020 8:00 AM
1. Every family and individual should be sheltered in place.
a. Walks outside should be only a short distance from one’s residence.
b. Travel away from one’s home should not include children and should be only for
essential needs.
c. If essential travel includes places where there are other people, one must observe all
standard rules of social distancing and must wear masks (anyone without a mask is
encouraged to use a scarf or other cloth material).
d. Children outside their home should not be “playing” with neighboring families. No one is
permitted to utilize playgrounds. These rules are especially important as the weather
begins to improve.
2. We understand the emotional significance around Pesach and we remind the members of our
community to please adhere to the necessary safety measures.
a. Absolutely no one should be traveling in or out of our city for Pesach.
b. No families or individuals, not currently living with each other, should gather in any
c. Therefore, sedorim and yuntif meals must consist only of immediate family members
that have been residing together for the two weeks prior to Pesach.
3. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to have definitive knowledge of the virus and its
lasting effects, therefore, if someone is currently confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 they
must remain at home and in isolation until given clearance by their medical professional.
a. Anyone in contact with someone who has/or is suspected of having COVID-19 must
immediately quarantine themselves. They are not permitted to leave their homes, EVEN
for essential needs.
b. After an individual has contracted the virus and recovered, they are NOT necessarily
immune and must therefore still adhere to all general guidelines, including the need to
wear a mask and not gather with other people.
c. Individuals quarantined must remain in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days from their
last exposure.
d. The following are scenarios of when an individual may leave isolation/quarantine:
i. Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 must remain in isolation for a
minimum of 7 days from when they first experienced symptoms and 3 days
from when the symptoms ended. (For example, if they were to experience
symptoms for 5 days, they would remain in isolation for total of 8 days.)
ii. If someone was in self quarantine (for example, for having been in direct
contact with someone who had tested positive) and began to experience
symptoms, they must assume they have COVID-19 and begin isolation. In such a
case where they are presumed to have COVID-19 and have not been tested
positive, regardless of when they stop experiencing symptoms they should not
be leaving their home for essential needs before the end of the originally
planned 14-day quarantine.