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NY SHUL ORDERED CLOSED, Jewish Man In Serious Cond; TRAVELED TO ISRAEL; Three Jewish Schools Closed [TEHILLIM NAME]

A Jewish man in Westchester County has tested positive for the coronavirus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that this appears to be the first “community spread” case of the illness in the state.

The New Rochelle man in his 50s with an underlying respiratory illness is hospitalized in serious condition at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia in Washington Heights. His name for Tehillim is אליעזר יצחק בן שפרה (Eliezer Yitzchok ben Shifra).

He recently travelled to Miami and Israel during the past few months, but possibly not during the two week incubation period.

He returned to Westchester some time ago and started showing serious symptoms last week. Officials say he had respiratory issues for the last month, became they more pronounced in the last couple of days.

He lives in New Rochelle with his family and works at a law firm in Manhattan.

He has two sons with a connection to NYC. Both sons are isolated at their home in Westchester. One is a student at SAR Academy in Riverdale but is not showing symptoms. The second student goes to Yeshiva University in NYC and is showing symptoms.

Meanwhile, the Young Israel of New Rochelle has been ordered to halt all Minyanim at the Shul.

Additionally, congregants of the Shul who attended services on February 22, and a Levaya and a bat mitzvah there on February 23 must self-quarantine until at the very earliest March 8. Those who do not self-quarantine will be mandated to by the County Department of Health to do so.

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In response, three Jewish school in New York have decided to remain closed today.

The first school to alert the parent body is “Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy”, better known by the acronym, SAR Academy. The school is located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, on West 254th Street.

SAR Academy and SAR High School said in a statement that it was a precautionary measure, following guidelines from the New York City Department of Health.

YWN has learned that the father of a student(s) in the SAR Academy is the man listed in serious condition in a Manhattan hospital.

Two additional Jewish schools then sent out emails announcing the closures, both of them located in Westchester County: Westchester Day School and Westchester Torah Academy.

Both schools in Westchester say in an email they will only be closed today (March 3rd), and it was done as a precautionary measure after consultation with the Westchester Health Department. It appears the cancellation was done after the children were already enroute to school, and the buses rerouted and took the children back to their homes.

Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement on the case saying:

“Yesterday, a New York State resident with respiratory issues was diagnosed with the Coronavirus at a New York City hospital. The patient remains hospitalized and is in serious condition. City and State disease detectives are working closely to identify close contacts and the appropriate next steps. The test was conducted by the New York City Public Health Laboratory on our first day of testing. With the results confirmed within a number of hours, we were immediately able to take next steps to stop the spread of this virus. We have said from the beginning that it is likely we will see more positive cases of the Coronavirus. We are working closely with our State and Federal partners to ensure we are taking the highest precautions to keep New Yorkers safe.”

The NYC Health Department said Tuesday that five additional COVID-19 cases are still under investigation.

Cuomo said the state is also testing two families in Buffalo who recently returned from Italy. They are being tested and are quarantined.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

16 Responses


  2. Please remember that the people who are most at risk are the generations of our parents and grandparents, our senior rebbeim and gedolim. If you are younger you will probably get only a light case, but for days before you know you have it you can pass it on to an older person who can get seriously ill with pneumonia or kidney failure, wind up in the ICU or worse. Unlike mainstream society, we cherish our elders and want to protect them.

    Do everything you can to avoid getting the virus, and if you feel the slightest bit sick, STAY HOME. This is not a gift you want to give anyone, least of all your father, mother or grandparents.

    HaShem should protect us all.

  3. pd – Actually, getting together in groups may be the last thing we want to do, because this virus is so extremely contagious. We can daven and say tehillim at home, even coordinate saying at the same time, but if your local health department says, “Stay home,” then stay home. Ask your rabbi (by phone) if you have any doubts.

    Yes, we need to daven – remember the gathering at the Kosel – and say tehillim, but we need to do it in a safe way. Keep up with what your local health department is saying and do it.

  4. According to this guy davens at the local Young Israel in New Rochelle. He has 2 kids learning in Israel. He is an attorney in Manhattan and they are questioning whether he took Metro North to work during the days leading up to him being hospitalized. He might have been at the nursing home conference in Miami a few weeks back.
    Refuah Shaleima

  5. To Meir G – I was wondering the same. Meanwhile, we are traveling from Israel to London & US for Pesach, back via Paris & expect to quarantine ourselves after we return to Israel unless it has wound down by then. In 6 weeks that is possible, But be sensible, & use hand sanitizer & disposable gloves. And yes, if you feel unwell, STAY HOME & call your local health clinic for guidance.

  6. From Rabbi Mansour (
    “earlier generations, communities would read “Pitum Ha’ketoret” when a plague struck, as this recitation has the capacity to bring an end to even the deadliest plagues. “

  7. Sad. Fear of the unknown will be keeping hundreds of people from davening with a minyan…
    How many of us did this to stop Flu from spreading to our elders??? Why not??? Oh yeh, we were yoitze
    protecting them with 25% effective flu shot…

  8. HaShem is now humbling the whole world. We now have the oppurtunity to work on Aneeviss, also on spending time with our families, at our Shabbos tables where we belong, at our dinner tables, at our Pesach tables in our own homes. We need to simply accept the R’SOlam’ decision and DAVEN!

  9. Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz gave a birchas Kohen to those who daven with a minyan 3 times a day and refrain from talking during davening. He asks the woman to light shabbos candles a few minutes earlier as Shabbos is the m’kor habrocha. Hashem should protect us.

  10. YWN is posting in ALL CAPS as if this virus will wipe out half the human race. The media-induced overreaction and panic is causing way more damage than the virus itself. It’s not much different than regular flu, so simmer the hek down and stop obsessing over it!

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