- Currently, you are only at risk if you (1) are displaying symptoms; and (2) have traveled to China in the 14 days before feeling sick or have been in contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19. By and large, travel history is key.
- People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing that may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure to the virus. At this point you are more likely to catch the flu or a common cold, which both show some of the same symptoms.
- Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid contact with others.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Purim 5780 —On being a heroEsther is a hero of the Purim story—but for much of the story, she doesn’t seem at all heroic. At birth, she was given the Hebrew name “Hadassah,” and we imagine that she lived a Jewish life with her parents and Mordekhai. But before she is taken to the palace, she is told to hide her Jewish identity, and she does so without protest. She changes her name and conceals herself, blending right in with the other concubines in the royal harem. We can, perhaps, excuse her actions—but it is hard to construe them as heroic. Even after trouble arises, when Haman’s decree threatens the Jewish people, she hesitates. Mordekhai has to persuade her to intervene; it is at this point that she transforms herself into a hero. She resolves to fast, presumably to evoke God’s assistance, and she gets the community to fast with her. Only then—having renewed her relationship with God and the Jewish community—does she enter the throne room, uninvited, to make her plea. So what makes her a hero? Two things stand out. First, she knew when it was time to be bold and take action; second, she knew the importance of being connected to God and her people. Both of these qualities are as important, if not more so, today. We too need to know when our everyday way of life is inadequate to the challenge at hand, and when we need to break convention to stand up for what is right. We too need to strengthen and balance our commitments to our community and to Torah. May Esther be our inspiration when we find ourselves in those situations! Shabbat shalom and Purim sameah, Rabbi Jonathan Berger Associate Head of School for Judaic Studies and Programs Questions for the Shabbat table:
- Why do you think Esther wanted the other Jews to fast? She knew that when she walked into the throne room, she’d be all alone, whether the people fasted or not. What, in your opinion, did the fasting accomplish? (There is not just one right answer!)
- When in your life has it felt good to gather moral support for a challenge? How did it help?