Baltimore, MD  - June 29, 2020 – Below you will find an email from Rabbi Jonathan Aryeh Seidemann of Kehilath B'nai Torah Congregation advising his congregants about a case of a mispalell in shul who has tested positive for COVID-19 and a letter from Dr. Menachem Cooper to the community reminding us that the virus is still very much amongst us.

The following notice was sent yesterday from Kehilath B'nai Torah to its’ membership:

Boruch Hashem, from what we can observe, the mispalilim at KBT are continuing to be masked while attending davening and are properly spacing from one another (though members of the same household of course may continue to sit next to each other). We have so far attempted to facilitate spacing by removing the shtenders and stacking chairs, though we are constantly re-examining to ensure the best ways to continue to facilitate this.

These efforts are of vital importance. One of our members has come down with Coronavirus symptoms and has tested positive. Though he had no symptoms at all the last time he was in shul, which was Parshas Shlach, June 20, and though he was masked the entire time he was here and was the only attendee in his row, prudence and proper caution necessitate the following:

If anyone comes down with Covid symptoms, it is imperative that he get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting the results . We are looking at additional ways to ensure the proper spacing, and again thank everyone for their continued compliance with the masks.

Rabbi Jonathan Aryeh Seidemann / Kehilath B'nai Torah Congregation

The following letter from Dr. Menachem Cooper has been sent to BJL with the consent of Rabbi Seidemann.

The letter brings up several points that it is important to highlight.

The virus is not gone, it is very much around and lurking, “waiting” for us to let our guard down.

The numbers have begun to rise, albeit slowly, in communities surrounding us.

The foremost message is that the tremendous effort, with achdus, undertaken by the Rabbanim and their kehilos, has saved lives and much grief.

Isolated cases should not prevent us from taking slow steps in opening up.

An outbreak, which was avoided here by social distancing and proper masking, would make all the progress unravel, and increase anxiety.

We have an amazing community. We need to keep protecting each other. One other note: this is not the only active case reported in our community. There are a handful of cases; all seem to be isolated and controlled. The community physicians are tracking cases as much as possible. We will try to post updates regularly.

Enjoy the day and stay well and safe,

Menachem Cooper, MD