Rabbi’s positive coronavirus test has houses of worship changing protocols

Posted: Updated:

Houses of worship are changing protocols in the wake of Rabbi Reuven Fink’s coronavirus diagnosis.

The rabbi, who leads the Young Israel in New Rochelle, is under self-quarantine after he tested positive for the virus. He was in contact with the family who first contracted the illness. About 1,000 members of the synagogue are also self-isolating.

Young Israel will remain closed until at least Sunday. 

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Fink also teaches at Yeshiva University in Washington Heights. The university shared an update Friday morning that said he is “asymptomatic.”

“Rabbi Reuven Fink the Rabbi of the Young Israel of New Rochelle who tested positive and has been in self-quarantine for the virus is asymptomatic. The NYC DoH’s doctors including Dr. Don Weiss, Dr. Scott Harper and Dr. Marcelle Layton have shared with us that ‘Individuals who have been in contact with an asymptomatic person who has tested positive for COVID-19 virus do not need to be placed in quarantine.’ The students in Rabbi Fink’s classes are being informed of the DoH’s medical position and encouraged to speak with their health care providers.”

Sinai Free Synagogue in Mount Vernon called off its annual Purim celebration that was scheduled for Sunday. Rabbi Mo Barzolai says it was in everyone’s best interest.

“We decided, for safety reasons and to minimize the risk of spreading any virus, to cancel the event,” he told News 12. “This is a very serious matter.”

News 12 was also at the Church of St. Anthony in Yonkers, where the facility was cleaned with extra vigilance. In addition, they have instituted a number of new protocols to limit congregants from touching one another and spreading germs.


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