Lawrence-bassed Achiezer has been in high gear throughout the coronavirus crisis, providing information, coordination and support in countless areas.
With Passover near and both health and religious authorities telling people to stay home (and that everyone should forget about hosting or traveling to a large Seder), there’s an immediate crisis in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway communities that Achiezer serves: How to shop for Passover essentials.
Dozens of syngogues are taking part in an Achiezer initiative to facilitate shopping on behalf of those who are quarantined, elderly, immunocompromised or otherwise home-bound.
“We will be organizing a team of volunteers from our shul who will be shopping and delivering for shul members who are currently home-bound,” Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere told its members in an email on March 24, suggesting a variety of volunteer slots and advising members who need to be shopped for how to send their requests. Achiezer outlined the effort in its March 23 email.
In the best of years, Passover grocery shopping might best be left to the adventurous. But this year, with many Long Islanders who planned to travel for the holiday compelled to make seders at home, navigating the stores can be especially challenging (and entirely out of bounds for those told to stay home).
“Gourmet Glatt’s normative delivery order slots are 100 percent booked for the foreseeable future,” Aish Kodesh wrote, “hence, the immediate need to implement this new system.”
The message told those who need shopping assistance, “While we do not ask anyone to diminish their Simchas Yom Tov, perhaps, consider a somewhat simplified grocery order for this year’s Yom Tov, in an effort to make the volunteers’ efforts as simple as possible. Remember, the same volunteers will be shopping and delivering for many families.”
The shuls are recruiting volunteers who are free of any coronavirus symptoms and have not been in contact with confirmed cases or people who have been feeling ill.
In other communications this week, Achiezer reminded that “everyone must practice ‘social distancing’ to the greatest degree possible.”
“There are thousands of people walking around who are sources of infection even though they are not symptomatic,” Achiezer said in the Monday email. “This is even more important for children and teenagers who may not develop symptoms at all yet are capable of transmitting the virus to others for weeks.
“Children of different families may not play together and teenagers cannot get together. We implore you and your families to not take lightly the precautions that are needed to slow the spread of the virus so that it does not infect elderly or immunocompromised people or those with underlying medical conditions.
“Do not go anywhere where you will see other people unless absolutely necessary (solitary walks outside or time in your own backyard is acceptable).”
Quarantined people should remember that those who are cleared from quarantine — a decision that “must be made only with the approval of a doctor” — “continue to act with the awareness that they may still be able to pass the virus to others for several weeks” and that “leaving quarantine prematurely can have dire consequences,” Achiezer said.
The organization, a community resource center whose slogan is “One Community One Resource,” said “we continuously implore the elderly and immunocompromised population to remain at home, at all costs.”
Also this week, Achiezer announced that it was launching a community-wide fund to assist community members whose paychecks have been cut because of the crisis. The organization was also facilitating assistance with mental health and numerous other issues.
To obtain up-to-date information, visit Achiezer.org.