Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Living Though Covid-19

Jeff Haveson

How are you doing in this world of COVID-19?  Let us know at ahavassholomnewark@gmail.com.

We have been at this since the beginning of March, when the first New Jersey COVID-19 case was confirmed on March 2, 2020.

Two days later, on March 4th Isabela led an Adult Education Program about the COVID-19 during Kiddush.

Then, on March 9th Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency.  A day later, on March 10th we had the first person in the state to die from the disease, and schools and universities began closing and switching classes to online instruction.

Here at Ahavas Sholom, on March 14th we had our last in-person Shabbat Morning Service at 145 Broadway in Newark.

Then, a statewide curfew began on March 16th and all casinos, gyms, and movie theaters were closed.  Restaurants and bars were only allowed to remain open for delivery and takeout.

On Marth 18th we announced that all religious services, activities and events at Ahavas Sholom would be suspended until further notice.  Not skipping a beat, that afternoon Simon announced that Shabbat Morning Services were going online, and ever since, we have had 20 to 30 people on Zoom every Shabbat morning. We have also been meeting online on Saturday night for Havdalah.

As the daily number of COVID-19 cases in the state reached to 1,327 with a total of 16 deaths, Governor Murphy announced, on March 21st a statewide stay-at-home order, requiring that all non-essential businesses be closed indefinitely by 9 p.m. that day.

Like many of you, after the stay-at-home order, I have only gone out of the house to shop.

On March 31st we announced our first ever Free Online 1st and 2nd Night Community Passover Seders.  The Seders took place on the evenings of April 8th and April 9th and they were the easiest Seders to cook for.

Starting on April 10th we starting counting the Omer on Zoom. This came to an end May 28th, erev Shavuot.

On April 30th there were 118,652 total cases of the coronavirus and 7,228 deaths in New Jersey.

Then, almost two months after the stay-at-home order, on May 18th Governor Murphy unveiled a three-stage reopening strategy, beginning with stage 1. 

On May 25th George Floyd was murdered and the Black Lives Matter movement renewed its protests against police violence toward black people.  While I have been concerned about this issue, fear of COVID-19 has kept me away from the demonstrations.

Governor Murphy announced on May 26th that graduation ceremonies would be allowed to be held outdoors beginning July 6th. The ceremonies would still have to comply with social distancing guidelines. He also said, professional sports teams could also return to training and even competition if their leagues desired.

May 28th was erev Shavuot and we came together on Zoom to study.;

On June 1st Murphy announced that stage 2 of reopening would start on June 15.

June 8th New Jersey had 356 cases of COVID-19, the least number of cased for any day during the previous 2 months.

On June 9th the stay-at-home-order was lifted after Murphy announced that he would increase the limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

On June 25th New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut announced that anybody arriving in the three states from states with high rates of coronavirus would have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

As of July, New Jersey has the 5th highest number of confirmed cases in the United States.  The Garden State has now reported a total of 174,270 known cases and 15,448 deaths related to COVID-19 in the little more than four months since the state’s first case was announced March 4th.

On July 8th Governor Murphy ordered residents to begin wearing masks outdoors in public when they can’t practice social distancing.

Once one of the nation’s hardest-hit states, New Jersey has seen its number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations drop dramatically since peaking in April. On Thursday, July 9th New Jersey reported 354 new positive tests and 28 deaths attributed to the coronavirus.  Meanwhile, hospitalizations ticked up again, but the state’s transmission rate dropped slightly.

But, even though there has been a drop in COVID-19 cases we are continuing our services on Zoom.  We will even be gathering online for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  The way to keep those numbers down is to continue social distancing.

All we can do, in these very different times, is to continue to come together on Zoom as a community, for prayer, study, and other programs.

Do you have an ideas as to new things we could be doing together online.

So, what have you been doing over these weeks?  Write something and send it to ahavassholomnewark@gmail.com.