ECAJ Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

March 12th, 2020

To download this statement in PDF format, click here.

Dear Friends

With the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus around the world, including Australia, and the statement by the World Health Organisation that it constitutes a pandemic, we are deeply concerned that it is having a significant impact on many Jewish organisations and members of our community, which will probably continue for some time before the spread of the virus abates.

This is a very difficult time for all of us, including the Jewish community leadership, as we grapple with questions about holding and participating in communal events, adjusting our work routines, attending synagogue services, and sending our children to school.

At the ECAJ we have taken steps to reduce the risk of infection for our Councillors and staff by, to the extent practicable, postponing or cancelling air travel and use of public transport, conducting meetings remotely rather than in person, ordering staff who feel even mildly unwell to remain at home, rotating key staff attendance times in the office and avoiding attendances at large public events.

We stress that these are steps which the ECAJ has taken, and they may or may not be appropriate to your organisation. The situation is changing day by day, and government guidelines and recommendations are also regularly being updated.  You might find it useful to consult the Federal government website Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert, and the further links on that website.

Further information can be obtained from your State or Territory Health Department.

In terms of synagogue attendance, we refer you to the guidance issued by the Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand, and the statement from the Union for Progressive Judaism, which can be accessed below.

If there is anything that we can do to be of assistance to your organisation in these times, please be assured that we are there to help you to alleviate any difficulties that you are experiencing. We are aware that organisations in the community which are tasked with coordinating and managing security issues and other difficult situations are putting in place plans to assist the community to the extent they can. No doubt, more will become public in due course.

Our highest priority is the health and wellbeing of members of our community. Both individuals and organisations in the community have a shared responsibility to exercise reasonable caution. Any outbreak or suspected outbreak of COVID-19 within any Jewish organisation should be reported immediately to the Federal Department of Health and the relevant State or Territory Health Department, and managed by them with your full co-operation.  It would also be in the best interests of the community if your local CSG were kept fully informed. In the absence of a CSG in your region, please keep your local roof body fully informed.

In addition, Jewish organisations which are generally well-placed to handle a crisis, need to be mindful of those in our community who are highly vulnerable, including those who are elderly or infirm and live independently, including hundreds in public housing.  Our service-providing organisations may need to consider further measures they can take to assist those people with shopping, accessing services, advice and social company.

We, and all of the ECAJ staff, are thinking of you in these trying circumstances.

Please, as always, take care of yourselves and those around you.   Zeit Gezund – Be Well!



Peter Wertheim | Co-CEO
ph: 02 8353 8505 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 588