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Adjustments made to Purim celebration as coronavirus cases increase

Posted: Updated:

Members of the Jewish community in the Bronx are making adjustments to their Purim celebration to ensure everyone still gets to celebrate despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Chabad Lubavitch in Riverdale is offering services outdoors for anyone who feels safer that way. The rabbi and members of the community are using what they call a "mitzvah tank" to make stops at local schools and hospitals to read from the Hebrew Bible.

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They also tell News 12 they are making trips to the homes of people who are quarantined in the area because of potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov tells News 12 some of the congregants of Chabad Lubavitch are students of the SAR Academy and/or SAR High School, which both closed after one student's family member, a New Rochelle man, tested positive for COVID-19.

Shemtov also tells News 12 some of the congregants took part in events at Young Israel of New Rochelle, where that New Rochelle man was a congregant, and the rabbi says they have either been asked to quarantine or are doing so on their own as a precaution.

However, the congregation is doing everything it can to still celebrate the holiday safely. "We're a family obviously if my brother or sister needs something we're going to be there for them," said Shemtov.

Shemtov tells News 12 he is in constant communication with health officials regarding the members of the Jewish community who are quarantined and that they are not aware of any confirmed cases within his congregation at this time.

He says they did have to cancel a Purim dinner Tuesday evening at the recommendation of health officials.

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