Camp Fallout Continues

Last Friday’s disastrous decision by Governor Cuomo and his Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to not allow overnight camps to open continues to reverberate. Camps are now contemplating their next moves, whether to open in neighboring states, convert to day camp only, or consider other options.

Immediately after the decision Agudath Israel issued a strong and powerful statement decrying this decision.

Most of the media outlets are covering this story extensively. Ami Magazine , Mishpacha Magazine and Hamodia have all devoted stories this week detailing the extensive but ultimately unsuccessful lobbying effort to open camps and the fallout from the decision.

Agudah Live will be dedicating their next show to this topic. I will be on, along with Rabbi Shlomo Pfeiffer Director of Camp Romimu, with hosts Rabbi Avi Schnall and Rabbi Shai Markowitz. To view and listen here

Hospitals Now Open for Visiting

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that hospitals and group homes will be allowed to accept visitors at their discretion. Any facility that chooses to allow visitors must follow state guidelines, including time-limited visits and requiring visitors to wear PPE and be subject to symptom and temperature checks. The hospital visitation program expands on a pilot program that was launched in May, after an extensive lobbying effort by a number of groups including Agudath Israel. Hospitals statewide will now be able to provide visitation. Group homes certified by the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will be allowed to accept visitors beginning Friday provided they adhere to state guidance and certify compliance to OPWDD prior to commencing visitation. The prohibition on nursing home visitors remains in place as the state Department of Health continues to review.

Primary Day

Tuesday June 23rd is Primary Day across New York State. There will be primaries for Congressional, State Senate and Assembly seats as well as delegates to the presidential nominating conventions. Early voting period is from June 13th to June 21st.

This year there will be a major change in how New Yorkers vote. Under an executive order, to help prevent the community spread of COVID-19, all registered, eligible voters may apply to vote by Absentee Ballot.

With the coronavirus pandemic and absentee balloting, it is unclear how turnout will be this year. It is thus of crucial importance that our community vote in large numbers to ensure our votes have an impact. Now, more than ever, as we begin emerging from the pandemic, it is crucial that our voices be heard in big numbers. Events of the last few months have impacted us in a major way. Government officials must know that our community has a voice and is willing to use it to stand up for our rights. Decisions at the highest level of government are often based upon which communities make their voices heard.

And so, we implore you to make sure each and every one of us makes time to vote, whether by day of or absentee. If you vote absentee, please make sure to mail your ballot by June 23rd. If you are voting in person please click here to find your poll site.

The future of our communities, our children, our yeshivas, and the freedom to practice our way of life may be at stake.