Beth Sholom leader diagnosed with the coronavirus

Students participating in the March of the Living. (Yossi Zeliger photo)

A lay leader at Toronto’s Beth Sholom Synagogue has tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19), the shul said in a statement on March 9. The lay leader, who is currently in a 14-day quarantine at home, has not been to the synagogue since his diagnosis.

As a result of the diagnosis, Beth Sholom is taking a number of precautions. It closed the building down for a sanitization procedure, and announced that the building would stay closed through Purim. The shul’s clergy, lay leadership and office staff who may have come into contact with the virus are all in voluntary self-isolation at home to prevent the possible further spread of the virus.

In other coronavirus-related news, the International March of the Living announced that this year’s trip, which is comprised of a week visiting Holocaust sites in Poland and a week in Israel over Yom ha-Atzmaut, has been postponed indefinitely.

However, the press release did make a point to say the organization was working with Poland to schedule the trip for later in the year, “with informed consideration to global health conditions and community needs.”

The organization said, because of the postponement, it would also be launching an educational campaign for youth around the world called “Never Means Never” that will teach them to combat anti-Semitism and racism.

“Our educational message, especially in the face of rising anti-Semitism, will be communicated by other means this year,” said March of the Living world chair Shmuel Rosenman in the statement. “Even if we are not able to be in Poland, we remain thoroughly committed to our values and our historic role.”