December 30, 2020

May 27, 2020

COVID-19 and Children: What to Know About Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome

What symptoms should parents be on the lookout for?

Dr. Hylton I. Lightman is a senior statesman amongst pediatricians, an internationally-recognized authority and diagnostician, a public speaker, expert witness and go-to resource for health issues in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Originally from South Africa, he earned his bachelor of medicine (MB) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He obtained a Diplomate in Child Health (DCH) and served for over two years as a physician in the South African army.

In 1984, Dr. Lightman came to the United States to pursue a fellowship in asthma and immunology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

He started his current practice, Total Family Care of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, PC in 1987. Dr. Lightman is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP).

Over the years, Dr. Lightman has served in a number of leadership roles: director of the adult allergy clinic at Louis Lasky Center, director of pediatric allergy and asthma at Queens General Hospital, and co-director of pediatric and adult outpatient allergy at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

Dr. Lightman is also a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. In addition, he is actively involved in teaching pediatric and family nurse practitioners through Pace University, Lehmann College, and Molloy College, as well as mentoring physician assistants through Touro College.

As the Medical Director and a practicing physician, Dr. Lightman has an accessible and friendly manner with parents and children alike. He holds himself and the whole practice to the highest standards of medical excellence, whether it be a simple camp physical or a child with serious symptoms. Meet Dr. Lightman’s healthcare team at Total Family Care here.

Dr. Lightman speaks English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Afrikaans.

May 6, 2020

Dear JCC friends and families:

As you know, the Governor of NY has announced that certain regions can consider reopening as of May 15th in a very staged way based upon a multitude of factors and criteria. We are watching that very closely and are in regular communication with The State and County regarding what that means for the JCC and our community. We have begun planning for a possible partial reopening in the coming weeks or months with limitations based upon social distancing requirements; always keeping the health and safety of our staff and community at the center of our decision.

Obviously, our current closure will continue through at least May 15th. Our food pantry at The SHOP remains open to provide food to those in need (please call in your order for pick up) and our remote services for clients, families and the community will continue. Please visit our website at or call us at 516-569-6733 for more information.

We look forward to being able to greet you in person in the coming months.

Stay safe and well.

Steve Bernstein
Aaron Rosenfeld
Chief Executive Officer

April 14, 2020

Dear JCC friends and families:

When we closed our facilities on March 16, 2020 we committed to review our closure status every 2 weeks.  As will be no surprise, we will be extending the closure of our facilities through at least April 30, 2020.  We continue to meet weekly with JCC Board leadership during this time to ensure our ability to continue to provide the important and essential services to our clients, customers and community.  As well, working with partners like UJA Federation of NY and Community Chest South Shore, we continue to explore additional financial supports that we can provide for our clients and families who are struggling.

While our buildings may be closed, our services remain available to the community.  Our Rina Shkolnik Kosher Food Pantry at The SHOP will continue to provide food to those in need.  We have distributed over 400 Pesach food packages and continue to provide for community members during chol hamoed. We will also be there, as always, once Pesach is over.  Our social workers continue to work remotely with our elderly and vulnerable community members. We are there for the growing number of individuals who are suddenly feeling isolated and scared.  We have created remote programs for those with special needs and topical lectures and webinars for the entire community.  Our early childhood teachers zoom everyday with their classes and provide projects and videos for the children. Our staff continues to work hard each day under challenging circumstances to make sure that our children continue to grow and learn and that no one is hungry or forgotten.

The Gural JCC is a safety net for many.  As participants in the Jewish Community Center, you all play a vital role in ensuring the wellbeing of our community.  You may participate through early childhood but your involvement and support allows us to care for an elderly holocaust survivor or a senior with dementia.  You may join us for cultural or studio arts and in doing so you help us to provide a monthly food package to a family suffering from food insecurity.  Your positive Gural JCC experience helps to uplift someone in need.  This exemplifies the true spirit of  Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze L’Ze.

We thank you for your continued support of the Gural JCC as we navigate through this challenging and ever-changing climate.

If you know someone suffering from food insecurity please have them contact The SHOP at 516-234-6020 or email For any other services please contact us at 516-569-6733.  Please click this link if you wish to make a contribution to our Emergency Fund.

Wishing you a continued Zissen Pesach – A sweet, kosher and safe Passover!

Steve Bernstein
Aaron Rosenfeld
Chief Executive Officer

March 30, 2020

The Gural JCC hosted a webinar for the community on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Critical medical updates and information presented by Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD
Assistant Rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere
Chairman Mount Sinai South Nassau
Chief, Infectious Disease and Hospital Epidemiologist

March 26, 2020

Dear JCC friends and families:

The Gural JCC, your Jewish Community Center, has continued to provide essential services to those most vulnerable in our community throughout this ever-changing Coronavirus environment. We are sure that it will come as no surprise that we will be extending our site closures at least through Passover April 16, 2020.  We will continue to  provide essential services to the community remotely and our Rina Shkolnik Kosher Food Pantry at The SHOP continues to provide food to those in need.  We are here for you and your loved ones. The S.H.O.P. can be reached directly at 516-234-6020.

We want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our outstanding JCC staff who have not skipped a beat and have been providing continuous care and service to those most in need in our community.  It is a testament to their dedication to our community.

Please contact us at 516-569-6733 or visit our Coronavirus webpage for updates and resources.  Please also consider making a donation to our Emergency Fund  to help us continue these vital services through this challenging time.

Stay safe and be well.

Steve Bernstein
Aaron Rosenfeld
Chief Executive Officer

March 18, 2020

Gural JCC Family and Friends:

This is a moment in history that will be recorded as perhaps the greatest challenge faced in the 21st century. We will as a country and community be judged by how we came together as community locally, nationally and internationally to help one another through this challenging time. This inspiring excerpt from an article in “Grown and Flown” I received from a colleague in Dallas TX is a wonderful perspective for us to internalize and share with our family and friends.

“When the Apollo 13 oxygen tank failed and the lunar module was in danger of not returning to earth, Gene Kranz, the lead flight director overheard people saying that this could be the worst disaster NASA had ever experienced—to which he is rumored to have responded, “With all due respect, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.” Imagine if we could make our response to this crisis our finest hour. Imagine if a year or two from now we looked back on this and told the stories of how we came together as a team in our community, in our state, in our nation and across the world. Your contribution to the finest hour may seem small, invisible, inconsequential—but every small act of ‘not doing’ what you were going to do, and ‘doing’ an act of kindness or support will add up exponentially. These acts can and will save lives. The Apollo 13 crew made it their finest hour by letting go of the word “I” and embracing the word “we.” And that’s the task required of us. It can only be our finest hour if we work together. You are all on the team. And we need all of you to shine in whatever way you can.”

For our part, I cannot be prouder of our incredible Gural JCC staff. In just the past 3 days, The Marion & Aaron Gural JCC has kept our food pantry open and has taken on additional clients. With the help of a few dedicated staff and volunteers we have given out almost 200 food packages to the elderly and to those most in need in our community – with another 250 going out over the next few days. Our social workers are in touch and “virtually” seeing all their clients including over 200 holocaust survivors and elderly Russian Jews. Our amazing preschool teachers have made hundreds of videos and projects for parents to share with their children, helping to maintain some continuity to their pre-school experience. We have established Zoom video programming for our single parent families and our entire community. Finally, we have established a coronavirus webpage with helpful information and resources. In the coming days we will be adding more content – providing interesting things for you and your family to do while practicing social distancing.

We continue to work together with all the area Synagogues to make sure we are meeting the needs of our community and we are extremely grateful to the area Rabbinate, Rebbitzens, the JCC Board and Staff, UJA-Federation of NY, Community Chest South Shore, our generous donors and all of those who have volunteered to deliver meals to those in need.

With your support and help this will be our community’s FINEST HOUR and we will get through this even stronger than before.

To volunteer please email To help support our efforts with a secure online donation, please click here.

Thank you. Be safe and well!

Aaron Rosenfeld, JD
Chief Executive Officer

March 15, 2020

To our Gural JCC family and friends:

As we have shared with you over the past weeks, we have been monitoring the ever-changing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation very closely. Our first and foremost consideration is the health and safety of our participants, staff, their families and our Greater Five Towns community.  After careful consideration we have made the difficult decision to suspend our programs and services at all our sites for at least 2 weeks through March 27, 2020.  Our Kosher Food Pantry at The SHOP will remain open on a modified call-in basis.

We did not come to this decision easily and know that many of you rely on our programs and services daily.  However, this is necessary to help keep our community safe and  to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are developing opportunities to engage with our participants and families from a distance and our staff will be communicating these opportunities directly with those they serve.

As I previously shared, while we practice proper “social distancing”  we must continue to come together as a community. If you would like to deliver food packages to the doorstep of someone in need or would otherwise like to contribute to ensure that those who may now be isolated know that they are not alone please contact Associate Executive Director, Stacey Feldman at  During these challenging times we must remain strong and galvanized as a community – working together to ensure the health and safety of one another – Kol Yisrael Aravim Ze L’Ze!

We will continue to keep you informed over the coming weeks.  We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well and that we join together at The Marion & Aaron Gural Jewish Community Center once again very soon.

Aaron Rosenfeld, JD
Chief Executive Officer
Steven Bernstein

Dear Friends,

The Marion & Aaron Gural JCC is committed to the health and well-being of those we serve. We understand what a difficult time this is for everyone.  While we have made the difficult decision to close many of the programs offered by the JCC, we understand the critical importance our Kosher Food Pantry is to you and our community. Therefore, The SHOP will remain open. However, in order to practice the recommended  “social distancing” the following adjustments at The S.H.O.P. are going to be implemented:

1) Please call in advance of your visit. We will take your order over the phone and have everything packed and waiting for you.

You’ll need to indicate the time you’d like to pick up and if you’d like to use the front entrance off of Maple Plaza or the entrance on Maple Avenue.

We recognize that for various reasons it might be harder for certain individuals and families to pick up. We will try and find a volunteer to deliver your packages.

2) We are not distributing clothing. All our resources are devoted to food support at this time.

We look forward to welcoming you back into The S.H.O.P. as soon as we are able to.  At this time we ask that you respect these new protocols that will allow us to continue serving our community in the best way possible.

Our hours going forward (pick-up only) are:

Tuesday 10-3
Wednesday 1-8
Thursday 10-3

Please feel free to reach out to Dalia at or 516-234-6020 with any questions.

Thank you and together we’ll get through this. We are here to help.

Aaron Rosenfeld, JD

As many of you may already know, as of Monday, March 16th, all Nassau County schools will be closed in order to control the spread of the Coronavirus. We care deeply about the students and staff in our community and, like you, we want to make the best decisions. After much consideration, at this time we will be closing the Gural JCC ECC until further notice.

We do this out of an abundance of caution particularly out of sensitivity to families and staff who have underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to complications should they become infected. We do not do this lightly as we know that school closure decisions impose hardships on families.

The Early Childhood Center teachers will be in touch via WhatsApp to provide circle time/davening, stories and the Pesach curriculum.

More details will be available shortly. Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.

Stay safe and healthy.


Melissa Wienerkur                   Barbara Harrison                       Aaron Rosenfeld JD
Early Childhood Director        Nursery School Director            CEO

March 13, 2020

Dear Friends:

I know that we all are extremely concerned about keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe in this new reality.  Please know that we continue to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation with vigilance and the utmost concern about the safety of those we serve and the entire community.  We remain in regular communication with NY State Department of Health and our local infectious disease professionals. We have increased the number of daily disinfectant cleanings at all our sites.  The goal now is to practice “social distancing” as requested by Governor Cuomo while still providing important services to our community.  This is particularly true for those over 60 with underlying health issues.

In that regard, we have suspended our Senior Adult group programming through March 20, 2020. This was not an easy decision because for many of our Seniors these weekly programs are their only social outlet.  We also recognize that social isolation in and of itself can lead to negative health outcomes.  Nevertheless, we have made this decision with their safety in mind.

This is not a time for us to panic or to relinquish our obligation to help others.  Our food pantry will remain open not only providing for those in need but also making sure that those now isolated Senior adults can receive the food they otherwise would have received at our programs.

While it may sound counterintuitive, as we practice proper “social distancing”  we must continue to come together as a community. If you would like to deliver food packages to the doorstep of someone in need or would otherwise like to contribute to ensure that those who may now be isolated know that they are not alone please contact Associate Executive Director, Stacey Feldman  at

Please feel free to contact us at 516-569-6733 if you have any questions or concerns.

Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful shabbos – Shabbat Shalom

Aaron Rosenfeld, JD

March 12, 2020

Dear Early Childhood Parents,

We know there is great concern in our community about COVID-19. We want to assure you that we are following all directives from the New York State Department of Health to keep all of our JCC Early Childhood Center population safe.

We have taken the following steps to reduce the spread of the virus:

  • Hiring additional maintenance staff to assist in our daily disinfectant routine.
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning our often touched surfaces such as door knobs, door handles and classroom toys.
  • Installing multiple Purell dispensers throughout the building
  • Engaging in regular hand washing as the children arrive at school and throughout the day.

To be safe, please reinforce with your children the same suggested preventive safety measures used to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, such as:

  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then throw the tissue away. If you do not have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your arm.
  • Wash your hands regularly using soap and hot water. Make sure to wash for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • If children are feeling sick, please keep them home from school. Allow them some time to feel better so that they do not risk infecting others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, like your cell phone.

At this time we are also asking for your cooperation in limiting siblings from entering our classrooms at pick up and drop off times.

We will remain in close contact with health officials, follow any recommendations they issue, and continue to keep you informed of any developments.


Melissa Wienerkur              Barbara Harrison                            Aaron Rosenfeld, JD
Early Childhood Director     Nursery School Director                 CEO

March 9, 2020

Dear JCC Friends & Families:

In our continued effort to keep our community informed, we offer these links to the Center for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health. These sites are updated regularly.

As you may already know, 17 people in Nassau County and a total of 142 people statewide have tested positive for Coronavirus. We are told that most who test positive have mild to no symptoms and fully recover but those who have pre-existing underlying issues and the elderly are more susceptible to have a more severe reaction.  We have linked steps you can take to protect yourself and additional information about what you need to know about COVID-19.

I want to reiterate the steps we continue to take to reduce the spread of this virus.  We have:
– Maintained regular communication with the State and local authorities;
– Consulted with infectious disease experts on best practices for our agency;
– Continued our daily disinfectant cleaning regime at all our locations including multiple cleanings daily of often touched surfaces;
– Installed multiple Purell dispensers throughout our sites;
– Our staff is engaged in regular handwashing; and
– We have asked our staff and program participants to remain at home if they have respiratory symptoms or a fever.

Most importantly, we continue to remain calm but vigilant in our effort to keep our families safe while still providing those much needed services to our community.

Remaining informed and following the guidelines for protecting yourself, handwashing and cleaning will help our community navigate this challenge as safely as possible.

I wish you and your family a healthy and happy Chag Purim Sameach!

Aaron Rosenfeld, JD

March 3, 2020

Dear JCC Friends & Families:

In an effort to keep our community informed, we wanted to share this link to the New York State Department of Health that contains current information about the Coronavirus.   As well, attached you will find other materials from the Center for Disease Control.

For our part, we have added additional sanitizer dispensers throughout our facilities and have increased the frequency of our disinfectant cleaning of often touched surfaces such as door knobs and door handles.  We have also asked any staff with respiratory symptoms to err on the side of caution and stay home.

As Governor Cuomo stated, “There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York.”   Nevertheless, we remain in communication with leading national and local health authorities as we continue to monitor the situation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Coronavirus, the New York State hotline for Coronavirus information is 1-888-364-3065.

Thank you.

Aaron Rosenfeld, JD

Links & Resources

Virtual JCC Resources
Five Towns Community COVID-19 Practical Guidelines

Center for Disease Control

New York State Department of Health

New York State hotline for Coronavirus information: 1-888-364-3065

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