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COVID mitigation at the SJE conference

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

We are very much looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks! Please read this message to the end.

In order to keep the conference as safe and accessible as possible we are implementing the following policies for our upcoming conference. Public health professionals have provided us with a baseline, but we are deciding to implement additional precautions because of a concern for our community. These policies were constructed in consultation with health professionals and disabled and immuno-compromised individuals.

These Covid mitigation requirements are undoubtedly an inconvenience for you, and represent a troublesome reminder of the fact that the pandemic is still going on. While changed in severity for many, Covid-19 is still of sufficient seriousness to make these still justified, for these reasons: first, we do not have an accurate picture of the true extent of Covid in 2023. Testing is much less widespread, and less convenient (while the US government sends a limited number of rapid tests, at long intervals, to those who request them, rapid tests are no longer covered by insurance); the new vaccines are not being made widely or easily available; and employers have largely abandoned masking, filtration, and work-from-home accommodations, which would reduce Covid transmission. The US Centers for Disease Control is providing less data to the public and collecting less. At the same time, our SJE community still includes those at risk of poor outcomes from Covid, and we still have a responsibility to them – and not just them, but those who are affected by our conferencing, including friends, loved ones, and hotel and other service employees. Thank you for considering them.

SJE Masking and Testing Guidance:


We are so glad we are gathered together this year, and we appreciate your contribution to keeping our communities healthy. With that in mind we’ve provided some guidance for your participation at the conference.

Masking is required at all SJE functions in Chicago, except meals.


How to wear a mask:

Your mask should go over your nose and mouth. It should form a firm seal around your mouth and nose, with no gapping or air escaping; otherwise the purpose of a mask is defeated. You should also pinch the nose wire so it conforms to the bridge of your nose.


We’re providing two different styles of n95 in the hopes that we can get a good fit for the broadest range of you.




You must show photographic proof of a negative rapid test from the day you arrive in order to receive your badge. If you don’t have a picture, we’ll have some rapid tests available for you to take at the registration desk.


For the rest of the conference, we won’t require a photo, especially out of respect for differing Shabbat practice, but we do expect and trust that you will be testing every morning and will not join us if you test positive.


We’re providing you with enough rapid tests for you to test every morning of the conference and within an hour of gathering for Shabbat dinner and Shabbat lunch.  This is part of how we can meet, and especially how we can eat indoors together, as safely and equitably as possible.


Shabbat dinner is on Friday at 6:30 pm. Test after 5:30 pm.

Shabbat lunch is on Saturday at 12:00pm. Test after 11:00 am




In addition to requiring a negative rapid test within an hour of gathering for communal meals, we will also be running portable HEPA filters in the rooms we’re eating in.


That being said, we recognize that this may still be insufficient caution for some of our attendees, which we consider entirely reasonable. Along these lines, there will be options for take-away boxes at both Shabbat evening dinner and Shabbat lunch.


What to do If You Test Positive:


If you test positive before traveling to Chicago, please do NOT board your transportation. 


If you test positive while in Chicago:

1.     Do not attend any further SJE events. We will be sorry to miss you, but we will be even sorrier if the conference becomes a spreader event.

2.     Quarantine in your room until you’re testing negative again, (you may have to arrange this with the hotel).

3.     Be in touch with someone from the conference if you need something from outside. We will be happy to pick up food, medications, or other things you need and leave them by your door.

4.     If you need to visit an urgent care provider, the providers nearest the Palmer House Hotel are:


a.     Advocate Clinic at Walgreens

 79 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603


151 N State St Fl 1st, Chicago, IL 60601

(800) 323-8622


b.     Michigan Avenue Immediate Care

180 N Michigan Ave Suite 1605, Chicago, IL 60601

(312) 201-1234


c.     Physicians Immediate Care

825 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 566-9510


5.     If you must leave your room, do so only wearing a well fitted n95-or-better mask. Also answer your door wearing such a mask.


Thank you for your cooperation. We are looking forward to conferencing together!

Rebecca Epstein-Levi Aryeh Cohen

Zachary Berger, MD President, SJE

SJE COVID committee

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This is wonderful, thank you.

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