WASHINGTON (JTA) – Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in a number of Orthodox communities in New York City and surrounding areas.
Now a federal government agency is hoping a popular Hasidic singer might be able to help to stem the tide.
Shulem Lemmer, the first Hasidic singer to sign a record deal with a major record label, announced in a tweet Wednesday that he would help the Department of Health and Human Services “bring awareness of anything Covid-19 related to the Orthodox Jewish community & beyond.”
The singer said he would interview the assistant secretary for health, Adm. Dr. Brett Giroir, with parts of their conversation on Thursday to be shared with Jewish media outlets.
I was approached by the @HHSGov to help bring awareness of anything Covid-19 related to the Orthodox Jewish community & beyond. I will be interviewing Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir @HHS_ASH. Please reply below with any questions or concerns, and we will do our utmost to address them.
— Shulem (@IamShulem) September 23, 2020
Orthodox communities in New York City and down the East Coast have struggled with rising COVID cases as the summer neared its close, making the reopening of schools and synagogues for the High Holidays difficult.
In New York City, six Orthodox neighborhoods have comprised 20% of the total new cases in the city, alarming city officials who promised an outreach campaign to community leaders and free mask distribution.