Your city is showing leadership during this COVID-19 crisis
The campaign for snowbirds to self-isolate ramps up; council requests state of emergency extension

News of South Florida rabbi with COVID-19 should set off alarm bells for Snowbirds

Important Update: It appears that another Bal Harbour rabbi has tested  presumptive positive: Rabbi Moshe Gruenstein from The  Young Israel Congregation  Further to this, I am told that here too many of our residents are members. See this Miami Herald story.


As hundreds of snowbirds return home to Côte Saint-Luc and Hampstead, extremely alarming news comes our way that the rabbi of one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in Miami-Dade County, Shul of Bal Harbour, has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

Reports say that Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar, the founder and spiritual leader of the synagogue on Collins Ave. in Surfside,  was “exhibiting mild symptoms and was self-isolating.”

The town's mayor said Lipskar “is not only the rabbi of our synagogue, but he is a Bal Harbour resident, a pillar of our community, a spiritual leader to many, the chaplain of our police department, a neighbor and a close friend.”

The shul has about 700 family memberships, representing about 3,000 people, and many are Côte Saint-Luc and Hampstead snowbirds. I have already fielded many worrisome calls from members of local synagogues.

Rabbi Lipskar

“If you have been in ‘close contact’ with Rabbi Lipskar in the past 14 days, please self-isolate in your homes with your nuclear family only, for a period of 14 days,”  Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman said. He added that Bal Harbour residents might soon be contacted by state and federal health officials “to direct those who may have been in close contact with the Rabbi to seek medical attention and testing.”

This is another example of why ALL of our snowbirds must self-isolate the moment they return. Do not go to the grocery store or a common laundry room. Have family or friends bring you groceries. Any one of you can become a super spreader.  Said one synagogue congregant: "I  know a snowbird who came back and agreed to self-isolate and then someone saw him at the grocery  store," he told me. "He was asked why he did not stay at home. The man responded that he only wanted to pick up one item and he did not see the harm. Some people just do not get this!"

Rabbi Lipskar, who is in his 70s, said he was diagnosed at the University of Miami and that his only symptom was fever. After the 14 day period he may be cleared.

If you know any returning snowbird who may have set foot in that shul before returning home, please warn them and others!

Beth Chabad Concerns

Meanwhile, we have been informed that someone who has frequented Beth Chabad on Kildare is suspected of having COVID-19. He was tested yesterday and the shul is now closed. Services are taking place outdoors. As a result of our declaration of a state of emergency, gatherings of more than 10 people in our community are now prohibited. Everyone needs to rethink how their Passover seders will take place.



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Vita Brody

Everyone who was in contact with the shul and person from the chabad should be tested as soon as possible.

Murray Levine

If people don’t self isolate Paperman’s will be busier than they have ever been 😢

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