John J. Farmer, Jr., director of Rutgers’ Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience, is available to discuss best practices for faith communities as they adjust holy holiday celebrations to comply with Centers for Disease Control social distancing guidelines.

“As three of the world’s major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – prepare to observe their High Holy Days in the next few weeks, it is crucial for practitioners of all faiths to adapt their rituals to the new reality posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Farmer said. “Faith communities should channel their faith, and the entire congregation, into practicing a love for one another in the form of social distancing to protect all. Our actions directly impact life and death for all our brothers and sisters.”

Ahead of the holidays, the Miller Center released "Resilience: During the High Holy Days of April & May" for faith-based organizations facing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic during the upcoming High Holy Days. The document follows the Miller Center's guidance “Resilience” and initial interim guidance “Plan, Respond, Mitigate.

Farmer is the director of Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics, and has led the Miller Center since its inception as Rutgers’ Faith-Based Communities Security Program in 2015. He has vast experience in emergency management and response as well as analyzing how local, state and federal governments coordinate emergency responses. Farmer led the 9/11 Commission's team in evaluating the national emergency response.

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