Quotes attributed to Rabbi Reuben Poupko have unfortunately left an impression that segments of the Jewish community have flouted Public Health COVID-19 directives, resulting in problematic spikes in infection rates. That impression was neither intended by Rabbi Poupko nor an accurate reflection of the comportment of the Jewish community. While Rabbi Poupko's intent was to suggest that COVID-19 respects no racial, ethnic, or communal boundaries, the presentation of his comments may have led readers to the opposite conclusion.
This is most regrettable and CIJA, along with its principal stakeholder Federation CJA, categorically rejects any suggestion that specific segments of the Jewish community serve as super-spreaders of the COVID-19 virus. Efforts to correct the misleading comments in the Montreal Gazette article are currently underway.
Any analysis of the infection rates and patterns of spread indicates that neither the Sephardic component of the community nor the Chabad sub-section of the Chassidic community has experienced a disproportionate rate of infection.
As confirmed by Montreal's Public Health Director, Mylene Drouin, the Jewish community has been completely responsive to Public Health directives and has cooperated fully with protocols established to combat the epidemic. CIJA and Federation CJA will continue to engage with Public Health officials in the sustained effort to combat and overcome the COVID-19 health challenge and support those impacted by the effects of the pandemic.
"My singular intent in speaking to the Gazette, as it always is, was to defend the honour and the standing of our Jewish community in all of its rich diversity, and not to stigmatize the Sephardim, Chabad or any part of our community in any way. It is clear that the exact opposite happened, and I deeply regret that outcome."
Rabbi Reuben Poupko, Co-Chair, CIJA-Québec
President, Federation CJA
Chief Executive Officer, Federation CJA
Rabbi Reuben Poupko
Vice President, CIJA-Québec