The nation's Jewish communities are on high alert this week after the Bush administration upgraded the country to "orange alert" (the second-highest warning) in response to potential terrorist attacks by al Qaeda in the United States.
In New York, the Jewish Community Relations Council warned several thousand area synagogues, Jewish schools, community centers and hospitals to upgrade security for their buildings' ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems in case of a chemical or biological attack by the Islamic terrorists.
Satmar chasidim make a pilgrimage to Williamsburg every Shavuot to celebrate the holiday with their rebbe, Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum.
This week, unexpectedly, they also mourned with him.
The rebbe's brick house in the Brooklyn neighborhood, down the street from the main Satmar synagogue, was a shiva house following the deaths in a two-alarm fire of his granddaughter, Sarah Blima Halberstam, 20, and her 5-month-old daughter, Chaya Esther.
Jewish community organizations have been posting up-to-the-minute information about the swine flu epidemic this week, and as of Monday there were no known cases of the virus reported by any Jewish school or institution.
As word of the outbreak spread last week the Secure Community Network sent out a memo and materials Monday provided by the Centers for Disease Control to hundreds of Jewish institutions, including federations and Jewish community centers. SCN has an existing partnership with the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security.