BNEI BRAK (VINnews) — As reported previously, Bnei Brak is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel, with one out of every three people being tested there for COVID-19 emerging positive. So far there are more than 700 verified cases in the city of 200,000 but the numbers are still rising due to the congestion (Bnei Brak is the most densely populated area in Israel) and the lack of social distancing in shuls when they were still open.
Originally it was the health ministry recommending social distancing of 2 meters, then they said that this was not enough since the shuls themselves were contaminated with the virus. At that point the Gedolim already ruled to daven outside the shuls and to comply with health ministry regulations, although schools remained open. After ministry officials declared that any minyan even outdoors represented a danger of infection, the Gedolim ruled that each person must daven alone and learn alone. Rabbi Chaim Kanievski said that people who daven together can be reported to authorities and Rabbi Gershon Edelstein said that anyone davening in a minyan is a sinner. Even the Edah Chareidis stressed that health ministry rules must be strictly obeyed.
Despite the unequivocal nature of these statements and the clear evidence of a connection between congregation and infection, there are still people who try to use shuls. Jerusalem Faction members tried to use their shul in Bnei Brak, forcing police to intervene and seal it shut. When will they get it- there’s no mitzvah to endanger lives for minyan!
דלתות בית הכנסת של הפלג הירושלמי בבני ברק, מרותכות ונאטמות על ידי העירייה לאחר שבמקום נערכו מנייני תפילה בניגוד לחוק pic.twitter.com/9Xs0Zv5RIN
— אלי שלזינגר Eli Shlezinger (@EliShlezinger) April 1, 2020