OU/RCA Issues Guidelines on Reopening Shuls

Jews seen keeping distance to one another during a morning prayer in Meron, Northern Israel, during the Coronavirus outbreak, on May 01, 2020. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** שחרית תפילת בוקר יהודים בתפילת שחרית בנץ החמה במירון, זמן קורונה

NEW YORK (VINnews) – The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America are issuing the following guidelines to synagogues and communities regarding reopening.

This document presents thirteen principles that should guide the decisions and planning of synagogues and communities throughout the country. They focus primarily on the eventual reopening of communal davening. Guidance on other matters will follow. As made clear within the document, the issuance of this guidance does not imply that any reopening should be done at this point.

The situation continues to evolve and thus these recommendations and guidelines are formulated based solely on currently available information and advice. As always, shuls and communities must strictly follow the guidelines provided by local and national authorities, including the CDC and local health departments.

Read below link the full guidelines:


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    • “enough with Rabbonim.. we can make minyanim as we see fit” Correct. I like the Minyanim of the Women at the Wall with tefilin and Aliyos.

    • You guys (chusid,chasidim) making your own type of minyanim as you see fit against established Jewish Law for 200+ years. No wonder they put you in Cherem for it .

    • I agree 100% that we shall not follow the dictates of the OU or the Rabbinical Council, as we are not serfs. We will reopen our Shul, when it is safe to do so, and everyone will be seated six feet from each other, and will be wearing masks. Also, anyone whose cell phone goes off during davening, will be asked to leave immediately, without any exceptions. There will be no handshaking permitted, either. Last, no meshulachs will be permitted, as they tend to harass people who are davening.

  1. How can they be kall yisorel’s mosod when they write facts like

    “Outdoor Minyanim should also not be allowed until – at the very least – the successful and verified safe completion of the local government’s first stages of communal reopening. ”

    This against the entire Lakewood and most chasidisha rabbonim.

    They could write that outdoor minyanim must abide by the rabbonim of that town or community’s rules. But to make this fake blanket statement?


  2. Even in Lakewood the origins of the ban was “Aivah”. Loosely interpreted as “ mah yomru hagoiyim”. Goiyim meaning the local and state government. Similar to the OU statement.
    Now the Chasidim.. that’s a different story.
    “Zay zehnen duch nisht kan mentchin”. Zay zehnen chayis rooes”.

  3. I believe every community should have their own set of guidelines from the community’s Vadd Harrabanim. If the community’s Rabbonim come out and say it’s okay to have a minyan then minyamin should happen as per their guidelines.

    This statement from the OU and RCA is too much of a blanket statement.

  4. The ou has two departments. One is the hecsher in food but there is also a political dept which is lefty many times. Two different agencies. Of course there are outdoor minyanim on every block in Brooklyn and upstate. What’s the big deal. It’s with a safety space.

  5. Everyone who arranges or attends any minyan is a kofer & is holding back the geulah.
    Hashem sits in heaven crying. My children please stay home & daven for moshiach. I dont want your minyanim or anything to do with golus, just stay home!

    But we have clever frumer than god among us, they show how much they love golus, so god will just keep us in it.

    • Of course it seems impossible for OU and RCA to issue statement together with Agudah and vice versa

      they worship someone other than we worship, they have a different disease/virus than we do, they live on a different planet.

      These 2 groups have actually nothing in common with each other. Why should they come together for any reason?

    • OU says to delay minyanim till two weeks after local shelter in place or similar orders are up. Agudah does not say that, just says once legally allowed if there is a 2 week decline in cases. Agudah also has much less focus on following guidelines of doctors whereas the OU places higher priority on that.

      My 2 cents, Agudah, was late with coming out to shut down shuls which led to many more people getting sick and dying, and frankly, I would give much more deference to what the OU says now than Agudah. I feel much more confident that whatever the OU is saying is guided by experts in the medical field, whereas Agudah, not so much.

  6. The OU stands for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and they are providing guidance for Shuls that belong to their organization. As far each communitie’s Vaad HoRabbonim should decide for that community, many places across the country do not have a Vaad HoRabbonim, rather the town or place has one Shul and one Rov. That Shul is most likely an OU affiliated Shul or possibly a Young Israel. And they look to their leadership for guidance.
    As far as outdoor Minyonim, the Gedolei Rabbonim and Poskim that I directly heard from do not allow outdoor Minyonim, such as R. Asher Weiss, R. Dovid Feinstein and I heard that R. Meir Stern of Passaic do not allow them either. Probably many more Rabbonim and Poskim do not allow them and for many good reasons. Not to mention SA OC Siman 90.

    • Agreed. “As far each communitie’s Vaad HoRabbonim should decide for that community, many places across the country do not have a Vaad HoRabbonim, rather the town or place has one Shul and one Rov.” Its a real shame that until things got really bad, people here in USA, Lakewood, etc. were relying on Rav Chaim’s initial psak re not closing shuls , yeshivos, despite that his psak could only have been meant for his community. People here insisited on BLINDLY following psak for Bnei Brak which cost many lives.

  7. Hey Binyamin
    The Amshinover Rebbe,Rachmistrivka Rebbe Rav Binyomin Eisenberger Rav Eliya Bear Wachtfogel all daven with minyan and have told their flock to do so with social distancing.Your characterization of all Rabonim is far from accurate.Please know there is more than one view.
    Parenthetically Gov.Cuomo stated that 66%of all crono patients stayed at home and did not go to minyanim.
    If you want to be Adei Ad learn about the Koach of Amen …..,

    • They also were late to closing shuls and yeshiva when it was clear to anyone thinking that leaving them open was spreading this and going to cause more death. Toss around names all you want, but let them explain their earlier guidance before people listen to them now. Which doctors are they consulting with?

  8. Simeon,
    While Im sure that the Rabbonim you list are fine and wonderful people, they are not the leading Poskim for the broad spectrum of American Orthodox Jewry. And if as you say, they daven with some sort of minyan, which Ill assume they are able to arrange to be valid according to halachah and safety concerns, the overwhelming majority of American Jews are not able to participate in their, or as you put it, in ‘their flocks’ minyonim. If street or yard minyonim are encouraged and arranged all across the country, they will be arranged by local people, and not Rabbonim, and they may not adhere properly to halachic and safety guidelines. This was publicized on a public video by Rav Asher Weiss and posted on this and other websites. The Poskim I listed are providing guidance to all of klal Yisroel and they feel its better not to take chances with the many, just because it may be possible to work for a very few.
    Also, please check SA OC Siman 90 and the achronim found there, for the halachos regarding davening outside as opposed to inside.

  9. Most robbonim in boro Park Williamsburg and Monsey are davening with minyan, a few ignorant people think that our community has to follow now the guidelines of rabbanim in Flatbush or five towns or Israel, that is not the way we operate we never ask them any questions we always follow our local rabbanim, so why now do so many people feel that we have to follow the guidelines of those other rabbonim.

  10. By the way when shuls open Dr. Fouchy said, persons with obesity will not be allowed into the shul, as that is concidered a under lying health issue
    Oy vay, will be many people missing from shul

  11. “Most robbonim in boro Park Williamsburg and Monsey are davening with minyan,” Which is what they were doing before the clamp down and which cost many lives. So why not just continue to kill people…?


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