Prayer Services Get The OK In New York, But Some Orthodox Rabbis Say To Wait

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Orthodox men pray on the street in Brooklyn. (Braulio Jatar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) – Despite Wednesday’s announcement that New York state will now allow religious services to resume with up to 10 people, some Orthodox rabbis are saying not so fast.

A group of 27 Orthodox rabbis on suburban Long Island announced last night that they will not immediately resume in-person services.

“Please continue to show the patience and respect that has enabled us to get to this point and continue to maintain proper social distancing,” the rabbis wrote in an email distributed to at least one of the rabbi’s synagogues. “We anticipate being able to start Minyanim in the very near future, and we look forward to sending out that information when appropriate.”

The announcement comes on the heels of tensions in Orthodox communities on Long Island and across the country over when and how to resume services as infection rates drop and the country reopens. While some rabbis in the haredi parts of the Orthodox community have allowed services to resume outdoors in recent weeks, many Modern Orthodox rabbis have continued to discourage them.

The decision by the Long Island rabbis is in line with guidance that the Orthodox Union, an organization representing mostly Modern Orthodox synagogues, offered earlier this month cautioning that services should not resume until 14 days after gatherings of 10 people were allowed.

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56 COMMENTS

  1. OU way of thinking vs Agudah way of thinking. I cannot understand the Agudah. T’fillah B’tzibur a d’rabonim at most. Safek pekuach nefoshos questions I THINK a dioraysa. They must have BIG shoulders if they are willing to take a chance on EVEN ONE PERSON dying because they feel the need to daven IN a shul is so important. Not sure where it’s coming from. HaShem should watch over us all no matter which camp we belong to.

    • Many many Shulls in Brooklyn and upstate were open the entire time following the guidelines.

      King Cuomo says the essential business are allowed to be open. Shulls to us Yidden are as essential as anything else. This is our air our life.

      No one will tell us here in the USA how,where and when to Daven.

      More, according to the CDC Mikvahs with the guidelines are safe and this includes Mikvahs for men.

      • Archy, the supermarkets are packed, why can’t clothing stores be open safely. Make a rule depending on the size of the store if no more than 5 customers at a time or by appointment. Why should these people lose their parnassa bec the government doesn’t reopen? Also, if they close down bec of their losseswhere will our girls shop for tzniusdig clothing, gap, old navy? Point is that it probably safer to shop by appointment in these small stores more than supermarkets or Walmart…..

      • Don’t compare apples to oranges!

        There’s a vast difference between a store or any other business and a shul!

        As to your question … every day you drive to work, etc, while knowing fully well that according to daily statistics, several individuals will die at the end of that day as a result of auto-collisions.

        Therefore, by driving to work on any given day, you could become responsible for the death of one or more people.on that day.

        Does that mean that now that you’ve been made aware of that, you’re no longer gonna drive any more? Since according to your logic you absolutely must stop driving altogether, or risk being a hypocrite!

    • Learn the sugya of safek Pikuach Nefesh before you run your mouth. This is a question for Gedolei hador not ppl like you or doctors or Hatzalah members for that matter either. This issue is a vey grave question and it was never decided properly

  2. If I’m wrong I apologize. I was under the impression that based on the OU’s guidelines there are shuls across NYS that would be waiting until 14 days AFTER the governor allowed “gatherings”…….of UP TO 10 people to open their shuls. Btw, most shuls are allowing up to 15 people per minyan. I’m not sure how they can do that if the rules are up to 10 but again, if I wrong, I apologize.

  3. Since the scientist all agree now that the danger is to people who are 65 and over, young Israel rabbis and others should not be shaming Haredim for doing what God calls upon them to do, Daven. This whole thing has become a politically correct fiasco and it’s just being pushed by the Democrats in order to undermine Trump. Rabbis, Stop playing the big tzadik. It’s all baloney at this point. People have to go to work, school, and get on with their lives.

    • Wrong. Yes, there is a greater risk of death to 65 and older. That does not mean that being less than 65 makes you “safe.” Plenty of young adults were sick, some required ICU care, and some died.
      Death is not the only yardstick: I can assure you that you don’t want to be severely ill from this.

      Next, be careful with using the word “danger.”
      There is also “danger” in kids being asymptomatic carriers who infect others.

      • There is also “danger” in kids being asymptomatic carriers who infect others.

        That danger is lower than kids getting the flu.

        As per Emily Oster, economics professor at Brown University, author of several books and creator of the website COVID-Explained no NPR

        Pure OCD non proven nonsense. Fancy english but a myth. Kids rae not real danger and we need to pen shcools today!

  4. ומי שׁמיחדים בּתי כּניסות לתפלה …..ויסור מהם כּל מחלה וירפּא לכל גופם

    Get it thru your head minyan saves lives you say it in davening every shabbos.

    Now you need to stop this cold ltifish modern orthdox view. Stop this halacha only darabonin stupidty. Its fake fluff narrow judiasm. Yiddishkiet is about a beis medersh and davening together. For thousands of years thats what klal yisroel did. Its the eibshter’s mikdash mat. The koach of an amen etc…

    As Rabbi Frankel said, a big rav in BP gave an guarantee to his shul that if they join his social distant minyan noone will die. He had hsi shul open troughout. And NOT ONE PERSON died. This was a huge kehila with 300+ people

    Now we are talking abut social distance safe guards even in shul. one who violates that, its on his head not any rov’s head. With the curve at zero for frum jews and safe guide lines in place noone will die.

    Got it?

    • Yeah, I got it. And you know what else I got? The next time I read on VIN about someone who died of Coronavirus and left over a million yesomim and telling me to open my wallet, I’m going to remember people like you. The next time I open the Flatbush Jewish Journal and read hesped after hesped of people who died of Coronavirus, I’m going to remember people like you. The next time I read a letter from respected poskim telling me that a sofaik pikuach nefesh is assur to undertake, I’m going to remember people like you.

      You sound pretty darn sure of yourself. You’d better daven hard that NOT ONE JEW DIES because they listened to your reckless version of Judaism and not to doctors and respected poskim. There won’t be enough Yom Kippurs in the world to be mechaper for that.

      • We listened to experts now. Almost No cvbod new cases in a month from our community. How much longer and better do you want it to get? Its over.

        Your argument is very emotional but not logical. If people are not getting sick whats your beef?

        Furthermore, almost none of those covid cases came from safe social distance minyan. Those of us that were moser nefesh at least did not cause any harm and at most saved lives

    • That is a misguided notion, that is a tefilas that in the zechus of building a bais harnesses, and coming to daven with the tzibur Hashem should give protection, it is not a guarantee of protection.

      Learn the gemara in Brochos and see how seriously they took a shaas magaifa.

      Stop posting nonsense.

      And I do attend an outdoor minyan.

      • And look in the Gemara in Taanis and see what the definition of “dever” is. Hint: even at its worst, this epidemic has (B”H) been nowhere near that.

      • Yup I learned brochos too. Its not misguided. I also don’t say go blind flooded and its a total end to its means. One must still social distant. But come on the words mean something?

        Hpw dare you call those words nonsense? Tois shabbos skip it

    • You has me until the Big Rov promises.

      Many other “Big” Rovs made promises about minyan, that didn’t pan out. Doesn’t prove anything. Shower Pesoyim Hashem.

      There was a good reason to close and now it seems safe to reopen. Anyone who doesn’t want to go to shul and still fears the virus can and should stay home.

      • This rav made three 50 people minyanim in differnet locations and never closed.

        So to out in context, his shul hold I’d say probably close to 500 but surley 300 people. Only 50 were allowed in (1/6 of regular occupancy, one per table, there were boxes with tape on floor and you had to stay in your box)

        ll this was coordinated with the NYPD

  5. What has Judaism become to the rabbi’s? it sounds like they’re just playing the same game as the Democrats it’s just a power grab to who is calling the shots, when we could daven with minyan when we could not daven, the government says it’s okay so now what? make up your minds are you following guidelines or you make your own guidelines

    • Are you crazy? Haven’t you read about all of the frum Jews who have died of this virus? How about the Novominsker rebbe? This isn’t about politics. Open your eyes!

      • I think you should open your eyes yes when people died that’s why the government put a lockdown in place there’s a reason they opened up now, don’t put your head in the sand I’m talking logic the doctors say it’s safe now so what are you talkin about.

        • The doctors are NOT saying it’s “safe”. Things are opening back up not because the virus is less of a threat but because the economy is suffering very badly. It’s not “safe” at all.

  6. For those babies who are nervous, STAY HOME!!! FOR YOU IT’S TAKEH ASSUR TO LEAVE YOUR HOME, AND CERTAINLY ASSUR TO COME TO SHUL! LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE! BABIES!

    • “leave the rest of us alone” is also what Hatzalah, EMS, Emergency Departments, and ICUs are saying.
      When you get sick, you’re putting a lot of other people at risk.

  7. Same reckless ppl who argue to open up shuls now are going to fight tooth and nail to intubate brain dead corona patients basically cadavers with zero possibility of regaining consciousness. So if you’re all about erring on the side of caution with end of life why aren’t you doing the same with prevention ? Furthermore Aren’t we supposed to be a smart nation, why don’t we at least start with people who have made antibodies and see how it goes with that and than gradually mix in people who have never had it. So that most of the minya 6 or at least half are ppl who’ve had it already?

      • Re: Pro choice

        It takeh is your life, but when/if you get it (cv) don’t come to doctors for help and ask them to risk getting it themself helping you. And if cv you do get it you might even be asymptomatic, but what will your answer be after 120 in regards to the people you gave the disease too and perhaps even perished? Perhaps you haven’t lost anyone in your family to this disease, therefore it is easy for you to “live life on the edge”. Hatzlocha

        • The answer is the same as if g-d forbid I get onto a car accident or the flu and someone gets sick and dies from me. We are right now at those levels. Its gone for a month already and one cannot live his life like that or its never ending. There is no reason to worry about covid at this point. Furtehermore, we do our hishtadus by social distancing and wearing masks in shul just like we do at the gorcery.

          What would you say if someone caught it from you at the grocery and nebach died? Shul is as essential and for sure minyan

    • So if you’re all about erring on the side of caution with end of life why aren’t you doing the same with prevention

      Can’t live in a cave. Covid is over what are we preventing?

      But we should take your point to heart about so many other things? Life is so precious yet we tolerate smokers and all fress oliy cholent an kugel at a kiddush? We need to learn from covid how to better take care of our health

  8. Nothing in Yididshkeit is cut and dry your right it is a safek pikiuach nefesh. However there are other halachos at play to. Bzman the gemorah going on a boat was more dangerous than this virus and they still allowed it for work and other things. The question here is if there is still a mageifa going on assur to go to shul if it stopped even if still dangerous live has to go on in a safe as possible way

  9. Thank you 5TResident, you spoke very well and to the point. However, don’t waste your breath on people who don’t have the intelligence to understand, not science and not halacha.

  10. You’re comparing apples to oranges!

    There’s a vast difference between a store or any other business and a shul!

    As to your question … every day you drive to work, etc, while knowing fully well that according to daily statistics, several individuals will die at the end of that day as a result of auto-collisions.

    Therefore, by driving to work on any given day, you could become responsible for the death of one or more people.on that day.

    Does that mean that now that you’ve been made aware of that, you’re no longer gonna drive any more? Since according to your logic you absolutely must stop driving altogether, or risk being a hypocrite!

    • B”H I started davening in Shul again, starting 2 weeks ago. I’ll daven for the ultimate geula. I agree. It’s time to start the healing. Enough with the name calling from either side. We were supposed to come closer to each other, not the other way around.

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