All That Was Missed, Parts 1-4

by Rav Ya’akov Klass, RAA/Igud Presidium Chairman

Part I

Question: We are obviously in a very unique situation in this present Covid19 pandemic, which has caused a halt to almost all public gatherings; hence much of Jewish congregational ritual has come to a halt. Is there a way to deal with all that was missed? [...Click headline above for more...] 

Torah Reading and Social Distancing

by Rav Gil Student, Director of RAA Halacha Commission

As ”stay at home” restrictions begin to loosen in certain places, and within weeks will probably begin to loosen in the New York area also, we need to reimagine what shul will look like in the interim stages before we fully return to normal. The OU, Agudath Israel of America and several poskim have published on the subject, each in their own way. I would like to explore possible alternatives in reading the Torah during a time when we must still wear masks and people living in different homes must stay more than six feet apart (some recommend eight or ten feet). [...Click headline above for more...] 

Reopening Shuls

As communities start thinking about when and how to reopen shuls, the following documents can help guide you through the thought process. Attached are guidance documents from the OU and Agudah, as well as a recent teshuvah from Rav Asher Weiss urging caution and a slow pace. [...Click headline above for more...] 

Porch Minyanim

by R. Gil Student

I. Pesach, Prayer and Bentching

In the current phase of the Coronavirus pandemic, all shuls around the world are closed and nearly every Jew globally is praying without a minyan. Even during its strictest period, the Israeli government allowed a few minyanim to continue under health department guidelines. In the US, I know of a family with ten adult men (a grandfather, father and eight sons above 13) who continue praying as a minyan. A widely discussed option is for neighbors to pray together on their front or back porchs, without anyone leaving their own property. Every community will have its own concerns about local health guidelines and the ability to consistently follow them, as well as anti-semitism that may be flamed by even perfectly legal and healthy minyanim. Setting all that aside, I would like to discuss whether in theory, if not in practice, neighbors can join together as a minyan, everyone remaining on their own property. The matter is less simple than many people think and is discussed by many recent responsa specifically related to Coronavirus. [...Click headline above for more...]