The Rabbinical Alliance of America Welcomes the United States Supreme Court’s Decision of Carson v Makin as a Victory for Religious Freedom

The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis— welcomes the Supreme Court of the United States of America’s decision of Carson v Makin as a victory for religious freedom. In Carson v. Makin, the United States Supreme Court held in a 6–3 landmark decision  that the exclusion of faith-based schools from Maine’s tuition-assistance program for students in rural school districts is unconstitutional and that the program discriminates against faith-based schools. The Carson decision clarifies that the Constitution prohibits the government from withholding public benefits from religious schools. Chief Justice John Roberts states this clearly in the majority opinion: “The State pays tuition for certain students at private schools—so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion.” [...Click headline above for more...] 

After Exposure to Covid

Message from Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, Director of RAA/Igud’s Halacha and Medicine Commision:

What should you do if you are exposed to a COVID-19 person?

The CDC states you must quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated[...Click headline above for more...] 

Mikvah Guidelines for Men / Shofar Guidelines 5782

Mikvah Guidelines for Men as We Enter 5782

Prepared by Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt in consultation with Rav Mordechai Willig

  • Each individual Men’s Mikvah should decide what they wish to do regarding usage of the men’s mikvah this year before Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
  • Certainly, for any individual concerned about using the mikvah because of the potential risk of acquiring COVID-19 in such a setting, HaRav Willig shlita has paskened that they do not need to go to the mikvah and can take advantage of the halachic principle of “9 Kavim” and take a 5-minute shower to satisfy this minhag.
  • For those mikvaos that can arrange separate individual appointments, that is certainly ideal to prevent unnecessary mingling indoors in a crowded situation.
  • For those mikvaos incapable of doing that based upon the size of their community / large number of potential users, ideally, only asymptomatic vaccinated individuals without a known recent COVID-19 exposure should use the mikvah to minimize the potential risk of transmission. However, this is a decision that each Mikvah’s Rav and medical advisory committee may choose to modify as they see best for their community. Again, it is important to understand that lechatchila, such individuals not recommended to use a mikvah at this time, can take advantage of the halachic principle of “9 Kavim” and take a 5-minute shower to satisfy this minhag.

Guidelines for Shofar Blowing

Prepared by Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt

It is reasonable that “normal” shofar blowing can iy”H be performed this year, 5782, in shul in an indoor minyan, if an asymptomatic, fully-vaccinated person with no known exposures to COVID-19 in the past 10 days is blowing shofar. The same applies to someone blowing shofar in a house for non-family members. [...Click headline above for more...] 

Covid Update: July 28, 2021

COVID-19 Medical/Halachic Update

Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD

With the recent updated guidelines from the CDC published July 27, 2021, many Rabbonim and lay shul leaders have asked for my opinion as to how this will impact shuls. While iy”H at a future time we will have an opportunity to explore this in more detail, for now, here are my recommendations. [...Click headline above for more...]