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...] 

Changes in shul polices re COVID

A message from Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt:

Many Rabbonim and lay shul leaders have been asking me if shul policies should be “loosened” and allow for less distancing and / or masking now that BH more and more people are vaccinated. Several medical points need to be emphasized: 1) BH serious complications, including hospital admissions and death have been dramatically reduced in fully vaccinated people. 2) Risk of transmission in such fully vaccinated individuals if they get infected is very low but not zero. 3) The CDC states we are seeing more hospitalizations than previously in younger patients (30s and 40s) due to some of the variant strains. 4) No one can accurately predict how effective the current vaccines will be against some of the newer novel variant strains and what future strains may occur. 5) Long term sequelae of COVID-19 still are not fully understood, and many people, including younger individuals with COVID-19 illness (even mild illness) still have significant symptoms present months after infection. COVID-19 is certainly not a “benign” illness in all young patients. 6) While my personal analysis is that the presence of antibodies at least in the initial 8 months after infection (and possibly beyond that) indicates a significant level of immunity against acquiring a second COVID-19 infection, the value of such antibodies and what they mean longer after infection remains an uncertain area of medicine. To this date, the CDC still does not recommend usage of antibodies in decision making. 7) The CDC as a public health protector will naturally be more cautious than any individual physician, even as an “expert” may be comfortable in making policy changes / loosening some of the guidance. 8) Even where evidence exists to “loosen” prior restrictive guidelines in the setting of full vaccination, there are significant logistical issues in verifying vaccine / prior COVID-19 status, assuring that individuals with ANY symptoms refrain from attending shul and shiurim, and policing guests and visitors attending such “vaccinated” minyanim and semachot. 9) While fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel and do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel, the CDC as of April 2, 2021 still currently recommends that even fully vaccinated individuals should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing;
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households; 
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
  •  [...Click headline above for more...]