Throughout the past six months, we have communicated with you as a group about our Rabbinic and communal response to COVID-19 pandemic. Whether to announce our unified decision to close shuls early on, or the commencement of the reopening process that each shul undertook, we have worked together as a group, with unity, respect and understanding.
Despite the economic, emotional and spiritual challenges this pandemic has presented, we must all be grateful to the Ribbono Shel Olam for the kindness He has shown to our community which, while not spared the illness by any means, has fared so much better than many others. We pray that He continues to shower His kindness upon us and that we are spared from the illness and its effects.
At the same time, it would be a serious mistake for us to refer to this pandemic in the past tense. We note with alarm the high rates of infection and hospitalization in Israel, which has gone into full lockdown in advance of the Chaggim.
In the United States, we are seeing rising numbers in larger Orthodox communities, especially in the New York area, many of which were hit hard already. In these communities in both countries, the spread of illness can be traced directly to simchas such as weddings, some of which have been taking place in locations where proper physical distancing is impossible and masking is non-existent.
As our children return to school and as the season of Chaggim is upon us, we urge everyone to choose their social activities carefully and wisely, adhering scrupulously to physical distancing, masking and self-monitoring protocols. This way, we can keep one another safe and comfortable and dramatically reduce the spread of the illness.
It has been a great privilege serving as your spiritual leaders during these unprecedented times. For those who are not yet comfortable returning to shul, we eagerly look forward to seeing you when the time is right.
We join all of you in our prayer that the conclusion of 5780 will also conclude the challenges that befell us in it.
May the onset of 5781 usher in a year of unfathomable blessing including emotional health, material success, national unity and redemption for the Jewish people.
Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum
Congregation Ohr HaTorah
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried
Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky
Congregation Shaare Tefilla
Rabbi Zecharia Sionit
Sephardic Torah Center
Rabbi Yaakov Rich
Congregation Toras Chaim
Rabbi Aryeh Rodin
Congregation Ohev Shalom
Rabbi Ronen Shimon
Young Israel of Dallas
Rabbi Howard Wolk
Congregation Shaare Tefilla
Rabbi Nasanya Zakon
DATA of Plano
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