Dear Congregants, Students and Friends,
Over the past two months our Dallas Orthodox community has worked together and showed tremendous unity addressing the Covid 19 Pandemic and how it affects our shuls and communities. With the safety of our community as our paramount consideration, the orthodox rabbinate has conducted numerous electronic meetings as a group, with one another and with local physicians and public health officials.
Based on our research and discussions, we have issued several joint letters with updates and guidelines, some of which included strong language. Our intention was, and is, only to protect the community we love. We have been assured by experts that the difficult steps we have taken, closing our shuls and ensuring abidance of CDC standards in our communities have without a doubt saved lives.
Texas has begun the process of reopening. Reopening does not mean the pandemic is over, or that, ”all is well”. Individuals still need to be vigilant and exercise proper physical distancing protocols, keeping in mind that our actions affect our entire community.
As Texas has begun the reopening process, we have met and decided that our shuls shall begin to work toward this goal as well. We will be doing so with the guidance of physicians and halachic authorities, with pikuach nefesh uppermost in our minds.
The logistical issues involved in reopening are complex and require myriad considerations. We recognize that each shul’s membership makeup, physical layout and a host of other considerations could vary from shul to shul.The Orthodox Rabbinate of Dallas have, hence, collectively decided that each shul will open at a time and in a way the is best suited for its physical plant and congregation.
Your shul will be contacting you to let you know what that will look like for your congregation.
Please note that whenever your shul opens and in which form, one thing will be common to all shuls – the reopening will be gradual, methodical and, in the initial stages will, sadly, need to be quite different from when we all prayed together in the main shul.
It is also important to note that even as we open our shuls in different ways and at different times, the Orthodox Rabbis of Dallas are still unified and continue to work together. We have your health first and foremost in our decisions and we will be monitoring the situation constantly, taking whatever actions we deem necessary and are advised to take to preserve our community’s health.
It is our heartfelt Tefilla that Hashem Yisborach, the Healer of all, will soon remove this plague from our midst and bring us to the final redemption, speedily in our days.
With wishes for the best of health and continued growth and togetherness in our community,
Rabbi Shlomo Abrams, Jewish Learning Center
Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Congregation Ohr Hatorah
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried, DATA
Rabbi Avi Honigsfeld, DATA of Richardson
Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky, Congregation Shaare Tefilla
Rabbi Yaakov Rich, Congregation Toras Chaim
Rabbi Aryeh Rodin, Congregation Ohev Shalom
Rabbi Moshe Segal, DATA of Richardson
Rabbi Ronen Shimon, Young Israel
Rabbi Zacharia Sionit, Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas
Rabbi Howard Wolk, Congregation Shaare Tefilla
Rabbi Nasanya Zakon, DATA of Plano
Attached below are recommended guidelines for “Reopening” from Agudath Israel and OU-RCA. These guidelines will influence what our shuls will look like going forward.