We hope this letter finds you well and that you had a meaningful Pesach. As the Governor has declared his intent to begin the resumption of economic life, some of you have reached out to us to see what our plans are with regard to reopening shuls. We understand the desire to return to shul forthwith, particularly as we classify shuls, in our minds, as “essential services.” Unsurprisingly, we agree that shuls are essential, but the value of pikuach nefesh is even more essential. Please know that the decision to resume shul life is one that we treat with the same level of seriousness as the decision we undertook to suspend it, if not more.
Thank God, our efforts at “flattening the curve” and “holding the line” appear to have proved successful thus far, as our community has B”H not felt the serious effects that others have and as our city has not yet experienced the overburden on our medical facilities. Now is not the time to be complacent! Every medical professional and public health specialist we have consulted has told us that we must take great care to avoid a resurgence of the disease, which could happen if we resume communal life too soon after our initial success. Religious communities, with their heavily social communal lives, are at greater risk for reinfection during this pandemic, and its members are most likely to represent vectors for the spread of the disease once again to the general population. As such, it is premature to reopen shuls at this time.
Of course, as information continues to emerge, we will continue to reevaluate and reassess the situation based on the guidance of physicians, public health experts and public officials. We pray that our assiduous efforts to maintain the health of our community and of the individuals in it continue to bear fruit, and look forward to the day when we can safely return to our beloved shuls- may it be soon!
Rabbi Shlomo Abrams, Jewish Educational Center
Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Congregation Ohr Hatorah
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried, DATA
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 of Dallas
Rabbi Zacharia Sionit, Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas
Rabbi Howard Wolk, Congregation Shaare Tefilla
Rabbi Nasanya Zakon, DATA of Plano