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Mar 30 Update: LOCAL RABBINIC STATEMENT RE. SEDERS

03/30/2020 09:16:47 AM

Mar30

Good Monday Morning, DAT Minyan Community!

  1. IMPORTANT STATEMENT FROM THE LOCAL RABBANIM:

March 29th 2020

 

Dear Friends,

 

As the crisis of Covid-19 continues to escalate, we must urge every individual to absolutely refrain from inviting any out-of-town guests for Pesach this year. That means that your children and/or parents should not be visiting with you this year. Rather, they should stay where they are and remain in their homes for Pesach. As of this date, if any have received permission from one of us to invite guests, we hereby rescind that permission. As is communicated by health officials and our trusted medical experts, this is a matter of Pikuach Nefesh, life and death.

 

In addition, we strongly urge anyone not to travel away for Yom Tov. If you travel away, please do not return to one of our communities without speaking to us.

 

In addition, do not invite local guests. If your family and another family have both quarantined for 14 days, you may speak with your rabbi and physician about the possibility of your spending your Seder together.

 

In case of extreme extenuating circumstance for inviting one guest, such as a widow who cannot possibly conduct a seder on her own, speak to your rabbi and physician about the possibility of obtaining permission based on risk assessment taking into account age, health, quarantine history, etc.

 

We urge everyone, including all single children who have returned home, to adhere to mandated guidelines, including most significantly to quarantine for 14 days, if one has had any exposure to the virus.

 

Bringing outside cleaning help into the home is strongly discouraged as it lessens the effects of our collective effort to slow the spread of this terrible virus.

 

As we pledge to abide by these directives, we must also maintain respect of those around us and commit that, should we observe others practicing laxity in these areas, we will not reprove them directly, but rather contact our rabbi to intervene.

 

With our earnest blessing for good health for you your families and for all the Jewish people and with our heartfelt prayer that we will all soon experience the final Redemption, we remain,

 

Coalition of Orthodox Synagogue Rabbis of Denver.

Rabbi David Arayev, Ohr Avner

Rabbi Yisroel Engel, Bais Menachem

Rabbi Joseph Friedman, DAT Minyan

Rabbi Avraham Jacobs, Kehillas Bais Yisroel

Rabbi Yaakov Meyer, Aish of the the Rockies

Rabbi, Daniel Rapp, East Denver Orthodox Synagogue

Rabbi Tzvi Steinberg, Congregation Zera Abraham

 

  1. OU DAILY TEHILLIM: Join the Orthodox Union community for the recitation of Tehillim (chapters 20, 27 and 130). To participate, please dial 773-377-9170.
  1. TIMES OF ISRAEL EDITORIAL: This morning, I read an editorial posted by the Times of Israel, written by a Reform rabbi in Montreal. You are welcome to read it in its entirety, if you’d like; I chose to excerpt the parts I found relevant to the message I hope to share with you. Here’s the backstory: I have spoken to many of our congregants who were regular Minyan attendees, but do not participate in our Virtual (non)Minyan. Some expressed they only came to make a Minyan for those who needed one (a most commendable motive), while others said the format makes Tefilla difficult for them to concentrate, and yet others said they would rather take more time for Tefilla, now that they can. Those are all great reasons, and I don’t begrudge anyone their choice. Nevertheless, for them – and for those who were not regular attendees – I share these thoughts from the editorial, as I found them most relevant:

We rabbis think about lots of things: God and Torah, life and death… and, more recently, Zoom. Since this pandemic has hit and we have had to close the physical doors of our synagogues, many of us have moved onto virtual platforms. It’s all Zoom, all the time. Just last week, I was on a Zoom meeting with 300 rabbis from across North America, organized by the Reform movement to teach us — wait for it — how to Zoom… Like every other professional in these strange times, we discuss whether you can wear sweatpants with your suit jacket; the guilty pleasure of having the power to mute everyone; and the pleas with our internet companies to speed up our home connections.

. . .

[A]t this particular moment, I am loving the community we are building online. It is the silver lining to the terrible cloud we are under. I love it for teaching, and I especially love it for services… Here is what I love:

 

I love seeing the faces of our community. Being online means that people can join in who are geographically distant. And so, along with our regulars, we see the student who went on to do graduate work in Edinburgh, or another who is serving at Hillel in Atlanta; a congregant’s son who joins in from Ottawa, holding up the phone so his elderly mother in Montreal can hear. Being online also means that people can connect who were isolated long before this crisis: our homebound elderly; those with limited mobility; and those with compromised immunity. I am also seeing people who are new to the synagogue or exploring Judaism for the first time, able to dip a toe in our services from the safety of home.

 

I love hearing the voices of our community. Being online means we can hear the beautiful voice of our high holy day cantorial soloist from his home in Chicago, alongside our other talented musical leaders, singing their hearts out from their living rooms here in Montreal. Being online means that the congregant whose beloved uncle died in Belgium, and who couldn’t attend his uncle’s funeral, can share some words about him and say kaddish, and hear everyone’s amen.

 

I love the backdrop I have of our sanctuary bima, behind me as we pray. It’s a little cheesy, but it warms my heart, and serves as a reminder of our synagogue home. I think it does the same for those taking part. It also reminds me that this is a service, not a meeting or a class or the thousand other things I am doing online each day. It gives me a sense of our sacred space, and the hope that we will return to it soon.

 

In our pre-pandemic language, we called these gatherings “virtual.” But right now, they are absolutely real. Real opportunities to sing and to pray, to mourn and give thanks. Real opportunities to see each other’s faces and spaces and remember that we may be isolated, but we are not alone. “Synagogue” comes from the Greek words syn agogos, to bring together. At this moment, Zoom is our synagogue. And I love that it is a place we can meet.

 

“Make me a sanctuary,” God says, “and I will dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). The place matters, but the people matter more. By the end of Exodus, the sanctuary is built, and God’s presence manifests on it as a cloud. Here we all are now, together in the cloud.

  1. DAILY VIRTUAL (NON)MINYAN: Join us at our regularly scheduled times for Shacharit and Mincha/Maariv by logging in at: https://sundaysky.zoom.us/j/6373445618 or calling in at either 253-215-8782 or 301 -715-8592, using Meeting ID: 637 344 5618. YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT ON THE VIDEO IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SEEN!

Have an awesome day!

 

Rabbi Joseph Friedman

Mon, June 1 2020 9 Sivan 5780