Since we sent out yesterday’s communication, we have learned of two cases of community-based transmission that have taken place in Collin and Dallas Counties. Upon the advice of infectious disease physicians and halachic advisors, we have made the decision to cancel services this Shabbos, March 13-14. We will be praying at home, alone, and ask that no one initiate private minyanim instead (and cancel the ones that are ongoing).This exceedingly difficult step was motivated by an abiding concern for Pikuach Nefesh, and the strong assertion that “social distancing” measures are most effective in saving lives as a result of the subsequent reduction in the burden on the health care system. As the situation continues to change, we will be monitoring it constantly and will be keeping you updated on any changes.
We recognize the central role our shuls play in the spiritual and social fabric of our communities. We also recognize that this will affect the ability of people to pray with a minyan when they need it the most, such as those who say kaddish. No doubt, the lives saved as a result of adherence to these measures will serve as an equal or greater merit to the soul of the deceased than the actual recitation of Kaddish.
As the world retreats further inward and further barriers are placed on interaction between people, It is especially important that we find ways to continue to interact with one another- virtually through opportunities to increase our Torah study, reaching out to one another through acts of chesed and sustaining our communities through tzedaka. Times of duress may test our faith, but they prove our character. May we all rise to the occasion!
Wishing everyone a healthy, peaceful Shabbos
Rabbi Shlomo Abrams, Jewish Learning Center
Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Congregation Ohr Hatorah
Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky, Congregation Shaare Tefilla
Rabbi Yaakov Rich, Congregation Toras Chaim
Rabbi Ronen Shimon, Young Israel of Dallas
Rabbi Nasanya Zakon, DATA Plano