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Rabbi's Message: Synagogue Closure

03/13/2020 01:17:16 PM

Mar13


Shalom OZ Family,
 
Like other New York Area Shuls, we operate with local health officials and prominent Poskim to guide us through this difficult period.
 
Their guidance has now changed and based on their recommendation, we will cease building and service operation through the weekend and update you as conditions change.
 
One of the great characteristics of Orthodox Jews is quite a deficiency at this time. We are in close quarters for so many reasons, ranging from Minyanim to shiurim to frequent Simchas, and more. This puts us at a greater risk, and based on reports that we are told are about to be publicized, we are taking this step.
 
Today, we will have a 5:30pm Mincha in the Main Sanctuary and the building will remain open until 6pm to allow the retrieval of personal items.
 
Please make Shabbos 5 minutes early today and recite Tehillim 91 and 142. Use the private time to connect to Hashem. Public prayer definitely adds to our prayer experience. Yet we also have the capacity to create a profoundly meaningful private experience with the Divine. Let us seek such an experience in the coming days. 
 
At no point throughout this ordeal was the concern for public health taken lightly by any of the Rabbis, Leadership, and Staff of this shul. I am proud of our efforts to maintain daily minyan while maintaining the highest sanitary standards recommended by the CDC and local authorities.
 
Cancelling group Tefillah is a serious decision. Those of us saying Kaddish and observing Yarzheit are particularly impacted, Though we cannot daven together physically, I encourage all of us to daven at the same time when minyanim are scheduled.
 
Let us not panic.
 
Let us use this opportunity for introspection and growth. 
 
Let us use this time to enhance our own acts of Chesed and Torah. As of now, the elderly of our community are covered for their needs, but if that changes, we will need volunteers to assist them. If you are able to do this please call me at 212 865-3325. Also, this would be an excellent time to catch up on the daf, the parsha, Tanach Yomi and other learning. There are 10’s of thousands of shiurim on the YU and OU websites. I have over 1,500 on yutorah.org
 
May Hashem heal us and guide us through this time. 
 
We will be stronger and better when this is over.

Kol Tuv,
 
Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Wed, April 8 2020 14 Nisan 5780