Shule re-openings in NSW delayed
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Sydney Beth Din

Shule re-openings in NSW delayed

The Sydney Beth Din has ruled that synagogues in NSW remain closed for a further two weeks after a student tested positive for COVID-19 at Moriah College.

Signs on the doors of Sydney's Central Synagogue in March.
Signs on the doors of Sydney's Central Synagogue in March.

THE Sydney Beth Din (SBD) has pulled the plug on shule services resuming on Shavuot after a student tested positive for COVID-19 at Moriah College.

The SBD had previously issued a set of halachic guidelines for the safe resumption of worship and a number of synagogues – including The Great, Chabad North Shore and Kehillat Masada – had intended to hold services.

That all changed on Tuesday afternoon.

“Medical professionals … have unanimously determined the existence of a real community risk including and especially for those attending shule.

“The extent of that risk in terms of the size of the outbreak will only be able to be determined in the next 10 to 14 days,” the SBD said in a statement. 

“The greatest source of spread and death in Jewish communities around the world has been via shule services. 

“As such we rule that due to the laws of pikuach nefesh as they relate to tefillah, synagogues remain closed for a further two weeks until the source and spread of this ‘community spread’ outbreak [can] be identified and completely contained.”

At this stage, the SBD hopes to allow shules to open for Shabbat Beha’alotcha on Saturday, June 13.

Chabad North Shore’s Rabbi Nochum Schapiro told The AJN on Wednesday that the resumption of services was now “unlikely”, while Kehillat Masada’s Rabbi Gad Krebs said a decision had not yet been made.

The Great Synagogue, which held a Shabbat evening service on Friday, May 22, said on Wednesday that it was still planning to hold Shavuot services, “But the executive monitors the situation almost daily and will be considering the Beth Din’s statement later today.”

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