Harav Lau: No Need to Close Shuls

Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Harav David Lau. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

In a ruling Thursday, Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Harav David Lau said that it was not necessary to close shuls in response to the coronavirus crisis. With new rules in place since Saturday night limiting gatherings to no more than ten people, many synagogues have announced that they will significantly limit minyanim or shut them down altogether. In response to a query, Harav Lau said that “I have issued an order not to close synagogues, but they should operate within the guidelines of the Health Ministry.

“As long as an official order has not been issued, it is important to pray in synagogue,” Harav Lau wrote. “Individuals should maintain a two meter distance between each other, and the space should be aired out. Olim to the Torah should maintain distance from the reader. Elderly or at-risk individuals are not allowed to come to shul. If these conditions are not maintained, all people should leave the shul,” he added.