Details for Opening Shuls, ‘Traffic Light’ Plan, to Be Finalized at Meeting

Shacharis held outside a shul in Yerushalayim, as per the social distancing regulations, Aug. 10. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday is to convene a special meeting to discuss the plans for operating shuls during the coronavirus crisis, ahead of the Tishrei chagim.

The meeting comes at the request of the Knesset’s chareidi parties, and will also include discussion on ways to travel safely to Uman, Ukraine, for Rosh Hashanah.

The meeting will be attended by Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Transportation Miniser Miri Regev, Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri (Shas), Housing Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (UTJ), coronavirus taskforce leader Professor Ronni Gamzu and MK Rabbi Yaakov Asher.

Gamzu’s plan for opening shuls was put together by former IDF Central Command Commander Roni Numa. Under it, the number of mispallelim allowed in a shul is dependent on the number of entrances the shul has, the number of “capsules,” and the city’s rating according to the “traffic light plan.” It also limits the number of mispallelim to one person per 4 square meters, with a maximum of 1,000 people.

According to reports, Gamzu has agreed that each exit can serve up to two capsules, but the chareidi parties are insisting on allowing three capsules per exit.

The sides also disagree on what constitutes a “red” city under the traffic light plan. Gamzu wants one of the parameters to be the percentage of new cases from the total number of new cases, so that people will not be deterred from getting tested. However, the ministers want the parameter to be the percentage of new cases out of the city’s entire population.

Under the plan, tefillos will be permitted during the chagim under the open sky, regardless of a city’s “color.” These will be limited to 500 people, who will be in groups of 20 mispallelim. Holding tefillos with over 250 people will require the approval of the local authority and the district health office.