Crown Heights Rabbis Concerned About “Yellow Mode” of Covid

As Crown Heights is moved to "yellow light" mode, Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba and Rabbi Yosef Braun reiterate their call to the public to take "necessary…

By COLlive reporter

The Crown Heights neighborhood has returned to the “Yellow Light” mode with regards to social distancing, masks, and gatherings, the Gedaliah Society and Dr. Eli Rosen announced on Thursday.

The move was announced due to reports of reinfection of Covid-19 in Crown Heights, as well as more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases in the U.S. on Wednesday – a record high for a single day.

In response, Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba and Rabbi Yosef Braun of Badatz Crown Heights issued a new letter on Thursday calling on the public to adhere to the instructions of health officials.

“We are alerting all that listen to our voice to take the caution necessary according to Torah to listen to doctor’s instructions and do all that we can with distancing etc. to avoid the spread of the illness,” they wrote.

Rabbis Osdoba and Braun specified that this must be done even “if it comes with difficulty for physical and spiritual matters.”

As reported on, the health experts of Gedaliah Society advised the following for Crown Heights:

• Please be extremely cautious with respect to social distancing, mask use, and handwashing. This is for everyone in the community, whether or not you’ve been sick already and whether or not you’re in a high risk category.

• Please avoid crowded indoor settings. This applies to shuls as well, which according to NYS guidelines should currently be operating at reduced (25%) capacity. In addition, mask use is of particular importance in the indoor setting such as shuls and the like. Large shuls where there is significant crowding, visitors from elsewhere, and lack of mask-wearing are a very worrisome phenomenon and should be avoided.

• Kiddushim/farbrengens in shul causes an additional concern, given the inevitable crowding, lack of mask use, and potential for shared secretions. These should be avoided at this time. The after-davening kiddush where everyone is finally relaxing and has their guard down is not the place to be for anyone who is safety-minded.

• Those from other communities – please, avoid visiting Crown Heights for the time being. This is even more critical when involving those from the “hotspot” states such as Florida and California, where cases are unfortunately surging. NY State requires a 14-day quarantine for all those from those regions. Similarly, those currently living in Crown Heights are advised to not visit those hotspot states for the time being, and they must quarantine on their return if they do so.

• If anyone has any new COVID symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, loss of smell, muscle aches, etc), regardless of whether you may have had COVID already before, please arrange to get tested for the virus.


B”H, Thursday Parashas Balak (“Behold, a people who shall dwell alone”), 10 Tammuz, the days preceding the Festival of Redemption, 12-13 Tammuz, 5780

To all residents of our neighborhood, Hashem has commanded blessing upon us, Hashem bless you all.

Since new information has been received regarding the spread of the known virus, may Hashem protect us, we wish herewith to encourage all about the necessary precautions according to Torah law to abide by the doctors’ instructions to do all within our power in order to prevent the spread of the sickness, may Hashem protect us that this should not occur. We’ve already expressed our position about the severity of this matter, most particularly about visitors from outside the community.

It is most obvious that doing the above to protect our and other’s health is included in the mitzvah of “Venishmartem me’od l’nafshoisaichem” (be very careful about your lives), and hence it is a must to do so even if comes across difficult due to physical or spiritual reasons.

It shall be pleasant for those who listen and a blessing of goodness shall come upon them.

May Hashem say enough to our sorrows and may we merit the fulfillment of the promise “all the sicknesses which I placed etc. I will not place upon you from the beginning, because I Hashem am your healer”, “Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction”. Redemption is adjacent to healing, liberation in the seventh blessing and healing in the eighth blessing, and from Redemption to Redemption, a star shall rise from Isreal, with the ultimate and true Redemption through Moshiach Tzidkeinu, now Mamosh

Horav Avrohom Osdoba Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun



    • NY state phase 2 guidelines, which New York City is currently in the middle of, are recommending 25% capacity. A federal judge ruled that they could not legally enforce that as it was a double standard with other venues that were allowed 50%. But that does not change that the New York phase 2 guidelines that we find ourselves in our recommending 25% capacity.

    • in the strictest mode, why are you looking for the most lenient 'psak' when it comes to this??? Yes, a federal judge ruled that is's lawful up to 50% - but why not do it l'chumra??

      • So according to what your saying I hope you tell all the buisness owners that they can only have 25 percent capacity in their stores because they shoud go lchumra.

        The federal judge ruled that they cant enforce 25 because they had no valid reason too. When it comes to man made laws there is no reason to do luchmra in a law that never should have been made to begin with.

  • By the bochurim in 770 most dont wear masks and dont do social distancing. They especially shouldnt be dancing without masks. The virus is not over and they are endangering others

    • Didn't we suffer enough already ?? I seriously think there has to be hired security at 770 so that people's lives are not put in danger. And guess what chevra - there were awful tragedies with younger people too Lo aleinu

    • If you are wearing a mask, please dont exercise or dance with it. Your oxygen levels lower with mask wearing and you can pass out easily.
      Stay safe and smart.

    • Please donate hand sanitizer in sufficient quantities for
      use on Shabbos in 770 (its permissible for Shabbos use).
      During weekdays people should have their own hand sanitizer.

  • I am saddened to being so many pictures on this site of people in CH, both at indoor gatherings, and outside not wearing masks. It is disrespectful to elders and others at risk - they can't take a walk or do an errand when so many are unmasked, even on the side walk groups of unmasked teens and kids on bikes can suddenly be in the way with no good way to get out of their way without jumping into traffic. Even those not at risk themselves can spread the disease. Be a mensch. Wear a mask.

    • This is incorrect as long as you are not exerting yourself strenuously wearing a mask causes no restrictions on your breathing. Moderate and light exercise will also cause no problems with a mask on.

      • You can’t say it doesn’t when I’ve personally experienced breathing difficulties myself when wearing a mask. It’s not something to take lightly. I’ve heard from others as well that it affects their breathing. If it works for you, great. But please don’t judge who don’t want to risk heart problems due to lack of sufficient oxygen.

  • 99 percent of our community do not wear masks. any other community people follow the rules to protect others. no social distance no masks....even in the newly opened restaurants...all over the hood

      • i did not mention stores...i said restaurants - patrons, waiters and cooks without masks or gloves, shuls and weddings and kiddushim and shabbos meals with large crowds, not social distance,no maskes. sidewalks of crown heights no masks, no social distancing. look around you ...wake up and smell the corona happening

        • It’s not only crown heights. It’s all the frum neighborhoods. I wonder if there is something in our body’s that can’t take the mask well. The non Jews wear it just fine no problem .

  • It is deeply concerning for me, to see that despite the rest of New York still being in Phase 2 and the Governor offering regular recommendations for all New Yorkers to wear masks and limit social gatherings, for some reason, we crown heighters, act as if we are immune to this world wide pandemic.

    Even if we have some level of herd immunity, that can never be proven. We should always act lechumrah and wear masks, protect the elderly and do the right thing.

    How 770 and many other Shules are open as if normal, is mind blowing and really disgraceful.

    We need to do more. We as a community are better than this. We cannot act as if this is over.

  • It seams that wearing a mask is a control,thing the dems are imposing.No doctor or,official said anything about wearing a mask or social distancing during the riots, looting and murdering of our country. In Oregon only white people are obligated to,wear but not blacks

    • Actually, many doctors expressed their concern of lack of social distancing and mask wearing at riots and we're afraid of a lot of infections because of it. It was the politicians who said that coronavirus does not pose a threat to protesters. All doctors encouraged to wear the masks and stand apart from others. No doctors said it was safe 100% to protest.

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