By COLlive reporter
Shuls typically hope to have a least 10 men present to form a minyan. But what do you do when 10 just isn’t enough?
Shuls in New York City are only allowed to open for 10 people at a time until further notice, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Marco Carrion said on Thursday.
The updated regulations as the coronavirus pandemic subsides means that shuls in Crown Heights and across the city are not able to fully resume operation.
Shuls such as Bais Gimpel Chaim and Rayim Ahuvim announced that they will hold davening by reservation, with some offering that overflow crowds are able to daven outside with social distancing.
But others are saying they are not comfortable with the dynamic and would prefer not to open at all until the guidelines are eased by city and state officials.
“I don’t see how it’s possible for our shul to open with the conditions of only 10 people being allowed,” Rabbi Kalman Weinfeld, Gabbai of Beis Levi Yitzchok in Crown Heights, told COLlive.com on Thursday.
“I don’t see how that’s possible for us to open because this means that women cannot attend. They are part of the Tefillos, part of the kiddushim, and they look forward to the Shabbos davening, and the Hallel on Yom Tov. So how can we say, we only allow men?” he asked.
Rabbi Weinfeld mentioned another factor on why not to reopen at this time. “If you only have 10 men, if even one person goes downstairs for one minute, then you don’t have a minyan. It’s just not practical – I think the people who made these rules did not speak to any shul gabboim.”
Another gabbai of a shul told COLlive.com that they are definitely remaining closed for this upcoming Shabbos.
As for Shavuos, he is not sure how they can open practically speaking, since allowing only 10 at a time would be very time consuming as well as difficult to maintain proper social distancing, with all the children and women pushing strollers. “We haven’t made concrete plans yet,” he said.
In an effort to find a united solution, rabbis and gabboim of Crown Heights will be joining a Zoom meeting with Badatz member Rabbi Yosef Braun, community physician Dr. Eli Rosen and the Gedaliah Society.
Organizers said the meeting will discuss guidelines for Shavuos, and other general questions. They said they hope to reach a consensus on plans for Shavuos, when the Aseres Hadibros is read.
As reported on COLlive.com, Pinny Ringel of the Mayor’s office said these regulations are not finalized yet, and are subject to change with the executive order by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the next few days.