CLOSED: White Shul Closes Ahead of New Restrictions Effective Friday Morning


Hoshana Rabba 5781/Erev Shabbos and Yom Tov, October 8, 2020


Lichvod Dearest White Shul Members, amu”sh:

Shalom U’vrachah, Good Evening, and wishing you all a Gutten Kvittel this Hoshana Rabba.

We sincerely apologize for the delay in sending this message.

Times are extremely difficult these days, and the governor’s recent severe restrictions are weighing on us quite heavily. Rabbonim have been putting in a great deal of time and energy (and tefillos…) to deal with the many issues at hand. While we are davening fervently that we hear of a favorable ruling tomorrow afternoon (for a temporary restraining order) in response to Agudath Israel of America’s request, we must also deal appropriately and responsibly with the present reality on hand.

We at the White Shul- along with other Rabbonim- feel strongly that it is incumbent upon us to adhere to the current guidelines issued by the governor– which sadly mandate that only a single Minyan of just ten people is permitted in our building at any one time. Compounding the difficulty is the governor’s current restriction that only one small Minyan is allowed on the entire Shul premises, thereby disallowing use of the outdoor davening areas as well.

To summarize our paramount concerns and the need for full compliance:

  1. We must do our part in helping stem the current uptick, flatten the curve, and keep everyone safe and healthy so Yeshivos and Shuls can all fully open soon– and safely remain open.
  2. We must do our absolute utmost to prevent any slight Chillul Hashem and also preclude any and all possible ei’vah, any animosity, from all those scrutinizing the actions and behavior of Orthodox Jews at this time.
  3. We have already been recently visited by officials from the Department of Health (DOH), and have been warned that both the mayor and governor will likely be sending representatives to our neighborhood– with a threat of imposing fines up to $15,000 for any violations of the governor’s executive order. In addition to the primary concerns of preventing any Chillul Hashem and not arousing any animosity, we are also חס על ממונן של ישראל.

Even having to pen this e-mail pains us immeasurably. We are hurting beyond words. Hashem Yerachem Aleinu. We most certainly must continue to daven as passionately as possible for a yeshuah gedolah bi’karov and a quick end to all our tzaros and difficulties. But we also must do that which we feel is the right thing to do at this time, and work endlessly to always be מקדש שם שמים תמיד ולעולם.

In light of the above, we sadly must share with you the following:

  • Beginning TOMORROW morning, Hoshana Rabba Shacharis, there will only be a single Minyan of just ten (pre-authorized) people taking place on our Shul’s premises. We are still working on details, but must inform all our dear members and mispallelim that our beloved Shul will not be available for any additional Minyanim tomorrow and until further notice.   Most unfortunately, there will not be regular Minyanim on the Shul grounds at this time.
  • Those individuals who need to retrieve Tallis/Tefillin, Seforim, or any other personal belongings, please feel free to enter the Shul for the sole purpose of retrieving those items, but please ensure there are no more than five people inside the Shul at any time. We remind everyone that masks (covering both mouth and nose) must be worn whenever one enters the Shul building, and we reiterate our previous strong recommendation for all to don a mask anytime you are in any public area.
  • We daven and ask for your understanding, patience, and compliance, and implore you to seek other available options for Tefillah B’Tzibbur. One may daven at a safe (mask mandatory) and legal outdoor Minyan (backyard/porch) at this time, and indeed one may daven B’yechidus if Tefillah B’Tzibbur proves too difficult or impractical at this junction.

May HaKB”H answer all of our heartfelt tefillos and bakashos in the very near future, and may we merit to share only besuros tovos in this and all areas henceforth אי”ה.

We will certainly keep you updated and informed of any important details and changes as they arise. Please always feel free and comfortable to contact either one of us for questions or Chizzuk— it is our pleasure to assist in any way possible.

With warmest regards and very best wishes for a Gut Kvittel and only Kol Tuv always,

Rabbi Eytan Feiner

Rabbi Motti Neuburger


  1. The Shul is not totally closed. It is complying with regulations in recognition of the fact that we have the opportunity to be mekadesh Shem Shamayim or ch”v the opposite. Please correct your misleading title.

  2. I agree with you. Indeed, if everyone had followed the directives of the government, whether they agreed with them or not, whether they thought they were silly or not, we would not now be in this matzav and the Chilul Hashem would not have been made. Wasn’t it worth wearing a mask and practicing social distancing if it meant keeping our Shuls and yeshivas open?

  3. White shul member: So they can have 10 people, sooo your saying its still open somewhat? Is it not closed if they can have 10 people out of the hundreds that come every day??
    Very stupid statement. Would you rather the community not know and all the tons of people will still show up? Lol. Ummm yeah. Shuls closed unfortunately..

  4. The only Chillul Hashem is that you are willing to shut your doors over the threat of a $15,000 fine. Fight for your shul as though it’s your heart and soul.

  5. Disgraceful so sad and disheartening for the Jewish pple. Our foundation stood by fighting for religion our ancestors would get beaten to the core just to daven and here you are closing down over a fine !! Wow wow..

  6. Foolish people! Hashem will pay more attention to your prayers said at home than to those that create danger for your fellow man. Your so called pious behavior is a Chilul Hashem. Must your friends and family get sick and die to get you to comply?

  7. Keep the shul open , in direct violation of a government directive aimed at limiting the spread of a disease we had our share of opportunities to curb? Concerned and DM, your comments are terrifying , grossly irresponsible and show a compete lack of understanding of what it is to be a yid. We are visitors in this country, like we have been in everyone through our history. Be a good guest .

  8. The pandemic is over. Deaths and hospitalizations are declining week over week. The cases are indicative of testing. Half at least are false positives. Our rates are higher because we test less. There are more people positive outside the red, orange and yellow zones.
    This is a the biggest lie ever perpetrated in the name of public health in my lifetime. Read the day, don’t trust anyone. If the whole five towns tested we would be likely lower than Greenwich village. It’s is worth the lawsuit because it is unconstitutional. I always wondered why so many Jews did no little to fight back versus anti semitism throughout our history now I understand….

  9. When is it time to step up and fight back? Today it’s shuls and yeshivas but it won’t end here. What if the governor closes down our kosher supermarkets because the infection is out of control? Can we fight back then or are we just guests and we should stay quiet? Can we break the law if they ban bris mila (sounds far-fetched but this has already happened in Europe)? No one seems to understand that this is a slipper slope and even if things go back to normal without additional decrees against the Jews, do you remember what normal was? Armed security guards at the doors to our shuls and yeshivas, people being attacked on the street for wearing a yarmulke, and getting stabbed at Chanuka parties. Do you think being quiet now while the community is slandered will make life better when we get back to normal?

    For a people who have literally suffered persecution each and every generation throughout history, the inability to see past the surface and understand what is really going on is shocking. They are using the same playbook that has been used for 2,000 years but if we be quiet and are good guests, I’m sure nothing will happen. WAKE UP!!!

  10. We as yidden are blessesd in that we have a very clear path of how to live our lives. Guided by torah and our rabbanim. Do you know better than a tremendous gadol like Rabbi Feiner about how the torah expects us to behave in this situation ? You think he doesnt see the historic implications you guys refers to? Do you think he doesnt want to daven in a minyan as much as you tzadikim do? You follow your daas torah because we trust that he takes all these variables into account and makes painful decision on behalf of his kehilla. And yes ,,you are a guest; your entire life on this earth is as a guest .chillul hashem is whats at stake here. And if youre not educated about how grave an aveirah it is, you should spend your extra free time this yomtiv learning it up . Chag kasher. VESAMEACH!

  11. Yoel, you’re right, how can we even question the actions of a gadol like Rabbi Feiner! What a shame he and today’s Rabbonim weren’t around to enforce the closure of yeshivas in the days of Rabbi Akiva. They could’ve prevented that historic chilul hashem if only someone told Rabbi Akiva to just listen to the government and follow the rules!

    The reality is that life has been too good here and we enjoy the pleasures of this country too much to really assess what’s at stake here and to react appropriately. Why call it a sha’as hashmad and risk our next dinner at DOMA or our vacation to Florida in January? We can call any attempt to stand up for God a Chilul Hashem while davening in our beautiful homes and proclaiming we are yotzei V’Chai Bahem. It’s just so unfortunate that hundreds of thousands of Jews through the generations didn’t have this courageous daas torah and instead had to be die al chilul Hashem.

  12. This could have all been prevented by not making the big weddings and parties, not making the kiddushim and wearing the masks and social distancing all summer long.

    Too many people took a risk by doing what they wanted and they all lost!

    Shut up and stop complaining. Start listening and hopefully it’s not too late to stop the spread so we can get back to Shul and in person school.

    I am really afraid of what will be in two weeks after Simchas Torah. Hashem Yeracheim.

  13. The White Shul was practicing social distancing and masking per guidelines.
    To shut down just because Cuomo and De Blasio decide an arbitrary amount of people is a ‘danger’??!!
    I’m not advocating for wild parties but limiting the White Shul campus to 10 people is not science based.

  14. I agree with concerned 5t. The ” punishment ” is completely arbitrary and based on little more then a whim..That fact yidden have every right to protest and theyre doing it the AMERICAN way, through the agudah lawsuit being heard today..were talking about the jews that haven’t cared to comply all along and flouted the law with public maskless gatherings, and then crying 1939 when the government decided it needs to respond for the welfare of the public at large.. ..thats the chillul hashem.
    No one in this country has ever stopped us from davening to hashem ( bh).

  15. Where is the room for debate? Sure, challenge the law in court and voice your concern but unless and until the law is determined to be void …abide by it…its pretty simple

  16. Our grandparents were put in gas chambers, mass graves, medically experimented on- all so we can have the government control our freedom of religion and expression, yet again.

    Good job not standing up to a $15,000 fine. Rich idiots pay that for Psicha on yomim noraim- but God forbid we actually stand up to the complete destruction of our society.


  17. 5TR–Please stop the fear mongering and hyperbole. This isn’t about a 15K fine…its about following the current law and not creating further chilul hashem…let the court decide if your freedom of religion and expression are being illegally infringed

  18. 5TAnonymous
    You’re actually an idiot. Freedom to assemble and freedom of religion is in our constitution. It is absolutely illegal for them to force this upon us and emergency declarations are worthless. This has already been challenged in Michigan and other states.

    Why do Jews so willingly give up their freedoms and follow rules like obedient pigs. The rabbonim of our generation are cowards for closing souls in favor of this crap.

    Happy the Agudah stood up and filed an injunction.

    Sit back and enjoy the show.

  19. I am old enough to remember when Yeshiva University sent out a letter to the Johnson administration in support of the Viet Nam war so that the elite students could get a deferment and then serve as army chaplains.
    In the army the gentile ministers asked the jewish chaplains why the Jews killed Jesus
    Today we are stll responsible for that in the goyim’s minds and for this great pandemic as any goy wbo suffers from this is as a direct result of G d punishing the jewish people… If you want the pandemic to disapppear call for three days of fasting prayer and complete unity and Hashem will answer our tefillos…

  20. 5TR,

    i try not to call people names like idiot, so i will just say you are ignorant.

    The Supreme Court ruled in May 2020 (South Bay v. Newsom) that “Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports, and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time…The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable.”

    Perhaps the NY order is distinguishable but please stop with the ignorant, over the top rhetoric and comply with the law until otherwise invalidated

  21. 5TAnonymous

    Here’s some stats for you. Ignorant

    Corona Queens: 71% hispanic – 4662 cases per 100,000, not shut down

    elmhurst/airport: 55% hispanic – 4889 cases per 100,000, not shut down

    Allerton/northwood: 29% hispanic, 36% black -4647 cases per 100k, not shut down

    East NY: 39% hispanic, 45% black -4713 cases per 100,000, not shut down

    Jackson heights: 67% hispanic – 4611 cases per 100,000, not shut down

    boro park – 68% jewish – 3869 cases per 100,000, shut downs

    Crown heights mostly black but high jewish population, which has been a media and social media target: 2659 cases per 100,000, shutdowns

    Based on data 10/8/20

    Tell me this is what you expected. Go on.

  22. i completely agree if the executive order isn’t applied equally it is a big problem… if those facts are true that should be brought to everyone’s attention. thank you

  23. 5TR,

    You’re showing that there were more cases per 10000 in other areas that are Not being shutdown. What you fail to mention is that these cases are over a course of a long period of time. Your search needs to include a specific, short term time range and see how many positives in one zip code versus another in that specific current range..measuring the SPIKE and the speed of the spike in zip codes, not overall positives..that making sense ? My day job is as a Sheppard so unclear..

  24. Even if people think it is illogical for them to follow Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines, they should question if making a chilly Hashemite is worth it.

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