The forced closure of our shuls and schools is undeniably a source of tremendous anguish for our community. Further, Agudath Israel of America regards some of the rhetoric that has accompanied such closures as dangerous, with potential to foment those already too eager to hate us, chas v’sholom.
Rather than focus on our anguish, however real, we reorient toward the steps Agudath Israel and our communities can take toward hastening the reopening of our mosdos.
These times require a multi-prong approach:
Agudath Israel will be organizing a Kinnus Tefila V’hisorirus in the days ahead to address this unprecedented challenge. Circumstances do not allow mass gatherings and tefila as the situation merits, but we are formulating plans to foster the spirit of unity and gain inspiration and clarity from our Gedolei Yisroel. Details to follow.
Continue to employ safe COVID health practices. Wear a mask, social distance, and strictly isolate if symptomatic or test positive. We neither act appropriately solely because government has asked it, nor do we act unsafely simply to spite it. We follow these practices due to a Higher Source, and our Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah have voiced this, on more than one occasion. In addition, such practices, and the lowering of cases, will hasten our reopening timeframe.
We encourage, and are working with community partners to organize, mass testing initiatives. See a video from HaRav Elya Brudny, HaRav Yisroel Reisman and HaRav Moshe Tuvia Lieff conveying this message. Many of our communities test in significantly below average numbers. The enhanced testing initiatives will not only isolate positive and asymptomatic cases, but will ensure the full population is tested and safe, and more accurately represent our population’s case rates. We are already seeing encouraging results from the efforts in New York, and we encourage similar efforts across the country for areas experiencing higher infection rates.
We are continuing to talk with the Governor and his staff to press for a safe but swift return for reopening.
To aid in this effort, we will be organizing an outreach component to the Governor. Details to follow.
Following the extreme form of immediate relief Agudath Israel pursued Erev Yom Tov (temporary restraining order), several other cases are pending. We are monitoring all these cases and keeping all legal options open.
May Hashem have rachmonus and grant us a swift yeshua from this crisis.
October 16th, 2020