Dear Community Members,
As we are all aware, there has been a significant increase of COVID cases locally. We are encouraged by the careful adherence to the safety precautions that our synagogues have undertaken in order to enable safe, outdoor, masked and distanced minyanim to continue. These minyanim are COVID-compliant, outdoor events, in line with the latest LA Department of Health guidelines, where we work together to ensure that health protocols are always being observed. We are happy that we have this safe, religious and social outlet and strongly encourage everyone to maintain very careful compliance with all of the safety requirements and protocols, both within the synagogue minyanim and in all areas of our private lives.
With Chanukah upon us and the surge in COVID cases seriously increasing, we especially remind everyone to abide by the CDC recommendations and by the local government guidelines that state that no private social gatherings of any size should take place except with the members of your own household. To do otherwise, even in the celebration of Chanukah, is a violation of Halakha, which requires that we don't put our health and the health of others in danger. In addition, all of us, young and old, and including children, must always wear face coverings when we are outdoors. Scenes of unmasked children and adults gathering in Circle Park for example, raise great alarm for the health of our community.
Furthermore, after careful consultation with our own medical advisors and national vaccine experts, as well as respected Poskim, we strongly endorse everyone’s taking the COVID vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you. This is based on Jewish values requiring us all to care for our own health, including taking preventative measures, and to demonstrate concern for the health of others.
Given what we have learned, we are confident that any of the vaccines that are approved by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization are safe and effective, and we are encouraged by the potential they hold to eventually enable communal life to return to some sense of normalcy. We will ourselves be volunteering to be vaccinated as soon as we have the opportunity, and are very hopeful that others will as well.
With wishes for health and strength,
Rabbi Kalman Topp, Beth Jacob Congregation
Rabbi Pini Dunner, Beverly Hills Synagogue
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, Bnai David-Judea Congregation
Rabbi Jason Weiner, Knesset Israel, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Rabbi Elazar Muskin, Young Israel of Century City