- Greetings to all,
A New Halakhic Ruling On Virtual Minyanim:
Due to it being a
(Urgent times) and because of sources cited below, I have decided to permit at Beth El the joining of ten Jewish adults to constitute a
through Zoom (video conference), where at least 10 Jewish adults can see each other, in order to say
One of the most important ways we as Jews seek hope, inspiration, and connection - both with each other and with God - is through prayer and ritual. It is therefore particularly jarring and difficult that we cannot gather in person to pray. There is a term in Jewish law for conditions such as these, when there is disruption that poses a significant threat and forces us to change our practices. This term is
Sha’at Dehak -
A time of great urgency. According to Jewish law, the presiding rabbis have more latitude in making adjustments to Jewish law, in order to preserve core elements of our practice.
It is true that Jews can officially fulfill their obligation to pray by doing so individually at home. However, the spiritual/emotional component of
as a community (especially when we feel so isolated) paired with the need for many to recite Mourner’s
carries special resonance. It is already widely accepted that if there is a physically constituted
of ten, others can join the
virtually, by video conference or even by phone if necessary. In addition, the classic sources themselves (
Shulhan Arukh Orah Hayyim
55:14) open the possibility that there may be an exception to requiring ten to be
present for a
by allowing people to make
even if they are apart, as long as one can see the faces of the other participants: “One who is standing behind the synagogue, with a window between that person and the congregation, even if it is several stories up and less than four cubits wide, and who shows his face to them, may combine with them to form a
Additionally, as the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards writes, “The possibility of a
being constituted by people who are not physically near each other is further expanded by Rabbi Yitzhak Zilberstein in
21b (p. 135), where he permits constituting a minyan for
(Mourner’s Kaddish) where people are scattered in a field but can still see each other. Very recently Rabbi Haim Ovadia called attention to this source, arguing in favor of constituting a
by means of real-time video and audio connection between ten Jews.
Due to it being a
and because of these sources I have decided to permit at Beth El the joining of ten Jewish adults to constitute a
through Zoom (video conference), where at least 10 Jewish adults can see each, in order to say
Therefore, starting Sunday we will hold daily
via Zoom both in the morning at 8:45 and in the evening at 7:30. See the links below:
Daily Morning Minyan:
Daily Evening Minyan:
Over Shabbat we cannot use electronic platforms but we are offering services right before Shabbat and Havdalah right after!
Join us tonight at 6pm for Rinat Shabbat Kabbalat Shabbat services
and Saturday at 8pm for Havdalah services
on Facebook Live.
In addition your clergy would like to learn with you! We bring you
5 at 5
when you can connect with your Beth El clergy every day. At 5 PM, the clergy will share a brief (under 5 minutes) thought about the
or something else Jewish that's on their minds. Tune in on Facebook Live on our Facebook page to join in.
Finally, we will be offering once a week
Lunch and Learn
programs. I will offer the first on Wednesday 3/25 at 1pm when we can discuss the issue of virtual
in more depth.
We may have to distance ourselves physically but let's do all we can to come together in every other way possible! Shabbat Shalom!