To My Dear Young Israel Beth El Members and Friends,
The Shul is celebrating one hundred years since it opened. I doubt that in all this time the Shul had to be closed for any day, let alone for a Shabbos. But now, with the dangerous Corona virus plague, we have been forced to take the heart wrenching but absolutely necessary step of suspending all Shiurim and Minyanim for the immediate near future. As soon as is possible we shall once again fill our Mikdash Me'at with the sounds of Torah learning and Teffilah.
This suspension was taken with the full support of our Rabbinic and lay leadership. Make no mistake, this virus is dangerous. Lives will be saved by limiting contact with others. If even one life will be saved, and I have been informed by medical professionals that many more than one life will be saved, then these extreme measures are proper.
The temporary closure carries with it the implicit message that no one should attend any Minyanim anywhere in our community. Only by strict adherence to these measures can the safety of our lives and those around us be protected.
Davening at home transforms our homes into a Shul. The Talmud in Megillah states that all Batei Knesses in the exile will one day be relocated to Yerushalayim. If we turn our home into a Shul, then our home too shall be moved to the Holiest place on Earth, Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh. It will take effort on our part, but I have no doubt that we are up to the task.
This will be an opportunity for us to increase our knowledge and understanding of our Teffilos, prayers, as we will have the opportunity to say them a bit more slowly, and with Kavannah, intent. We will also have the chance to spend time learning at home. This Shabbos, for example, will be an opportunity to read the Parsha and fulfill the Mitzvah of Shnayim Mikra V'Echad Targum. That is reading the Parsha twice in the original, and once in translation. Beyond that, we may even have the time to look into some explanations of various commentaries.
Although we want to be extremely careful of getting together with others in person, we still should reach out to others through the telephone, or through the use of computers. It is a blessing from Hashem that computers were invented before we were faced with this problem of isolation. It's another example of Hashem preparing the Refuah (healing) before the makkah (sickness).
The challenges facing us individually and collectively are unprecedented. May Hashem give us the fortitude to get through this difficult time admirably. Let us strive to be somewhat improved in our Torah study, Mitzvah observance, and Davening during this hopefully brief time of challenge.
May we all be blessed with good health.
Shabbat Shalom UmeVorach.
Rabbi Moshe Snow, Morah D'Asra
Judd Odzer, President
Dovid Beck, Chairman of the Board