2020-5-21 Vaad Letter PDF available to view.

27 Iyar 5780

May 21, 2020

To the Detroit Jewish Community,

As Michigan’s number of COVID-19 cases continues to steadily decline B”H, and as more safety restrictions are slowly and safely lifted, the Rabbonim have decided that it is time to begin plans to safely restart minyanim.

It is critical to realize that even as these steps are taken, the pandemic is not over. It is not yet safe to return to normal, and continued adherence to health guidelines remains crucial. How and when each shul can safely reopen in compliance with the recommended safety measures depends on the individual needs of each shul. The size and layout of their physical structure, the age and risk-factors of their members, and the ability to monitor and enforce their specific guidelines are just some of the factors each shul needs to consider as to when and how they will reopen.

Because of the myriad of factors that create different situations, we have collectively decided that each shul will open at a time and in a way that is best suited for its constituency and physical layout. Each Rov will decide for his kehilla how and when to open. We ask that you consult with your shul leadership for specific details. The collective voice of the Vaad Harabbonim calls upon each member of our community to diligently adhere to the specific guidelines set forth by each of our Rabbonim.

Members of the community should realize that davening in shul will look different than it did prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of mispallelim permitted at any one time will, for now, be limited. Additionally, each Shul is required to maintain proper social distancing and the wearing of masks as legally mandated.

The Vaad encourages those davening with a minyan to only join a minyan that is under the auspices of a Rov who will set specific guidelines and oversee that all safety precautions are adhered to. All minyanim, including outdoor minyanim, must follow the following minimal guidelines:

  • Each minyan should have someone appointed to monitor and ensure that safety guidelines are being adhered to at all times.
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet must be safely maintained at all times.
  • Masks must be worn at all times.
  • Minyanim inside homes are not permitted, even in the event of inclement weather.
  • Outdoor minyanim should be held only in enclosed areas or other areas away from public view.
  • Anyone who feels ill or has any symptoms of COVID-19, or has had recent contact with an individual who has COVID-19, should remain at home. Anyone who thinks they may have COVID-19 should remain at home for at least 14 days after symptoms have resolved.
  • Anyone over 65 should not participate in a minyan without express permission from their personal physician.
  • Anyone at high risk of complications from COVID-19 should remain at home.
  • Absolutely no congregating is allowed before or after minyan.

The easing of restrictions on minyanim should not be viewed as a relaxing of general adherence to social distancing. These guidelines apply to tefilla b’tzibbur only. All other restrictions remain unchanged.

We fervently daven to the Ribbono Shel Olam that He should send good health to all, and that He continue to protect our community and all of Klal Yisroel.

May we merit Yeshuos and Refuos soon,

Rabbi Chaim Moshe Bergstein

Rabbi Avrohom Bleich

Rabbi Yosef Bromberg

Rabbi Avi Cohen

Rabbi Shmuel Irons

Rabbi Levi Jundef

Rabbi Shaya Katz

Rabbi Simcha Klein

Rabbi Ari Kostelitz

Rabbi Boruch Levin

Rabbi Yisroel Menachem Levin

Rabbi Yechiel Morris

Rabbi Moshe Radner

Rabbi Elimelech Silberberg

Rabbi Chaim Gershon Steinmetz

Rabbi Yissachar Wolf

Rabbi Eli Yelen