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COVID-19 Update from our Rabbi

To the Beit Tzion Community,

After serious consideration and consultation with medical and rabbinic authorities, we will be closing the in-person components of our shul - this includes all minyanim, shiurim, or social gatherings.

This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make, and I appreciate the board's support.  We will be coming up with ways to connect through video chats and other means, please stand by as we figure them out.

Not only are we closing, but it is also now forbidden to attend any minyan for the foreseeable future.  The Va'ad HaRabonim, COR, Hatzolah, Bikur Cholim, and others have issued a joint statement that all minyanim must cease to meet and all further davening and learning should be happening individually.  The only dispensation is for those with a parental yahrtzeit, may join a minyan on that day only.  If a minyan is not available, please be in touch to find out options.

The closing of our shuls is not taken lightly and so people must take the seriousness of the situation to heart.  Please limit your social interactions, maintaining 2m from other people.  Even in places where people aren't, lead by example.  

These measures are here to not only keep us safe but also to protect our most vulnerable.

At the same time, we must not forget about the people in our community, both the shul and wider.  Please take the time to check in on people - either outside their houses or virtually.  Help provide necessities for those who are unable to go out. At these times a phonecall and a smile can help fend off the isolation people are going to start experiencing.

I want to close with the wise words of Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who tells people who (due to medical need) must eat on Yom Kippur and are heartbroken by that. He says, there is not really a separate mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur. The Mitzvah Hakolelet, the greatest and most overarching Mitzvah, is to do what God says to do. For most people, that’s fasting on Yom Kippur; for some, it’s eating. Both are fulfilling Ratzon Hashem (God’s will) equally in the different ways they are supposed to.

The same applies here. There is not really a separate mitzvah to daven with a minyan, to say Kaddish, etc. The great mitzvah is to do what God says to do. Most times, that’s davening with a minyan. In our difficult times, we are just as much fulfilling Ratzon Hashem by not doing that but doing what is necessary to save lives.

May we continue to fulfill Ratzon Hashem to the best of our ability, always asking, “what does God want from me today?” Answering that question honestly, and living our lives by that answer.



Rabbi Aaron Katchen


Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784