Hearing the Megilla for Those Who Cannot Go to Shul

by R. Daniel Mann Question: If one who is not a ba’al koreh cannot make it to shul to hear Megillat Esther (e.g., if the pandemic will preclude one from coming), how else can he fulfill the mitzva of hearing it? Answer: (For those who can hear from a distance, not being in shul is not a problem; if they ...

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Workplace Requirement for Vaccination

by R. Daniel Mann Question: [This question was sent by a European rabbi.] A business owner demands that his employees be vaccinated against Corona due to the type of work done and makes them sign a waiver of claims for damages stemming from the vaccine. Can an employer make such a demand and transfer risk to a reluctant employee?  Answer: ...

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Behavior during Kedusha of Street Minyanim

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My neighborhood is filled with outdoor Covid 19 minyanim.  I was walking down the street on Shabbat and a minyan across the street was in the middle of Kedusha. In such cases, do I need to stop, keep my feet together, and respond to Kedusha until they are done, or may I continue walking? Answer: ...

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Living Halachically, And Mathematically, During This Pandemic

by R. Gil Student I usually enjoy Rabbi Chananya Weissman’s opinion pieces, whether I agree with him or not. His latest article, however – “Herd Immunity or Herd Insanity?” (The Jewish Press, January 1) – sadly misfires. Rabbi Weissman claims that if you don’t shake hands with others and kiss the Torah in an outdoors minyan, you are a paranoid hypochondriac. ...

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Shul Challenges: Engaging Young Adults After COVID-19

by R. Aton Holzer, MD There has been a considerable amount of discussion online regarding the return to normalcy in Jewish communal life, and in particular, to the shul, after the pandemic has finally concluded. Anecdotally, rabbis have particularly noted the absence of young families in synagogue participation during this time, even to the extent allowed, and in activities that ...

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Arts and Crafts on Chol Hamoed During Coronavirus

by R. Gil Student Children are off from school and the schools are warning parents to avoid risky situations. Some are in quarantine. Many of the regular Chol Hamoed attractions are closed and those that are open may not seem sufficiently safe to concerned parents. What can you do over a full five-day Chol Hamoed? One possibility is arts and ...

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Corona Policies and Clarifications for Yom Kippur

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We will review some practical issues for Yom Kippur that are likely to come up this year, in the shadow of Corona. Although local rabbis will address many of them and public policy may change, we assume our discussion will be helpful.   Answer: 1. Pushing oneself to daven with a minyan – Regarding most of ...

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A Derashah During A Plague

by R. Gil Student The 1848 (5608-9) cholera epidemic has become famous in Jewish history because it was the moment when the 37-year old Rav Yisrael Salanter first took on a leadership role. Rav Dov Katz, in his Tenu’as Ha-Mussar (vol. 1, ch. 12), describes how Rav Yisrael mobilized a rescue effort, secured a 1,500 bed hospital and volunteer doctors ...

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What I Learned From Coronavirus

by R. Gil Student My local community magazine, The Jewish Echo, asked its writers and staff for brief comments about what they learned from the pandemic. Here is my contribution: In times of crisis, our community unites in overwhelming acts of chessed. We excel at that. We naturally respond to a crisis by looking for opportunities to help others. As beautiful as this ...

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P’sak Halacha during a Modern Pandemic – Interim View

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My own question: What observations can we make about the way halachic rulings were made and disseminated during the first stage of the coronavirus crisis?  Answer: As a “student of the history of the halachic process,” I find breathtaking the difference in the tools available in reaching halachic rulings and sharing them in today’s society ...

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