Statement of the Vaad HaRabbanim of Baltimore, Mar. 19, 2020 @ 8:38 PM

By BJLife Newsroom
Posted on 03/19/20

Statement of the Vaad HaRabbanim of Baltimore
Thursday, March 19, 2020


To the Baltimore Jewish Community,


Given the increased incidence of COVID-19 cases in our community, and the accompanying danger that the virus poses, we have previously directed all Baltimore shuls to close their physical facilities. The very fact that we have made this unprecedented decision should impress upon every member of our community the seriousness of the situation.  Daily life cannot proceed as usual and significant lifestyle changes must be made. This is our opportunity to respond as Yidden (Jews) should under such difficult circumstances – with appropriate spiritual and physical responses, grounded in medical and rabbinic direction, and confidence that this approach represents the ratzon Hashem (will of G-d).


The following guidelines should be implemented immediately and until further notice. As this is a matter of sakanas nefashos (risk to life), it is the responsibility of every individual to adhere to these protocols diligently, and it is a grave aveira (sin) to be lenient:




• There should be no minyanim, shiurim, or learning done in any shul facilities, whether indoors or outdoors.

• There should be no private minyanim of any sort.

• There should be no playgroups or babysitting groups.

There should be no playdates among children.




We must feel pain and cry that we have reached this point. It is unprecedented and frightening not to have the shemira (protection) of our shuls and batei medrash (houses of study).


We must understand that Hashem always hears our tefillos; and therefore:




Our wonderful chesed organizations and many individuals are working feverishly to meet the needs of our community and also provide up-to-the-minute information. Resources for information sharing and other forms of assistance are in development and will be deployed shortly.


If you have any questions about the content or application of these guidelines, please contact your Rav for guidance and clarification.


To reiterate, each member of our community must adopt an appropriate safety posture and follow everything written in this letter, as well as all guidelines provided by the CDC and other applicable government agencies.  May we merit Rachamei Shamayim (Heavenly mercy) to return to our shuls and our normal lives in short order.


The Vaad HaRabbanim of Baltimore


**Adapted with permission from a statement of the Chicago Rabbinical Council and Agudath Israel of Illinois.