Sunday, July 19, 2020

Maximum Attendance Should be PERCENTAGES, Not Numbers, Life in Corona COVID-19 Lock-down

When the Israeli Government announced "corona gifts" of money to help citizens out without proving poverty or restricting the money to the lower income bracket, I davka agreed. It would cost more to do the bureaucratic bookkeeping to enforce the restrictions than they would save. But when it comes to announcing maximum attendance in synagogues, restaurants, social halls the situation is completely different. These places are supposed to have a maximum capacity listed in their permits. And if they don't for whatever reason, a simple calculation can be made according to the size. For argument's sake, I suggest thirty percent 30% of maximum capacity, and if there hadn't been one set, then 20% of recommended capacity. Any restaurant which is then limited to under ten people will be take-out only. And any synagogue too small for even ten to fit by these standards must be closed.

More about the synagogues, for example here in Shiloh, there are large synagogues that were built to normally seat well over a hundred worshipers comfortably, and there are others that utilize small prefabricated shelters. In the large synagogues it's certainly easy to arrange safe seating for dozens of worshipers keeping their required distance. On the other hand the smaller building may not even be large enough for even a minyan quorum of ten, if they carefully follow social distancing regulations.

The government's "one size fits all" ruling is idiotic and counter-productive. There is no other way to put it.

A synagogue as large as the main synagogue in Shiloh,  Mishkan Tabernacle Synagogue, certainly has room for over 50 worshipers to sit safely, according to social distancing and another 20 or more upstairs in the Ezrat Nashim, Women's Section.


5 comments:

goyisherebbe said...

I don't know what you are doing in Shiloh, but we in Kochav Hashachar have divided the shuls into "capsules" with wooden frames holding up plastic sheets, with the people in the different capsules having a separate entrance/exit. I am pretty sure that the large shuls are allowed to take that into account. Percentages don't work if all the people are likely to interact. That is what the capsules are for. Check out what the gabbai in your shul or the person in the yishuv dealing with corona says.

Batya said...

We also have a bunch of outdoor minyanim. But the Rav sent out a standardized 10 per shul dictate according to govt orders. It doesn't matter how large the shul.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Governments have a hard time doing things that are not idiotic. It requires too much subtility

Sammy Finkelman said...

One person, if it is the wrong person, doing the wrong thing (and possibly sitting too close) can infect and bring about the death of someone:

Rabbi Harry Maryles told a story here:

http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2020/07/adhere-to-all-rules.html

When a 98 year old person passes away, it is not all that remarkable. But not so in this case....

.....Rabbi Ashkenazi lived in Batei Ungarin in Jerusalem and was very careful in recent months not to go to Shul but hoped that the danger of the coronavirus would pass so that he could return to praying there. When the public thought that the danger of coronavirus had passed in late May, the 98-year-old rabbi decided to go to shul.

However Kikar Hashabat reports that Rav Shmuel did not know that one of the worshipers had COVID-19 and apparently had come to shul despite suffering from the symptoms of the virus. The patient sat not far from Rabbi Ashkenazi and soon afterwards the tell-tale signs of the virus appeared on Rabbi Ashkenazi. After a few weeks he succumbed to the virus.....


Batya said...

sadly true