Dear Ohr HaTorah Family,

The following statement, of which I am a signatory, is going out to the broader Atlanta Orthodox community. It's been really wonderful seeing the Atlanta Orthodox rabbinate come together in leading the community as we  jointly navigate the complexities of the time.

As I referenced on the Zoom membership meeting call, I have formed a committee to help determine the timetable and particular details that we feel make most sense for our community within these guidelines. This committee has representation from the medical, health, ritual, security and board leadership perspectives from our community.

According to the statement, this Monday is an earliest permissible start date from a communal perspective, however "each shul will determine the exact date for partial re-opening based on its physical set-up, membership, and ability to ensure compliance with established protocols." Ohr HaTorah will not be starting outdoor minyan by this Monday but we plan to announce soon when and  how we will commence in a safe and responsible manner. 

With blessing for continued health and a Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Adam Starr
Statement on Partial Re-Opening of Shuls
by Atlanta’s Orthodox Synagogue Rabbis
As we indicated in our communication of May 6, we have been monitoring the situation closely to determine if, how, and when we might begin a safe return to communal davening.

After consultation with local health officials familiar with our situation and studying the guidelines issued by national Orthodox organizations, we have concluded that, on a severely limited basis, it is reasonable for shuls in our area to begin gathering outdoors for minyan (see guidelines below), beginning this coming Monday, May 18, with one gathering per day, either for Shacharis or Mincha/Maariv, and none on Shabbos.

Not all shuls will function on the same timetable, each one will determine the exact date for partial re-opening based on its physical set-up, membership, and ability to ensure compliance with established protocols.

The ban on privately held minyanim continues.

Future steps, always conforming to Georgia and local statutes, will be determined in tandem with health officials after monitoring relevant data and other factors, including our ability to conform to protocols for these outside minyanim as well as continued compliance with other social distancing measures. We will also be informed by the experience of other communities.

We are dealing with a volatile, sneaky, and deadly virus. This first step in partially resuming minyan should not be seen as a signal to let our guard down. We must continue to practice social distancing and restrictions on hosting for Shabbos and visitors from out of town.

We commend the members of our community for their disciplined adherence to these guidelines, which must continue. We are united in our goal to sanctify G-d’s name always: before, during, and after a crisis such as Covid-19. We pray that we emerge from this crisis focused more than ever on this lofty mission, guided by halachic principles governing both our obligations in prayer as well as our duty to protect life.  

General Guidelines for Outside Synagogue Minyanim
  1. Either Shacharis or Mincha/Maariv only.
  2. Registration required with your shul (information to follow).
  3. No access to Shul building by participants in minyan (no bathroom access).
  4. Social distance of at least 8 feet; masks required.
  5. Each service capped at 15 person maximum; multiple parallel services allowed.
  6. No children.
  7. Senior citizens over 65 or people from households with immunosuppressed occupants strongly discouraged from attending, even if saying kaddish.
  8. No one with any symptoms other than known allergies, even if saying kaddish.
  9. No immunosuppressed individuals, even if saying kaddish.
  10. Bring your own siddur.
  11. No visitors from out-of-town may attend.
  12. In the event of rain, there will be no minyan. No minyanim will be hosted inside.

Rabbi Yehuda Boroosan, Congregation Netzach Israel
Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman, Congregation Beth Jacob
Rabbi Dov Foxbrunner, Congregation Beth Jacob
Rabbi Binyomin Friedman, Congregation Ariel
Rabbi Menachem Gurary, Chabad Israeli Center
Rabbi Karmi Ingber, The Kehilla in Sandy Springs
Rabbi Shmuel Khoshkerman, Congregation Ner Hamizrach
Rabbi Yossi Lerman, Chabad of Gwinnett
Rabbi Levi Mentz, Chabad of Forsyth
Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz, Chabad of North Fulton
Rabbi Yale New, Chabad of Toco Hills
Rabbi Yossi New, Chabad of Georgia-Congregation Beth Tefillah
Rabbi Dr. Don Seeman, New Toco Shul
Rabbi Ephraim Silverman, Chabad of Cobb
Rabbi Adam Starr, Congregation Ohr HaTorah
Copyright © 2020 Congregation Ohr HaTorah, All rights reserved.

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