Let’s face it. Who is most affected by the closures of the synagogues around the world? The Orthodox of course, because they are the main Jewish sect that goes to the synagogue.
While the other sects go to the synagogue, many Jews go once or twice a year on the high holidays, the Orthodox are in the synagogue three times a day.
This is why it has been so hard on us. It has never happened in our lifetimes, but we know it happened in the not so recent past when the synagogues were attacked in Germany on Kristallnacht and many other times in Jewish history.
There is still much anti-semitism in the world. In this current coronavirus crisis, Jews are already being blamed for the spread of the virus as a new cause for anti-semitism as if a new one was needed.
I just wrote a couple of days ago that the most likely reason for the spread of the virus so rapidly in the Jewish communities around the world was probably the fact that Purim came just before social distancing went into effect (just 30 days ago believe it or not we were in a different world), and as a family holiday, many Jews were in the synagogue or at Purim gatherings spreading at the time unknowingly the disease.
Anyway, it has happened. Orthodox Jews being Jews, reacted with the brains and started outdoor minyons outside, which seemed to make sense. If I am outside with six feet from my neighbor, it is no more dangerous than being outside. In addition, no one is now talking in shul because we are too far from our neighbor.
Outside davening lasted only about a week, because in Bnai Brak it wasn’t followed and the Haradim stayed in the synagogues, forcing a ban on all davening. A sledgehammer was used to solve the problem and now for the first time in many of our lives, we could not be in the synagogue to hear the Torah read or to say Kaddish.
Outside davening was a reasonable compromise and was thrown away much too quickly. If we are on lock-down, there is no choice, but there are usually 100 people in the supermarket that we go to, but taking a chance with 10 healthy people was thrown away without much complaint.
Of course, if someone is sick, then it is not safe, but hopefully, people knowing the risk, would not come if they were sick. Anyway, it is gone for now.
We are now experiencing Judaism without the Synagogue. It is not the first time, we have had a radical change. At the destruction of the second temple, the great sages had to reinvent Judaism without a temple.
Now we are inventing Judaism without a synagogue. The world is a little different than at the time of the destruction of the temple. We have the computer, and modern technology.
What was happening last year that has been forgotten so quickly because of the virus? Synagogues in Pittsburg and Poway were broken into and people killed with the new antisemitism. Nut jobs used to have some fear of G-d and would not attack people in a place of worship. That is all changed. In Israel in Har Nof (part of Jerusalem) in 2014, Arabs walked into a synagogue and slaughtered four people. This was Israel where people are used to being butchered so there wasn’t much of an outcry. When it happened in two synagogues in the states in 2019, voices were much louder.
Maybe G-d is giving us this easy warning of moving Judaism outside of the synagogue, because worst times are coming. The Orthodox would not give up the synagogue so easily if there wasn’t this precedent.
Maybe this is the reason this is happening, to give us a warning of future times when we have to abandon the synagogue? I hope not, but food for thought
Love Yehuda Lave
its Easter soon, but it is the Jews that are looking for Eggs!
A Girl’s Best Friend
A woman named Judy walks into a dinner party with a much older man. At dinner, the lady sitting next to the woman turns to her and says, “My, that’s a beautiful diamond you’re wearing. In fact, I think it’s the most beautiful diamond I have ever seen!”
“Thank you,” replies Judy. “This is the Plotnick Diamond.”
“The Plotnick Diamond? Is there a story to it?”
“Oh yes, the diamond comes with a curse.”
“A curse?” asks the lady. “What curse?”