Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

Why Close Synagogues?

One devastating by product of the virus in my opinion has been the controversial role which the synagogue has played in the fight against the virus. From the outset, the houses of worship became targeted as the centers for disease infestation and so the verdict – shut them down.

And now on the eve of the holiest day of the year, again the issue becomes the focal point for deliberation. Why? What is it about the synagogue makes it the focal point of so much discussion?

What is the message that we are sending when the one place which should be the bastion for united expression of prayers to the almighty suddenly becomes the unsafe disseminator of infectious disease?

And this speaks to the heart of the issue – is any place really safe if our centers which were intended historically to be the miniature replicas of the holiest temple are locked up and the Do Not Enter sign plastered on the door?

I would argue that instead of closing every synagogue in the same manner as restaurants or cultural centers that for this Yom Kippur we open every single synagogue and fill every single seat with a determination and demand that this virus come to an end – and why do we merit this demand being answered?

Because when we are United we are unstoppable – we are the eternal people and we know that historically our Unity has been the glue that has saved us through every Laban who was out to destroy us as we say in the Haggadah.

Through our collective outcry this Yom Kippur with the synagogues wide open – we have the potential to prove not only to Hashem, but to ourselves that Love can conquer and that we deserve to be sealed for a year of good health and prosperity.

One caveat that with the synagogues wide open we act in a responsible manner with Health Ministry regulations adhered to – just out of mutual respect to one another – another symbol of our ability to demonstrate Unity!!

Wishing you a gmar chatima tova

About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum. On November 8, 2017, Together in Happiness co-hosted with MK Yehudah Glick a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education
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