Religious schools cancel classes to check Coronavirus outbreak

On the heels of news that the Jefferson County Public Schools will be closed for three weeks due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Jewish Louisville has followed suit, calling off classes at its religious schools.
LBSY, which serves children in grades K-8 from Adath Jeshurun, Keneseth Israel, Temple Shalom and unaffiliated families, announced Friday that it is canceling classes for next two weeks. The school will then be on spring break.
Likewise, The Temple Religious School and High School for Jewish Studies are closing for three weeks.
Also, in a reversal of a previous decision, The Temple has announced that it will cancel religious services this weekend. AJ, KI and Temple Shalom have already called off their services. Anshei Sfard and Chabad say they will hold theirs as usual, though they have asked worshippers not to shake hands and, if they do feel ill, to pray at home. (Chabad will not hold a communal dinner of a kiddush after services.)
The cancellation of Shabbat services is honoring a request by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear earlier this week that religious groups not hold their services, supporting the statewide effort to halt the spread of the Coronavirus.
At his Friday press briefing at Metro Hall, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, surrounded by religious leaders and city officials, thanked those faith groups that had complied with the governor’s request.
“It’s heartening to see the response of our faith community,” Fischer said, “by them saying this is bigger than any one of our organizations, so the way that we can show our love to each other, the love to the God that we worship, is to say we want to make sure that we’re preserving our health and the lives of each other.”
Rabbis Robert Slosberg of AJ and Beth Jacowitz Chottiner of Temple Shalom were on the dais with Fischer
Jacowitz Chottiner addressed the gathering.
“Being that God is omnipresent, we know that we can connect with our divine creator in our homes when it is not prudent to gather in our sanctuaries,” Jacowitz Chottiner said.
Dr. Muhammad Babar, a geriatric specialist and interfaith leader in Louisville, who also spoke, urged those houses of worship that decided to continue with their worship services to reconsider their decisions, calling it a “moral duty.”
“As a physician, as a person of faith, it is better to be safe than sorry” Babar said.

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