Responding to a request from Gov. Andy Beshear, three of Louisville’s synagogues are canceling services over Shabbat and Sunday to help check the spread of the coronavirus.
Adath Jeshurun, Keneseth Israel and Temple Shalom reported Wednesday that they will not hold Shabbat services this weekend.
In addition, AJ and KI will not hold regular minyans on Sunday, and AJ is postponing its annual music festival, which also was set for that day. The show will be rescheduled, Rabbi Robert Slosberg said. AJ has also canceled its Friday afternoon minyan.
Temple Shalom will not hold Shabbat services for the next two weekends, said its president, Dr. Rich Goldwin, in a letter to the congregation.
“In spite of all of the vigilance we have been practicing, it is probably better that we not hold services at least for the next two weekends, March 13-14 and March 19-20,” Goldwin said. “The office will remain open [for] the usual business hours (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)
The Temple and Anshei Sfard will hold services as scheduled.
Rabbi Simcha Snaid of Anshei Sfard said he told his worshippers not to shake hands or stay away altogether if they feel sick.
“If anyone has any flulike symptoms, it is halachically forbidden for them to come to the synagogue,” Snaid said. “I have told the shul and I’ll tell them again, the reason it is forbidden is you are putting people in danger.”’
Likewise, the Temple is taking precautions to limit large gatherings over 100 people,” Executive Director Craig Goldstein said in a letter to the members.
The Temple is encouraging seniors and “at-risk members to observe Shabbat at home or to follow services via livestream, Goldstein said. Those who come to services will meet in the main sanctuary, allowing more space between worshippers. Space in the building is regularly sanitized and oneg Shabbat treats will be prepacked.
KI will hold weekday minyans Thursday, but in the main sanctuary “to enable people to sit a minimum of six feet apart as recommended by the CDC,” said synagogue leaders in a letter to members. KI also has hired a professional cleaning company to clean the building on Sunday, according to the letter.
Slosberg said AJ’s executive committee, which will meet Thursday, will take up the idea of streaming services. “We have been talking about doing it,” he said. “Now, there is a greater urgency.”
In a Wednesday update on the spread of coronavirus in Kentucky, Beshear cited “community spread,” the transmission of the virus from person to person, as his basis for urging houses of worship to curtail services.
“That has been expected,” Beshear said of the spread. “We are ready for it; that is always what we expected to see.”