A leading modern orthodox rabbi has sanctioned ‘outdoor minyanin’ under strict guidelines.
Rabbi Eliezer Zobin, in a post on the modern orthodox shul, Ner Yisrael’s, website, wrote that, “participants must remain in their own gardens” and that the “residents of every neighbouring garden must be okay with minyanim taking place”. He added that: “vulnerable people should not participate – and anyone with COVID symptoms, or members of their household, must not join a minyan”.
In line with medical and government guidelines Minyan participants cannot enter each other’s properties, nor can the Minyan take place in communal gardens – such as in a block of flats – or in public spaces – like parks, the pavement or road. “This is a particular risk with front garden Minyanim, said Rabbi Zobin”.
The announcement opens the way for neigbouring families reaching a total of 10 men over barmitzvah to say prayers together, and hear the reading of the Torah.
In a move in response to public concerns about minyanim currently taking place in front gardens, Rabbi Zobin, consulted his community’s medical experts to come up with a regulations that are even stricter than the government’s, saying, “social distancing must be maintained, with at least two metres between each person in their different gardens.”
“No indoor minyanim can be held at all, and if it rains the minyan must be terminated rather than move indoors,” he added.