Dear PHS Family,
It’s hard to believe that the last time we were all together was on Purim. Unbeknown to us, the madness and unpredictability of the holiday was a foreshadowing for the weeks and months to come. Shavuot, though, promises us something different.
At its core, Shavuot celebrates new hope, kindness, and perseverance. It also offers us a valuable blueprint for navigating our next phase as we begin to plan how and when to reopen our doors. The Sfas Emes teaches that the complete presence of the Jewish people served as a prerequisite for receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. It was the collective power of the community that allowed us to receive the Torah. With one person missing, the Torah is not only diminished but unable to be given over.
This is crucial wisdom to internalize after last week’s announcement from Governor Cuomo allowing religious gatherings of 10 people. This is certainly a promising step as we move in the right direction in combating the virus. However, for our community, this type of religious gathering is not yet a viable option. We want to prioritize the specific needs of our community and the limitations of our space with our bedrock ethos -- to be inclusive of all members of our community.
The leadership of PHS has been closely monitoring the situation and is assembling a planning committee to focus on three main efforts:
(i) to obtain and incorporate information and feedback from our community;
(ii) to consult with the city and health experts regarding best practices; and,
(iii) to work in conjunction with other brownstone brooklyn shuls and communities on compatible approaches.
These efforts are intended to ensure that we comply with health and safety guidance, adhere to spiritual and halachic counsel, and to set a thoughtful plan to enable us to come back together to daven, to learn, and to celebrate. We will look to present some of these plans and allow for further discussion at our annual meeting on June 28 at 8pm. (Please RSVP here if you haven't already). We hope you'll be able to join us then.
May we continue to lean on each other for friendship and Torah, and with Hashem’s help, may we be together in person again soon.