Agudath Israel Statement on Uptick in COVID-19 Cases


Nationally, in recent days and weeks, Agudath Israel of America has received concurrent reports of an uptick in COVID-19 cases in communities in Lakewood, Cleveland, Rockland County, Five Towns, Brooklyn, Passaic, and Baltimore. With yeshivos imminently reopening for the school year, it is critical to bring this trend under control.

For months, COVID-19 rates in many areas have, boruch Hashem, been low. But our communities are tight-knit and closely linked. Therefore, trends within our communities must be closely and holistically monitored, and every community must remain vigilant to protect all our communities. Kol Yisroel areivim zeh ba’zeh.

Many of the cases nationally have been traced to large simcha gatherings. Such events carry particular risk because they:

· Bring many people together;
· From different geographic areas;
· Are often loud, requiring shouting (which emits more particles) and close proximity to communicate;
· Masks cannot be worn while eating;
· Social distancing is difficult; and
· Are typically held indoors in a confined space.

Simchos are wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime events. But we must conduct them legally and safely. We must minimize the above factors to protect all our communities, especially as we desperately seek to reopen our yeshivos, daven b’tzibbur, keep our communities safe, and return to a sense of normalcy. Simchos that spread illness and do not conform to local laws should not be allowed to jeopardize that.

Indeed, any public gathering should minimize as many of the above listed factors as possible.

Please help stem this recent uptick in several of our communities from becoming anything worse, chas v’shalom.

Agudath Israel of America wishes all of Klal Yisroel a k’siva vachasima tova, a new year filled with Hashem’s abundant blessings of good health, brocha and hatzlocha.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Very well presented! Truly I hope things can be contained with the above precautionary measures employed. But, realistically, can it happen? Which kallah will willingly forego her night as a precaution? Parents spent a fortune on plans: will they gracefully just put their dreams aside in order to conform? It’s the right thing but rarely does realism yield to idealism! The halls are not returning the money paid for the 450 people they forced people to agree to pay for! Sadly!

  2. This is a very nice statement, but accomplishes nothing. It gives absolutely no guidelines, and in truth, even if it did, people are not likely to follow.

    The fact is that since Shavuos people in those communities have been increasingly lax about masks, social distancing, and outdoor minyanim, to the point that now those three precautions are all but non-existent. And what has happened? Nothing. So the hamon am feels justified in assuming the virus is over.

    Nothing will change until (and IF) there is, chalilah, another major outbreak that hospitalizes and kills significant numbers of people. By then of course it will be “too late.”

  3. Has the Mr. Agudah spent any time in Lakewood, Monsey, or Brooklyn in the past few weeks? Wondering if they’ve noticed a complete disregard for any form of separation or masks.

    Sorry, sorry, I mean Rabbi Adugah.

    Leadership means getting in front of something, not leading from behind. But what do I know. I’m just a silly gal.

  4. Well said. a friend of my fathers has it now. we were all not social distancing especially in Monsey, where I live the have java by Wesley kosher (if you know what that is) does not require masks they are not the only store near Wesley kosher that does not require (there may be more) shuls do not require masks and there are barely social distancing. at the beginning of the corona, we were social distancing and then everything shut down. even I was lenient with regard to social distancing and now that I heard about Boro park’s cases I immediately started to be far as I can when I go to shul for shacharis mincha and maariv. though the shul that I go to has social distancing lines nobody follows them kiddushim people make as well as weddings etc. do not require social distancing. my friend guessed that by Sukkos we’ll all be back in Quarantine schools are starting and I am thinking of starting on zoom. we have to be as far away from people so we can stay protected and keep others as well

  5. Excellent letter. It’s a big problem. Weddings have been super spreader events.

    Possible solutions:
    Outdoor weddings?
    Local guests only?
    Spread awareness about weddings, to please get tested before coming if it’s going around in your home or community.

    We need our schools to stay open, it’s Pekuach Nefashos!