Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America released a statement today, underscoring the seriousness of the situation and the need for everyone to listen to the direction of the medical professionals involved in containing this disease.
In addition, they requested that every able-bodied person fast for half the day tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, and to increase in prayer and Tehillim.
(Free translation:) In light of the serious situation of the spread of coronavirus in our community and in the entire world, with doctors warning and imploring not to gather together in Shuls and Batei Medrash even to daven or learn, and that every person should not leave home unless absolutely necessary because of the real danger to human life, we implore each person to listen to the direction of the expert medical professionals who are unified in warning about the seriousness of the current situation. We also ask adults to warn their children not to leave home unless absolutely necessary.
However, we must rely only on our Father in Heaven. We call upon every person who is not ill or weak to accept on himself today to fast a ta’anis sha’os tomorrow, Thursday, until chatzos, and to say, individually, the Yom Kippur Katan prayers (without reciting the 13 middos) and Tehillim, and to pray for mercy and favor for the entire Jewish nation and the entire world who are now in distress.
May Hashem accept the prayers of His nation with mercy.
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)