Three days before Hoshana Rabbah this year, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a far-reaching, executive order, effectively shuttering our shuls on one of the most joyous days on our calendar. The news set off a flurry of phone calls between askanim and rabbanim. They spent the next 48 hours drafting legal briefs to obtain an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) in time for Hoshana Rabbah.
Before Yom Tov, the court delivered an oral ruling denying the petition for relief.
Simchas Torah became a landscape of makeshift minyanim and harried hakafos. On October 21, we filed an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
That too was denied.
Our only recourse was to present the case to the US Supreme Court.
Harav Brudny Shlita emphasized that in no uncertain terms should such a decision be made lightly. Taking our government to court, which is out of character for our behavior in galus—that requires tremendous amount of kevod rosh. Reb Chaim Dovid’s advocacy was not motivated by politics, but by considerations of Kiddush Hashem. Kevod Shamayim was at stake.”
It took courage from The Agudah, who did the right thing because it was right, not because it was easy.
Word of the Supreme Court ruling broke shortly before midnight on November 25. B’chasdei Hashem, the Supreme Court resoundingly affirmed the rights of Americans of faith to practice their religion, even amid the pandemic.
There’s power in numbers. We need to raise ours, to lend clout to our advocates, faithfully lobbying our causes in the halls of power. We need to count in order to matter. Join the Agudah the Machatzis HaShekel campaign as echod min haminuyim; stand with our nation so the Agudah can continue championing our values and fighting for the klal and the yochid.
Rav Yisroel Reisman