בס״ד
ערב ראש השנה תשפ״א
Rosh Hashanah Eve, 2020

Dear Congregants,

We have all been praying for “a brighter day”.  We were hoping to deliver a happy & festive message, but alas, circumstances dictate otherwise this year.

Many considerations motivated us to re-open the doors of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue “one way or another”. This would have been good for the synagogue, and for the benefit of all those who wish to come and pray and join us all in the magnificent prayers held in this very special synagogue.

However, one consideration led to another decision, this being the safety of every congregant. Our decision followed long deliberations, taking into consideration the lack of knowledge, the confusion, the debates among experts, and the changing Government guidelines.

The Jerusalem Great Synagogue differs from so many other synagogues.
It is large, it would require medical checks of every congregant and guest, it would require prohibiting entry to those who did not register in advance, and of course, it would require restricting the number of worshipers.  However, even if all the above could be met, the risk would still be there. If a person erred, a congregant who was “found positive” but did not know, only one person could infect many others.

The Jerusalem Great Synagogue is obligated to avoid this unnecessary risk.

And so, regrettably and with a heavy heart, the Board of Trustees of The Jerusalem Great Synagogue has resolved for the very first time since 1958 (when The Jerusalem Great Synagogue first opened its doors) that The Jerusalem Great Synagogue will remain closed for the High Holy Days this year.

Our decision reflects our overriding concern to protect every congregant and their families at a time of great uncertainty and changing Government guidelines.

Let us all pray for a better year in 5781.  Please G-d, we will return again to glorious services in our Synagogue very soon, healthy and safe.

The Jerusalem Great Synagogue prays for the quick recovery of all those affected by the plague, expresses its appreciation to all those who are dedicating themselves to fight COVID-19, and wishes you all, every Jew in Israel and around the world, a safe and good year, a "Ketiva Vechatima Tova".

You are in our thoughts and prayers.

The Jerusalem Great Synagogue Board of Trustees