The Badatz of Crown Heights is now permitting porch minyonim and has laid out several guidelines to be followed.
Here is the text of their letter:
B”H, Thursday, Yud Gimmel Iyar, 5780
The following are halachic and medical guidelines approved by the Badatz for “Porch Minyanim” (where each family stands on their own private porch) within our community, based on circumstances unique to Crown Heights in accordance with current data specific to our neighborhood, and after consultations with expert doctors and other appropriate qualified bodies.
These guidelines are effective Friday, Pesach Sheini, and are subject to change as more data becomes available, since medical direction how to deal with this pandemic is evolving as new research and information develops:
1. Anyone above 65 may only attend if they have been sick with COVID-like illness AND have positive antibodies.
2. Those below 65 may only attend if they have been sick with COVID-like illness OR have positive antibodies.
3. No one who is ill in any way may attend.
4. No one may be within 6 feet of anyone else at any point during the davening (unless they anyways live with you in your house).
5. No one may join from other locations even when standing in the street.
6. No one should go unto another’s porch, even if they maintain social distancing.
7. If someone disregards the above guidelines the minyan must stop immediately and the shliach tzibbur or baal korei may not continue until such time that the situation has been rectified.
8. According to halacha, in order to join for a minyan one must ensure that the individuals can see each other AND no public thoroughfare (street, sidewalk, alleyways between streets etc.) separates between the 10 individuals. Thus, the ten people must all be on the same side of the street.
9. Once there are already ten people combined for a minyan, any individual who hears their voice may daven with them and respond together with them, provided no filth or avodah zarah intervenes between him and the congregation.
10. Even if one cannot join such a minyan, they should attempt to schedule their davening during the same time that the minyan is davening.
11. If there is a Sefer Torah it must remain in the same porch all the time and no one should attend from other porches. If there are enough individuals in the same family on that porch to receive the requisite aliyos, they should be oleh one after another. Where there are not enough to people to cover all aliyos, those in that family should rotate in such a way that nobody receives two consecutive aliyos. Where there is only one individual present on that porch, the baal koreh, he should receive all the aliyos. In any of these situations where there not enough people for 8 aliyos (on Shabbos), maftir is omitted, and immediately after the aliyah of shevi’i whoever received that aliyah proceeds to recite the haftorah and the after blessings followed by kaddish.
12. One who for whatever reason wishes to be extra stringent in the area of pikuach nefesh and avoids such minyanim should not be considered at fault for missing out on tefillah b’tzibur.
13. Nothing should be extrapolated from these guidelines to other situations or to other communities outside of Crown Heights.
May we be zoche to see the eradication of all illnesses with the coming of Moshiach and may we be privileged to bring the Pesach Sheini in the Beis Hamikdosh Hashlishi בגאולה האמיתית והשלימה תיכף ומי״ד ממ״ש
Member of Badatz
Member of Badatz