(March 20, 2020 / JNS) The head rabbi of the largest Orthodox synagogue in Johannesburg, South Africa, prayed on Wednesday night for forgiveness for having to close the synagogue under the instruction of local rabbis due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), reported COLlive.
Following the last Maariv prayer at the Sydenham-Highlands North Hebrew Congregation before it closed, Chabad Rabbi Yossy Goldman, the synagogue’s senior rabbi, approached the ark where the Torah is kept and begged for forgiveness “that unfortunately we will not be able to come to shul for the foreseeable future to daven [‘pray’] with the congregation” because of COVID-19. “We beg and pray for your understanding, compassion [and] Divine mercy … on your people Israel, on all of your children [and] on all of humanity.”
He also prayed for coronavirus to be eradicated and for everyone infected to have a speedy recovery. Those present answered “Amen!”
Goldman, also director of the Torah Academy in Orchards, Johannesburg, later said the prayer “was completely spontaneous.”
Local rabbis instructed all synagogues to close after the total number of coronavirus cases in South Africa increased to 116.
Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday that South Africa’s Health Ministry said there was an increase of 31 new coronavirus cases over a 24-hour period that day.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.
JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.
During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.
Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.