Synagogue in Jewish quarter of Venice, Italy
Synagogue in Jewish quarter of Venice, ItalyiStock

As the synagogues and batey-midrash for the center of Jewish life opened and returned, while observing the precautionary guidelines, the Presidency of the Conference of the European Rabbis formulated a broad plan for the restoration of “the holy communities in Europe,” centered on the holiness of life and remembrance in hope and prayer for the renewed building of the holy communities and the Temple.

According to the plan and in light of the call of Lithuanian Jewry Leaders to strengthen the awe of the Temple from Shiva Asar B'Tamuz and during the three weeks till Tisha B'Av Jews in nearly seven hundred communities – members of the Conference – will study synagogue laws with special emphasis on strengthening and maintaining balance between the sanctity of the synagogue and the prohibition on the violation of its holiness whether in person-to-friend or in cellular conversations.

Also, every day after the prayer, the worshipers will learn mishnayos in the memory of the plague victims. According to the outline formed by the Presidency during these weeks, the rabbis in the communities will learn the sefer "Ahavas Chesed" written by Maran HaChefetz Chaim' about the care for the neighbor. "It is made to increase the number of the acts of grace in time when many members of the community lost their livelihood, the elderly in solitude. Fear and death have risen in the window of many families.

During the three weeks, the leaders of the Conference of European Rabbis will hold a series of lessons of Halacha for communities. Rabbi Ehrentroy, Rabbi Goldschmidt, Rabbi Gelley and Rabbi Lebel are among the lecturers.

In his letter to the rabbis of the communities Rabbi Goldschmidt wrote: “These days when we mourn the true destruction of the House of our G-d, we feel and painfully accompany the heavy blow we suffered that we might have averted disaster on the communities throughout the world and especially in Europe. During the period when we had to close the centers we have done our utmost to maintain continuous contact with our communities and among the rabbis”.

"Today we should rejoice in the return to the batei midrashim, but we should be miserable, and as the great Lithuanian Rabbis wrote, to strengthen the sanctity of the synagogue and relations between people. At the same time, we will remember those taken from us by the COVID-19, including leading rabbis, heads of public and other members of many communities, we will remember them by reading mishnayos. We all feel it is necessary. And we pray and hope that in the plan of return to the synagogues that the leadership of the Conference has formulated, we will redevelop the Holy Communion throughout the continent, more and more and leverage the connection we have had and all of us will see in the building of our Holy City and Temple.

Rabbi Lebel said: “The Corona days have revealed opposing phenomena. On the one hand, as a result of the closure of the synagogues, Jews have moved away and must be brought back to their Jewish livelihood. On the other hand, precisely during the days of locking the gates, a great thirst was felt and the number of participants in distant prayers and learning programs was far greater than the number of regular participants in community life and its institutions before the epidemic, and now it is necessary to pave the way to their hearts and bring them to the synagogues. This is the mission of the Conference to resume Jewish life as it was across the continent”.