An order from Lithuanian-haredi leader Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, according to which one should pray alone without a minyan in these days, is expected to soon be released by the rabbis of the city of Bnei Brak.
The rabbis received the instruction from Rabbi Kanievsky, among other reasons, in light of the outbreak of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak and the very high number of diagnosed patients there in relation to the size of the population.
According to reports, Rabbi Kanievsky explained his ruling by saying, “It’s pikuach nefesh [a matter of saving lives].”
Despite the reports about the high number of infections in the city, hundreds affiliated with the Yerushalmi Faction on Saturday night attended the funeral of Rabbi Tzvi Shinker, the head of the Beit David Yeshiva for young people in Bnei Brak who passed away during Shabbat at the age of 80, contrary to the instructions of the Ministry of Health.
Police commanders had tried without success to reach a consensus with community officials.
On Friday before Shabbat, Bnei Brak Mayor Avraham Rubinstein, who is in isolation, issued a special message to residents following the spread of the coronavirus.
"Unfortunately, there are about 300 coronavirus patients in Bnei Brak. It's an acute infection rate and the most dangerous in the entire country. And the forecast is far more alarming. It's time to wake up! Rabbis of the city and the great teachers are calling out: Stop bending the rules with minyans of more than 10 people, be strict about maintaining distances.”