Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Yaroslavsky, rabbi of the Chabad-Lubavitch community in Kiryat Malakhi and head of the Chabad rabbinical court in Israel, has ordered that no one unvaccinated be allowed into synagogues.
"It is shocking to hear that there are many in our community who have not been vaccinated against the virus," Rabbi Yaroslavksy wrote.
"With this, I hereby turn to each and every single person in our community, or anyone who reads this letter: He must immediately get vaccinated, since this is a real issue of life and death, and regardless, there is no reason, G-d forbid, to harm so many Jews."
"Please, go get vaccinated immediately - and you will have saved lives."
Concluding his letter, Rabbi Yaroslavsky banned those who oppose vaccines from entering synagogues, writing that "those who have not been vaccinated according to Health Ministry instructions - even if they recovered from coronavirus - are forbidden to enter the synagogue or any public place, since this is a matter of life and death."
Throughout the pandemic, Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis in Israel and abroad have been vocal in encouraging everybody to heed local guidelines and take care not to cause outbreaks or infect others. Last year, the "770" Chabad headquarters in New York, closed for the first time since it opened as the movement's central headquarters, following the discovery of coronavirus cases in the city's Crown Heights neighborhood.
Around the same period, Rabbi Sandy Wilshensky, a Chabad emissary in Milan, Italy, urged Israelis to follow the Health Ministry's instructions, and Rabbi Shimon Freundlich, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Beijing, warned that "outdoor gatherings are killing people."