כ״ד אדר תש״פ

March 19th, 2020


Dear Members of the Five Towns Community


We are all going through an unprecedented time in our lives communally and individually. There are certainly many blessings to count, but there are also many challenges that we would never imagine we would be facing. At the same time, we are seeing unprecedented Chesed and unity in the face of isolation and fear. As faithful Jews we seek and trust in God’s protection, always, and especially now. With the Almighty’s help we will emerge from this pandemic in good health, ready to re engage with each other as the wonderful, blessed community that we are. Meanwhile, it is comforting to know that we are each, virtually, “here” for each other; witness the efforts of Shuls, schools and individuals to support and provide a friendly, helping hand – if only a welcome phone call – to friends and neighbors.

Please remember that our guidelines from our letter on March 15th are still in effect and we strongly recommend complete compliance with those guidelines for the safety of ourselves, our family, our community and the world. 


We wanted to offer some guidance for the upcoming Shabbos and week.

The Coming Shabbos

One of the challenges about davening at home without a minyan is that besides for missing the Kaddish, Kedusha and Chazaras Hashatz, there are also other smaller details which can change which we take for granted when we come to shul. Here are some important pointers. 


  1. What setting should I be davening in?

    1. It is important to remember that even though we are not able to be in shul, we need to be dressed for Shabbos.

    2. It is best to choose an indoor location which has relative quiet if possible.

    3. It is a special opportunity to daven and sing out loud as a family

  2. What are the Zmanim for this Shabbos?

    1. Candle Lighting: 6:49PM

    2. Mincha Erev Shabbos: 5:51PM-7:07PM

    3. Netz: 6:56AM

    4. Shma should be before 9:58AM

    5. Shmoneh Esrei of Shacharis should be before 11:00AM

    6. Mincha on Shabbos can be anytime between 1:33PM-7:08PM

    7. Shabbos is over at 7:58PM

  3. What is said after the Amida on Friday night?

    1. One may say Vayechulu even alone. Preferably it should be said with another person.

    2. One does not say the Bracha of Magen Avos

  4. This week is Shabbos Mevorchim - what do I do?

    1. It is the Chabad custom to recite either all or at least part of the Tehillim before davening Shacharit*

    2. One may say the blessing of Birkas Hachodesh even when alone.

    3. Rosh Chodesh Nissan is on Thursday. (The way we say it in the davening is Rosh Chodesh Nissan Bayom HaCHamishi Haboah Oleinu Letovah)*

    4. The Molad will be Tuesday, 10:14 am and 11 chalakim.

    5. When should I be davening on Shabbos morning?

    6. We should be davening at the same time as the minyan we would regularly attend so there is unity even if not in physical presence

  5. What do I do about reading the Torah on Shabbos?

    1. Reading the Torah is a Chovas Hatzibur - a communal responsibility which means without a minyan that responsibility does not exist. 

    2. However, one should certainly be maavir sedra - to read the Parsha and Haftorah themselves or together.

    3. The Maftir is Hachodesh which can be found in Shemos 12:1-20, page 348 in the Stone Chumash.

    4. The Haftorah is Hachodesh in Yechezkel 45:16-46:18 (45:18-46:18 for Sephardim). It is on page 1218 in the Stone Chumash.

    5. The brachos for the Haftorah are not recited.

    6. Artscroll has made the readings available for free download here: https://artscroll.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/vayakhel-pekudei-download.pdf.

  6. Do I say Yekum Purkan?

    1. Not when one is alone, neither the Mi Shebeirach for the community

    2. Some including Chabad have the minhag to say just the first Yekum Purkan paragraph

  7. Is there Av Harachamim this Shabbos?

    1. No, this is a Shabbos Mevorchim so this should be left out

  8. Shabbos Mincha - is there any difference?

    1. Yes, we would be saying V’Ani Tefilosi even though one would not be reading the Torah

We would be saying Tzidkoscha

  1. Can I say Kel Maleh this Shabbos?

    1. Yes, one should be doing it this Shabbos. It can be said when one is alone. PLEASE REMEMBER that this is the last Shabbos to say Kel Maleh before the month of Nissan.

The Coming Week

  1. Can we make a Minyan over Zoom?

    1. No, unfortunately minyanim cannot be created for 10 men who are remote from each other.

    2. However, we can daven at the same time and use Zoom to coordinate that effort in order to create unity and enhance kavana by davening at the same time. 

    3. It is important to remember that davening at the same time is not Tefilah Betzibur so it would not include:

      1. Kaddish

      2. Kedusha

      3. Chazaras Hashatz

      4. Krias HaTorah

    4. But it can certainly allow people to daven aloud together and recite part of the davening responsively. 

  2. When is Rosh Chodesh?

    1. Rosh Chodesh Nissan is this coming Thursday.

    2. We need to remember Yaaleh Veyavo starting Wednesday evening

    3. We need to remember the special inserts in Shacharis on Thursday(Hallel, Mussaf, Barchi Nafshi…)

  3. Do we say Hallel on Rosh Chodesh when alone?

    1. One would say Hallel regularly even when alone

    2. Sephardim have the practice not to recite a Bracha on Hallel for Rosh Chodesh.


We hope that these guidelines are helpful in creating some framework in our daily lives. As we get closer to Pesach, we will try to send more united messages to help guide our dear community.

We are davening with you and for you and we hope Hashem will continue to protect us all.

With deep care and concern.


Rabbi Shalom Axelrod, Young Israel of Woodmere

Rabbi Mordechai Benhaim, Sha’are Emunah, Sephardic Congregation of The Five Towns

Rabbi Hershel Billet, Young Israel of Woodmere

Rabbi Heshy Blumstein, Yismach Moshe

Rabbi Pinchas Chatzinoff, Congregation Tifereth Zvi 

Rabbi Aaron Feigenbaum, Irving Place Minyan

Rabbi Yaakov Feitman, Kehillas Bais Yehuda Tzvi

Rabbi Aryeh Z. Ginzberg, Chofetz Chaim Torah Center

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, Young Israel of Woodmere

Rabbi Kenneth Hain, Congregation Beth Sholom

Rabbi Simcha Hopkovitz, Young Israel of Hewlett

Rabbi Yudi Jeger, Chofetz Chaim Torah Center

Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, Beis HaKnesses of North Woodmere

Rabbi Simcha Lefkowitz, Congregation Anshei Chesed

Rabbi Avi Miller, Congregation Beth Sholom

Rabbi Jonathan Muskat, Young Israel of Oceanside

Rabbi Uri Orlian, Shaarey Tefillah

Rabbi Ephraim Polakoff,  Bais Tefilah of Woodmere

Rabbi Mordechai Prus, Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach 

Rabbi Zvi Ralbag, Congregation Bais Ephraim Yitzchok

Rabbi Isaac Rice, Congregation Anshei Chesed

Rabbi Shay Schachter, Young Israel of Woodmere

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus, Young Israel of North Woodmere

Rabbi Asher Stern, Kehilas Bais Avrohom Zev

Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, Young Israel Lawrence-Cedarhurst

Rabbi Ya’akov Trump, Young Israel Lawrence-Cedarhurst

Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, Aish Kodesh

Rabbi Akiva Willig, Bais Medrash of Woodmere

Rabbi Zalman Wolowik, Chabad of the Five Towns


*edited to include Chabad customs