Photo Credit: Aharon Krohn/Flash90
Belz chassidim in Jerusalem, February 10, 2020.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading authority in Haredi Jewish society in Israel and abroad, has decided that studies in Yeshivot and Talmudei Torah should be held as usual for the time being, while adhering to necessary precautions recommended by the health ministry, Behadrei Haredim reported late Saturday night.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, February 26, 2020. / David Cohen/Flash90

This decision excludes one community, Kiryat Ye’arim, a.k.a. Telz-Stone, near Jerusalem, where seven family members have tested positive for the coronavirus and some 1,000 local residents have entered quarantine conditions. The local municipality has ordered that anyone who attended Shabbat Zachor services at the Kol Yehuda synagogue, as well as the Megillah reading at the same synagogue and the Purim services at the Levenberg synagogue, must go into isolation at their homes. All Tiferet Yehuda Talmud Torah students and the first grade students at Ohel Hasya school they must go into isolation, as well as all the babies and staff of the Maon Kochavim daycare center. In addition, no daycare centers and nurseries will be open in Kiryat Ye’arim.

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The Ateret Shlomo network of Lithuanian Haredi Torah institutions, which runs some 40 educational institutions all over Israel, has been instructed to continue only limudei kodesh (Jewish studies) classes, and to close their kindergartens.

On Monday, Rabbi Kanievsky and the Rosh Yeshiva of the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, will meet to discuss whether or not to keep Haredi learning institutions open in the coming days.

According to a report on Rotters, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer Rebbe, ordered Belz kindergartens, cheders and schools to ignore the health ministry’s instructions and continue their operations as usual throughout the country. The Rebbe instructed his followers not to listen to the news broadcasts, and asked that girls come to school without their official school uniforms, to avoid criticism. Belz operates educational institutions in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Har Yona, Kiryat Gat and Givat Ze’ev. This past Shabbat, Belz shuls held public services, complete with a tish, which were attended by thousands of chassidim.

On Sunday morning, Jerusalem police shut down three Haredi schools (Talmud Torahs) after they ignored instructions by the Ministry of Health.

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