18 March 2020
Dear Members and Friends
In response to the recent strident advice from the Government as well as State and National Health Authorities regarding the importance of social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the further restrictions on indoor gatherings, and following the decision of the Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand issued yesterday that all synagogue services should stop immediately and until further notice, the PHC Board has also regretfully determined that, effective immediately, all PHC services will stop.
This unfortunately means that there will be no services (weekday, Shabbat or festival) conducted at PHC – either in the main shule or in the Beit Midrash – until further notice. This represents a dramatic change and challenge not only for us, but for Jews all over Australia. Nevertheless, our Rabbis and communal leaders have placed the health and well-being of the entire society within which we live, above even our urge to pray and come together as a congregation.
Rabbi Lieberman has been proactive in helping us reach this decision and will be assembling a detailed guide for PHC members – there will be many of us who must attend to yahrzeits, bat and bar mitzvot, weddings and funerals. We will issue regular communication to our members to ensure that you are kept abreast of developments and remain connected. For a hopefully short period, we will become a virtual community. And you are, of course, welcome to contact me, the Rabbi or the shule office (see below for details) whenever you have concerns, questions or need any support.
This is undoubtedly a challenging time for people all over the world. There will likely be disruption to many aspects of our daily lives, our livelihoods and possibly even to our health. As a Jewish community, we might now be separated in prayer, but we retain the unbreakable bond of our shared faith and trust, and I know that, as and when required, we will reach out and support each other with care and warmth.
We look forward to resuming our services and many activities at the earliest possible opportunity.
Wishing you and your families all the very best.
Dr Michael Levitt