As Allegheny County entered the green phase on Friday, June 5, loosening restrictions that had been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, local Chabad centers have taken the first tentative steps toward reopening.
The Lubavitch Center of Pittsburgh resumed minyanim on Wednesday, June 3, with restrictions, according to its Facebook page.
Shabbat services were planned at the Lubavitch Center and Chabad of Squirrel Hill beginning Friday, June 5, and at Chabad of the South Hills on Saturday, June 6.
Rabbi Mendel Rosenblum, director of Chabad of the South Hills, announced the resumption of Shabbat services by email. As with the minyanim at the Lubavitch Center, preregistration is required and will be limited to 25 people. Additional restrictions, including requiring a face mask to be worn by all in attendance, have been put in place.
Rosenblum pointed out that if anyone did not feel comfortable attending, they could still reach out by email to have a name read during the recitation of the Mi Shebeirach and Kaddish prayers.
Rabbi Yisroel Altein said that Chabad of Squirrel Hill is able to accommodate its typical number of attendees but asked that anyone who regularly attends services at another synagogue, and is interested in attending, should reach out to Chabad of Squirrel Hill in advance so he can plan accordingly.
In lieu of post-service kiddush, Chabad of Squirrel Hill will be offering Shabbat “to go” kits.
Chabad of Monroeville will reopen on Sunday, June 7. It will resume regular Shabbat services beginning Saturday, June 13.
“We distributed a survey among our community,” Rabbi Mendy Shapiro, of Chabad of Monroeville, said. “It was split down the middle, some were nervous, which is OK, and some were interested in resuming services with restrictions including face masks and social distancing.”
Camp Gan Izzy day camp will reopen at Chabad of Squirrel Hill on Monday, June 29 with modifications including a four-hour day and no transportation provided.
“We are looking forward to opening,” said Altein. “The governor’s allowance for children not having to wear masks was a big sigh of relief, allowing us to open camp.”
Registration is now open for the Lubavitch Center’s Camp Gan Izzy day camp, which opens on Monday, July 6.
Chabad of the South Hills has not announced a decision about its day camp. PJC