The Synagogue after Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity

COVID-19 will unquestionably have long-term impacts on synagogue life well beyond the duration of the pandemic. But what will change, and how can shul leadership best anticipate those shifts so as to position our synagogues for success in the future? Judah Kerbel, rabbi of the Queens Jewish Center and Ramaz peers through the looking glass.

Streamlining Services: What Can we Learn from High Holidays 5781?

Many synagogue goers found the abbreviated High Holiday services we recently concluded quite appealing. Need we eventually go back to the way it was before coronavirus? Not really, argues Moshe Kurtz, surveying the substantial halakhic support for shortening the services every year.

Pandemic, Partnership, and Progress: A Vision for a post-Covid Modern Orthodoxy

Alan Jotkowitz explores how frequently overlooked passages in the writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks can help pave a path forward for us on theological issues in a post-Covid world.

Backyard Prayer (Covid-19)

Akiva Shapiro depicts the experience of outdoor prayers during the pandemic.

Why Wasn’t Jonah Punished? Reading Jonah during COVID

This year, instead of thinking about the reasons for Jonah’s flight from Nineveh in particular, we can gain a new appreciation for his need to break free altogether. Ahead of Yom Kippur, Erica Brown considers the unique resonance of the book of Jonah in an era marked by isolation and quarantine.

Teshuvah, From the (Dis)comfort of Your Own Home

After six months suspended between quarantine, isolation, and uncertainty, it’s natural to want to run away from home, especially as Yom Kippur looms and we realize it’s time for a change. But, as Matthew Nitzanim explains, this understandable reaction would miss the point of Teshuvah: everything we need to work on is right here, wherever it is we find ourselves.

When Things Go Back to Normal

Given the duration of the pandemic, should we suffice with waiting to return to normal, or are there hard-fought lesssons we can reintroduce even once the pandemic passes? Lehrhaus Consulting Editor and Director of Education at Sefaria, Sara Wolkenfeld, uses our recent experiences to gain new perspective on what tefilla, minyan and shul are really all about.

From Graduation to Contagion: Jewish Physicians Confront Plague in 1631

Contemporary physicians have been heroic in the battle against COVID-19, but what was it like to be one of a handful of Jewish doctors confronting the Bubonic Plague during the 17th-century in Italy? Prolific medical halakhist and historian Eddie Reichman takes a close look at the four Jewish graduates of the Padua medical school class of 1623.

Also the Diseases

At the height of the cholera epidemic in 1831, Hatam Sofer delivered a timely sermon on a perplexing midrash to Parshat Ki Tavo. The take-home, suggests Elli Fischer, is all-too familiar in the COVID era.

Signing Up for a COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

May one opt to participate in a potentially dangerous vaccine trial? This theoretical halakhic question has suddenly become ll-too-urgent. Sharon Galper Grossman and Shamai Grossman explore.