a large room with four men in it praying very far apart
Chabad of the East Bay holding socially distanced indoor services while renovating its space, a former retail shop on University Avenue in Berkeley, July 2020. (Photo/Gabe Stutman)

Synagogues ordered closed again in California as Covid cases rise

Synagogues in California have been ordered to shut down again following statewide restrictions announced by the governor with cases of the coronavirus continuing to rise throughout the state.

The order issued Monday closes all indoor dining, bars, zoos and museums throughout the state, as well as gyms, houses of worship, hair salons, malls and other businesses in 29 counties that are home to some 80 percent of Californians, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The closures by Gov. Gavin Newsom come a month after the state said that restaurants, retail stores, bars, religious services and gyms could reopen with modifications in certain counties.

Over a dozen Orthodox synagogues in Los Angeles signed a letter in May saying they would stay closed an additional two weeks after the state permits gatherings of 10 or more.

In the Bay Area, several Chabads and Modern Orthodox synagogues — including Adath Israel Congregation in San Francisco, Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley and Congregation Beth Jacob in Oakland — had started holding socially distant services in recent weeks, most of them outside.

There have been more than 7,000 deaths from the coronavirus in California, which has averaged 8,211 new cases a day of COVID-19 in the last week, the Times reported Monday. The previous week, the average was 7,876.

Marcy Oster
Marcy Oster

Israel-based JTA correspondent


Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.