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Young Israel Outdoor Minyan Portal




Sunday --------------- 8:15 AM

Monday - Friday ---- 7:00 AM

Mincha Maariv:

Sunday - Thursday --7:30 PM (Week of 8/16)

Shabbat (see weekly bulletin).

Outdoor Minyan Guidelines

Rev. 8/21/2020

General Minyan Guidelines: (PLEASE REVIEW)

The Minyan Space – The Young Israel Parking Lot

  1. All minyanim will be conducted outdoors. In the event of inclement weather, the minyan will be canceled.
  2. Our outdoor minyan space will allow for spacing of 12ft between each participant. (see diagram below)
  3. The outdoor minyan space will be arranged in advance to ensure proper physical distancing – attendees must obey minyan guidelines and remain in their preset spots and sections.
  4. Please park head in only - do not back into your spot.
  5. As you pull into the lot, please fill in each space in order (spot 1 first, then spot 2, etc.).
  6. Each participant will stand at the rear of his/her car. These locations are referred to by the numbers on the map below next to the cars and in the lower part of the diagram. Please remain situated on the number (marked in chalk on the surface of the parking lot) in back of each car throughout davening. Please avoid walking around or pacing from the moment you exit your car until minyan is over. This will ensure that physical distancing guidelines are maintained.
  7. Anyone arriving not by car (ie. by bike or walking), will be directed to a spot by the person in charge of the minyan just like anyone coming by car.
  8. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide chairs, siddurim or other items. (On Shabbat chairs will be provided). Every attendee will need to bring their own.
  9. There will be no access to the interior of the building (EXCEPT FOR BATHROOM -- see below) before, after or during minyan.


General Safety

  1. Our minyanim will have a limited number of spots. Priority will be given to members of our Young Israel.
  2. Anyone who wants to join one of our minyanim must sign up online in advance. No one may be allowed to join a minyan if they have not signed up. (Please see below for eligibility)
  3. Participants must wear masks throughout davening, from the moment they exit their cars until they return to their cars to leave the premises and for the duration they are on the Young Israel Property. Masks must cover both the mouth and nose.
  4. Minyan will start promptly and end promptly – attendees may not socialize before or after (or during!) minyan. After minyan, everyone must return directly to their cars and depart.
  5. It is imperative that all participants be punctual. There will be no margin for error on anyone arriving late, and minyanim will immediately disband if there is no quorum.
  6. To ensure our communal safety, once communal guidelines are established -- anyone who attends a minyan anywhere must be organized under the auspices and supervision of one of the undersigned synagogues. No private minyanim will be allowed. One who attends such a minyan will be barred from attending minyanim at the Young Israel for safety concerns.
  7. Should one become ill or diagnosed with COVID-19, obviously s/he should cease coming to minyan and must immediately notify Rabbi Brander, Les Loew or Dr. Steven Luger. This information will remain anonymous but will be used to alert other minyan attendees of a potential COVID-19 positive contact.



  1. Davening will be done in a respectful, yet brief way, with an eye to keeping the minyan as short as possible. Unfortunately, at this point, there will be limited communal singing.
  2. Additionally, guidelines for each minyan we resume will be shared in advance (below) detailing what parts should be said at home prior or after the minyan.
  3. While some synagogues across the country may be having services inside at this point, medical professionals agree that being outdoors is the safest option. What’s more, given current regulations and our desire to maximize physical distances, we can accommodate more people davening outdoors. That said, in recognition of the heat and other environmental discomforts (and to minimize health risks associated being with larger groups for an extend period of time), we will continue to be shortening services as much as possible without cutting out anything essential and in accordance with the guidance of Rabbi Brander. For instance, we are asking people to daven pseukei d’zimra at home. We are skipping optional parts of davening like mishebeirachs and Yedid Nefesh as well as using “heichi kedusha” (everyone including the chazan saying the Amidah together) at times. Our goal is to keep weekday minyanim (Shacharit and Mincha/Maariv) to 25 minutes and Shabbat morning minyan to 1:15.


● To attend our outdoor minyan, one must:

  1. NOT be symptomatic as described by the CDC. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to: Cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever/chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell or feeling unwell.
  2. NOT have had COVID-19 while not yet being cleared by their doctor to leave home.
  3. NOT have a family member at home for whom #1 or #2 is true for.
  4. NOT have traveled on a commercial airliner in the last 14 days.
  5. Must be above bar or bat mitzvah age OR children able to abide by these guidelines and are accompanied by an adult.
  6. Out of Town visitors will be welcome on a case by case basis – please contact Dr. Steven Luger for approval.
  7. Priority will be given to Young Israel members.
  8. Maintain proper COVID-19 Hygiene outside of minyan (physical distancing, masks in areas where that is not possible, etc).


● Furthermore, to attend any of our outdoor minyanim:

  1. Anyone attending must sign up online in advance for each minyan they wish to attend.
  2. Anyone attending a minyan must be able and willing to comply with the guidelines enumerated in this document
  3. One must not attend any unauthorized minyan around town or minyan that does not maintain the communal standards which, God willing, will be released in the near future.


● Individuals considered high-risk due to their medical history or age should consult with their physician as to whether it is prudent for them to attend services.

Davening Outline and Procedures

(1) Shabbat Morning Minyan

  • Shabbat morning will begin at 9 am with Yishtabach. We will proceed with minimal singing through the course of davening. Taking out and handling of the Torah will be done only by the baal koreh as well as hagbah and gelilah. The baal koreh will receive all 7 aliyot; there is no maftir and will read the haftorah followed by the half-kaddish. There will be no mishberach or alike.
  • Shul chairs will be provided and set out in advance at designated spots. Siddurim (and Chumashim, if available) must be brought from home.
  • Bringing water is encouraged for those who need due to possible heat. Water must come in bottles with screw off lids and without straws or straw-like drinking units.
  • There will be NO access to the building including bathrooms.
  • This minyan will be limited to 35 slots for sign up. If there is excess demand, additional opportunities will be explored for the coming weeks.
  • While there is no need for a formal mechitza in our current set up (see the Halakhic ruling of Rabbi Hershel Schachter), the ritual committee will be constructing a partial partition for Shabbat davening in response to some requests for such a set up.

(2) Weekday Shacharit Minyan

  • Shacharit will start at Yishtabach. Tefillin can be put on at home in advance or after reciting Yishtabach prior to the minyan beginning in the shul parking lot.
  • Like Mincha-Maariv, no shul chairs will be available.
  • Like Mincha-Maariv, these minyanim will still be limited to 15 people. 

Shofar Blowing
As we welcome the month of Elul, we begin to blow shofar. As an added COVID-19 precaution, we will be covering the outward-facing end of the shofar with a mask to prevent the possible spread of the disease. This is being done both in consultation with our Mara D'Atra to meet halakhic needs and with our medical team to address any medical concerns. 
Reopening Access to Restrooms
We are happy to share that we are ready to reopen access to our restrooms. We continue to encourage everyone to use the restrooms at home before attending. We will still continue to keep davening short to enable many to not have to need the facilities at shul; however, we recognize that for some having access to the facilities is essential for being able to participate in our outdoor minyanim.

As such, we have constructed the following protocol to facilitate on-site restroom use:

  1. Only 1 person will be allowed to go down into the building and into the restroom at a time from the rear of the building.
  2. Hanging on the rear upper door will be a double-sided sign with the words “available” or “occupied”.
  3. Before descending, please be sure that the sign reads available and turn the sign to show the “occupied” side.
  4. All doors downstairs (ie. the lower main downstairs door and bathroom door) will be propped open. Please do NOT prop open the upstairs door in order to prevent insects and other critters from getting into the building.
  5. Once downstairs, access is limited only the ladies’ restroom. Please do NOT go upstairs or into the kitchen, mens’ room or backroom for any reason.
  6. Within the ladies room, there is a stall designated for men and one for women.
  7. After completing your business in the bathroom, please be sure to close the cover before flushing.
  8. Upon exiting from downstairs, please be sure to turn the reverse the sign back to “occupied”.
  9. A small table with Purell will be available at the top of the steps for your use as well as Lysol wipes available downstairs in the restroom to wipe down surfaces.

Obviously, no measure can eliminate all risks fully, so we continue to advise individuals to avoid using our restrooms as much as possible.


ADDITIONALLY, please note:

(1) With the daily new cases across our state still in the hundreds, it is critical that we continue to maintain all the essential practices of physically distancing, wearing a mask in settings where that is not possible to maintain proper distancing, and taking all other important precautions to safeguard our collective communal health from COVID-19. Our deliberate and carefully planned resumption of in-person minyanim should NOT diminish in any way the importance of continuing stringently with these practices.

(2) At no point should anyone feel obligated, pressured, or otherwise compelled to join our minyan or any other minyan during this time. We all need to be the best judges of what is right and appropriate for ourselves and our families. These protocols are designed to allow someone to attend our outdoor minyanim, but certainly does not obligate anyone to. We will be continuing to provide virtual ways to stay connected to communal prayer.

(3) All of these arrangements have been carefully and deliberately conceived of for our particular circumstances following the guidelines given by our local, state and federal governments, the guidance of our umbrella organizations, the OU and Rabbinical Council of America, with halakhic input of our Mara D’Atra Rabbi Brander, and medical consideration of our local professionals including Drs. Carolyn Ganeles, Steven Luger and Tali Porat. Should the current reality shift, God forbid, or these protocols below not be followed, our minyanim will be put on hold again immediately.

(4) We will also be live-streaming the outdoor in-person (non-Shabbat/Yom Tov) minyanim on Zoom for anyone who cannot attend. (Halakhically, whether in person, on Zoom, or alone, it is best to time one’s davening to coincide with when the tzibbur (community) is davening). Individuals on Zoom can respond full to brachot, Kaddish and kedusha and hear all parts of davening; however, Kaddish can not be set unless present at the minyan On days where we will not be having a minyan at the shul and for minyanim which we are not yet convening in person, we will be continuing our virtual Zoom davening at their scheduled times.


Lastly, by signing up for our outdoor minyan, it is understood that each participant understands and acknowledges that the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) is extremely contagious and that infection with COVID-19 can cause serious injury. Although the Young Israel of West Hartford is implementing guidelines recommended by medical professionals and government agencies in order to reduce the likelihood of exposure, Young Israel cannot guarantee that anyone will not become infected with COVID-19 if one chooses to attend one or more minyanim. By attending a minyan, each participant voluntarily assume the risk that one may be exposed to COVID-19 and that such exposure may result in infection. By signing up to attend one or more minyanim, every participant hereby releases and holds harmless Young Israel, its employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives from all liability relating to any injury that may occur in connection with attendance at a minyan. This is understood and agreed upon that this release includes any claims based on the actions, omissions or negligence of Young Israel, its employees, officers, directors, agents or representatives.

Once you have thoroughly read the protocols above and if you can submit to following them when attending minyan, we invite you to sign up for upcoming minyanim using this link:


Sun, October 25 2020 7 Cheshvan 5781