Not all houses of worship opening doors this weekend

Posted at 4:17 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 20:16:52-04

BOISE — Various houses of faith, including Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, are deciding to remain online only, despite the governor saying services can resume this week.

"We get a lot of questions about whether we're reopening and I always like note, we've never been closed," said Rabbi Daniel Fink,

"over the last six weeks we've been teaching classes online, we've been leading a service twice a week, our Shabbat series on Friday nights and Saturday mornings via zoom."

Rabbi Fink says the guiding hand to their decisions is a Jewish value, which means saving of a soul or a life.

"The idea behind it is saving lives and preserving health takes precedence over our other Jewish obligations, so we feel that right now, we can't, with a strong sense of certainty, open the doors to our physical facility," said Fink.

Fink says they're not doing anything until June first. Other houses of faith are operating on a similar wavelength.

The Islamic Center of Boise opts to keep its doors shut as well. Posting on Facebook, "after meeting with the Boise Mayor and other religious leaders and considering the health of our community and the greater community ICB will remain closed. We will re-evaluate the situation on May fifteenth."

Fink understands how confining this time can feel, but he says above all, to have perspective and be patient.

"I think about Anne Frank and her family who were locked up in an annex in life-threatening conditions for years, I think of Jews celebrating Jewish holidays and finding new ways to do it in ghettos and in death camps, so in the big picture you know we can be patient," said Fink.

Fink says this has been a time to learn from each other. He's been in contact with other clergy members, rabbis, and many others from different faith communities.

"The virus doesn't care whether you're gathering for church or going to a bar," said Fink,

"So at some level think we need to consider ourselves like any other large gathering, that exception for us at least it doesn't make sense because the virus doesn't distinguish."

Idaho News Six reached out to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for a statement. The local public affairs director says they've received no word from church leadership as to when local churches and temples will open. They have curriculum developed and distributed to their members for gospel learning at home, which they will continue to use.