Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt has advised against kissing a Sefer Torah as the coronavirus spreads across the world.
Moscow’s chief rabbi and Conference of European Rabbis president has also advised affiliated synagogues against kissing mezuzot, communal taleisim and communal siddurim.
CER has taken the stance after consulting with a specialist on infectious diseases and in Public Health.
“The coronavirus has been spreading all over the world,” he noted. “The coronavirus can stay on hard surfaces for hours and days.”
While it is essential not to panic, as the probability of catching the virus through the air, CER advises a person not feeling well to stay at home even if they have to say Kaddish, it is also advisable not to kiss other people nor shake hands if not necessary.
People should wash hands especially after touching surfaces that have come into contact with large crowd.
CER advises to have hand sanitisers in public places like a shul or school entrance, and if traveling by plane, passengers should take sanitising towels to clean armrests and tables.
If someone is in quarantine, CER advises against visiting unless you are protected.
“We pray for all those who have been afflicted by this sickness,” noted Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt. “May G-d contain this epidemic, heal the sick and guide the scientist to find a vaccine.”
Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt has served Moscow Choral Synagogue since 1993