Purim is the latest korban of Covid 19.
For the first time in 80 years, Beth Medrash Govoha will not host a mesibas Purim.
Each year, hundreds upon hundreds of people gather at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, for a Purim mesibah on the first night of Purim, Motzoei Taanis Esther. Each year, the gathering is an uplifting one, with beautiful singing and divrei Torah from the roshei hayeshiva and mashgiach.
Previously, the annual gathering had been held in the Israel Henry Beren Hall dining room of the yeshiva. The past few years, the event has been held in the Bais Aron Bais Medrash of the yeshiva at the corner of Tenth Street and Madison Avenue.
But not this year.
Because of Covid fears and restrictions, the yeshiva has been compelled to cancel an event that has been called “the highlight of the year” for many attendees.
Covid-19 was still in its early stages in the U.S. at the time of Purim last year. Soon after, the community endured a difficult Covid stretch.
By now, virtually every Lakewood resident has either had Covid or been vaccinated, but the decision was made to cancel the mesibah at the country’s largest yeshiva nevertheless.
Other local yeshivos and shuls have likewise cancelled their Purim events, at the advice of some rabbonim and doctors.
“Purim,” which falls this year on Friday, “looks to be a dud,” said one resident.
Agudas Yisroel had previously release a statement published by Matzav.com stating that “We now do know, however, that Purim has the potential to be a ‘super-spreader’ of the terrible pandemic, and are required to think of our neighbors’ and family members’ health and safety with great gravity and concern, especially as more highly infectious strains of the COVID-19 virus are proliferating.”