Following the spread of the coronavirus, and after many residents of Crown Heights became infected with the deadly virus, Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway has been closed for the first time since its purchase by Agudas Chasidei Chabad on behalf of the Chabad Lubavitch movement and as a home for Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn when he arrived in the United States in 1940 escaping the Nazis.
Speaking to Chabad.info, the gabbai (sexton) Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Kratz said that this was done in accordance with the order of the rabbis of the neighborhood, members of the Beit Din (Jewish court), who told the gabbais to close the synagogue.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s standing orders were that management of the synagogue be in the hands of the gabbais chosen by the residents of the neighborhood, and in accordance with the instructions of the rabbis of the neighborhood, members of the Beit Din do not need to elaborate on an obvious matter.
From now on, prayers will be held very limited on the balcony of the sukkah (booth built during the Holiday of Sukkot), and there will be access to cellars on the basement floor for those who left urgently needed items.
With the deterioration of the situation in the neighborhood as more and more cases of coronavirus patients are discovered, the neighborhood rabbis decided on the drastic step that has never been known in history, to avoid danger to life.