About 99% of synagogues in California remain closed.
Mere hours after President Donald Trump called on governors to open places of worship, calling the institutions “essential,” one Los Angeles congregation pounced on the opportunity. In defiance of a California state ban on religious gatherings due to the potential spread of coronavirus, it opened for Friday night services.
Members of Congregation Etz Chaim, an Orthodox congregation of about 70 families that meets in a house in Hancock Park, received an email on Friday announcing “with great pleasure and joy” that Sabbath services would convene again beginning this evening.
Rabbi Chaim Baruch Rubin, who leads the synagogue, said that California permitting some businesses to reopen while prohibiting religious gatherings was a violation of his constitutional right to worship, and thus did not have to be obeyed.