WXXI AM News

Houses of worship prepare for orange zone restrictions

Nov 23, 2020

As parts of Monroe County phase into an Orange Zone, houses of worship will have to limit their services to either 33% of capacity or 25 people, whichever is fewer.

At the Baitun Naseer Mosque on East Main Street, Muslim prayer services have already been limited to ten people at a time. Worshipers social distance instead of standing shoulder to shoulder, as is customary, and they also now bring their own prayer rugs.

Mubarak Bashir, left, is the president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Rochester Chapter. Rabbi Avi Kilimnick, right, is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Sholom.
Credit photos provided by Mubarak Bashir and Rabbi Avi Kilimnick

“We adapt fairly well,” said Mubarak Bashir with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Rochester Chapter. “So, we’re still able to pray. I think that’s the key thing. I think right now, as a person of faith, that prayer is the most important thing to get through these times.”

As the area moves into an orange zone on Wednesday, Bashir said that they will re-evaluate their practices, and look to do more to support the community like possibly holding future blood drives.

Over at Temple Beth Sholom, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, Rabbi Avi Kilimnick said that the new restrictions will mostly affect their Shabbat services on Saturdays. Kilimnick said that they may look into holding Shabbat services earlier, and abriging some aspects of services.

“Just being the rabbi of the shoal I’m in, I never felt even from the very beginning that if we kept it at the bare minimum it would have ever put anyone in harm’s way,” he said.

He said that while they have reduced the number of worshippers, he hopes that they will not have to close down all together if things do get worse.