New York – OU Posts Guidelines For Shabbat Hurricane


    New York – The following Shabbat Protocols in Case of a Hurricane were originally produced by Rav Kenneth Brander when he served the Boca Raton Synagogue. Many thanks to Rav Hershel Schachter for his guidance. Please consult with your own congregational rabbi in specific instances where a hurricane is expected.

    1. Minyan

    If a hurricane is happening on Shabbat, stay home!
    Try to prearrange with your rabbi to have the congregation lain two parshiyot on the next Shabbat.

    2. Electricity

    If there is no electricity on Shabbat and the storm is over AND if civil authorities declare the area safe…

    Minyan should take place only during daylight hours.

    If there is electricity, services are held as regularly scheduled.

    3. Assume no Eruv

    Carrying permitted for life/limb threatening situations.

    Carrying permitted for individuals who need medical attention without which a person’s functionality is compromised, (even for a bed-ridden headache). In this case carrying should be done, only if possible, in an irregular fashion (i.e. carrying medicine in ones belt or shoe).

    Carrying permitted to allow a baby, infirm seniors or a child traumatized by the event to function without compromise. In this case carrying should be done, if possible, in a irregular fashion (i.e. two people carrying or wheeling the stroller/person.)

    4. Use of Candles & Flashlights

    Use yahrzeit or hurricane candles lit before Shabbat placed in designated locations.

    Hang/place lit flashlights with fresh batteries in key locations before Shabbat.

    If flash light/candle goes out:

    When necessary (to take care of children, to eat etc..) and there is no other light a non-Jew can relight or change batteries

    If not having the light may create a life threatening situation, you may do it yourself

    Moving candles and flashlight is permitted in the following situations:

    For any medical concerns no matter how slight

    Carrying permitted for comfort and welfare of seniors and children under eight (or above eight years old when child is traumatized by the event)

    When possible, moving a candle, should be done by two individuals

    5. Television or Radio

    TV or radio should be left on in a side room

    Channel should not be changed

    Volume on radio may be adjusted on Shabbat. Better to keep it on low for it preserves the battery and only raise it when necessary.

    Please be advised that it is highly recommended to stock up on supplies prior to Shabbat as many items may no longer be available in stores on Motzei Shabbat. For further questions, please consult with your local rabbi.

    The Shabbat Protocols in Case of a Hurricane were originally produced by in 2003 and updated in 2004.

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    11 years ago

    Thank you so much VIN for posting these guidelines for all of us to use.

    11 years ago

    Based on Ike that hit Houston a couple years back, expectant mothers should call their hospitals and see if they should come early. Hospitals may be on lock-down for the 12+ hours of the hurricane, or it may be too difficult to get there during the storm.

    11 years ago

    If I don’t have a TV, should I buy one before shabbos?

    11 years ago

    is there TV gemach for this shabbos?

    11 years ago

    “Volume on radio may be adjusted on Shabbat”
    even if the volume is digitally controlled?

    11 years ago

    Is it only me or does it seem like they are blowing this thing way out of proportion?! I mean this is not the first time their doing this a couple of years back they made us crazy and nothing ever happened!

    11 years ago

    In a situation like this we listen to the advice of emergency services, not a Rav. We all need to be informed and updated, know of evacuation plans, and ensure that we don’t put ourselves and others in danger because we fail to take the necessary precautions and act on the mos recent, relevant information in a fast changing situation.

    11 years ago

    The hurricane in the greater NY area is coming in on Motsei Shabbos. At least that’s a harchavo.

    11 years ago

    I don’t believe this advice is halachically accurate. Best to consult your local authority. OU — better to report on kosher vs non-kosher, than to delve into areas you are not expert in.

    11 years ago

    please be very careful where you place candles. they should be far away from windows where wind may blow a curtain to the candle and cauase a fire, or the candle could tip over.
    most important is safety….think before you put the candle down. personally i put them in a big tin so if they tip they land in the tin not on the furniture or counter. be careful!!!!!!!!!!!!

    11 years ago

    I think many of the Ravs would agree – if the storm occurs and you aren’t sure what to do about a certain thing and there is no Rav available to consult – then USE YOUR HEAD. Using common sense should get you through the storm safely.