Shabbat Protocols in Case of a Hurricane

The following protocols were written by Rabbi Kenneth Brander, David Mitzner Dean of the CJF, with guidance from Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud at RIETS. 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.

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