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Morning prayers amid Covid-19 in Lawrence

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On a picturesque spring Thursday, a father  and two sons, who declined to give their names, led a morning prayer service on Lawrence Avenue near the Long Island Rail Road train station in Lawrence. Everyone else stood at a distance, most in front of their own homes.

The men are also wearing tefillin, also called phylacteries, which is a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. Tefillin is worn by observant adult Jews during weekday morning prayers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on May 20 that worshipers of all religions could resume religious gatherings of 10 or fewer people, which began May 21. With religious leaders, especially rabbis, uncertain that houses of worship should reopen, outside appeared to be a viable alternative.