Some synagogues have cancelled services ahead of a potentially historic blizzard.
At least two synagogues in Providence, R.I., have called off Shabbat services this week in light of the expected severe weather. More than two feet are expected in Providence, one of the highest predicted snowfalls.
“Due to the impending blizzard all worship services have been canceled Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said a recorded message at Providence’s Temple Beth-El on Friday afternoon.
The Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the country, will reportedly not hold prayer services this shabbat for the first time in years.
In New York City, where snow is expected to be lighter, fewer cancellations were reported.
B’nai Jeshurun on Manhattan’s Upper West Side said services will be held as usual with the exception of a special service for young children, which had been canceled.
“A lot of people live within walking distance so we’re allowing them to use their own discretion,” said a spokesperson. A blizzard slammed into the northeastern United States on Friday, snarling traffic, disrupting thousands of flights and prompting five governors to declare states of emergency in the face of a fearsome snowstorm.
Forecasters warned that about 2 feet (60 cm) of snow would blanket most of the Boston area with some spots getting as much as 30 inches (76 cm). New York was due to get about a foot (30 cm) in some areas, while heavy snowfall was also expected in Connecticut and Maine.
Winds were blowing at 35 to 40 miles per hour (56 to 64 km per hour) by Friday afternoon and forecasters expected gusts up to 60 mph (97 kph) as the evening wore on.
Driving conditions were treacherous. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick took the rare step of announcing a ban on most car travel starting Friday afternoon, while Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy closed the state’s highways to all but emergency vehicles.
As the evening wore on and the snow piled up, mass transit was also affected.
In New York City, transit officials said “suspensions in service remain a strong possibility,” and Metro-North Railroad suspended some of its commuter rail service at 10 p.m.