A Toronto-area rabbi is pleading for Jews observing Passover to stay at home and practise physical distancing.

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, spiritual leader and executive director at Chabad Flamingo in Thornhill, Ont., posted a video to YouTube this week with a firm message to those of the Jewish faith.

“There is absolutely no permission, no right and no reason to for anyone to be violating the social distancing laws that have been put in place,” he said in the video, referencing the physical distancing measures urged by officials to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking to Global News on Wednesday, Kaplan remained firm that gatherings beyond immediate family should be out of the question this year.

“The best way we can honour our faith is by staying alive,” he said.

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“We the Jewish people are survivors. We’ve survived so much persecution and so much difficulty and here it’s an invisible enemy.”

It’s a directive that Barbara Searle’s family is taking seriously. They are forgoing their annual, cross-province family gathering for an at-home affair without extended family.

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