WASHINGTON - The White House held a conference call on Tuesday with 15 of the leading rabbis from New York's Orthodox Jewish community. The meeting was held in order to urge them to follow the administration's guidelines to limit the number of attendees at social gatherings to ten people.Avi Berkowitz, an assistant to US President Donald Trump, spoke with the rabbis for 45 minutes, going over with them the Trump administration's new guidelines, a source with knowledge of the details of the conversation told The Jerusalem Post. "He explained to the Rabbis how critical the situation is," an administration official told the Post. Berkowitz, who is an Orthodox Jew, explained to the rabbis that the new situation could make it challenging to partake in daily Jewish rituals such as services in synagogues which require at least ten men, as well as funerals, weddings and learning in yeshivas.According to the source, Berkowitz was asked if the learning of Torah could take place in the same building but in different rooms, in groups of no larger than ten people. He responded that it would be problematic, telling the rabbis that this is a situation of "pikuach nefesh" – the Jewish principle that preservation of human life overrides other religious rules."He told the rabbis that it is crucial to follow the guidelines even though they are not mandatory, because someone could carry the virus and infect vulnerable people," an administration official told the Post. Berkowitz also mentioned during the conversation that even though the guidelines were originally issued for a 14-day period, it could take even longer than that until the coronavirus outbreak subsides, mentioning the possibility that it could affect the Jewish holiday of Passover on April 8.