COVID-19 and Communal Responsibility

“Take utmost care and guard your nefesh (life) scrupulously.” Deut. 4:9

With the approach of Purim and Pesach, and despite the sorrow that not being able to gather causes, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to follow all laws and regulations to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and limiting gatherings. We must remain insistent upon data-driven decision making and support the public leadership who make the difficult decisions that save lives – including those decisions that are challenging to Jewish family life, such as the closing of schools and the closing of borders.

The members of the Toronto Board of Rabbis understand the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on family and religious life. We see the pain when children cannot travel to attend a parent’s funeral. We understand grandparents’ sadness when they can only watch the family wedding on Zoom.

This pandemic has stripped our community of the ability to worship, learn, celebrate, and mourn in the ways to which we are accustomed. Nonetheless, shmirat nefesh (safeguarding life) dictates that we continue to make the necessary adjustments as mandated by public health officials and government bodies.

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