Senior Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner has urged Reform Judaism’s community leaders to prepare for the possibility it may not be safe to reopen shuls in time for the High Holy Days.
Rabbi Janner-Klausner made the stark warning in a letter, published by Jewish News, and sent to synagogue leadership on Wednesday. “We cannot throw our efforts away now,” she said.
She added: “This means confronting another festival – Shavuot – distanced from one another.
“Realistically it even means facing the idea that we may not be physically together for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in September, and for our communities to start planning for what that might mean.”
She also urged Reform members to take advantage of the “plethora of opportunities to pray, learn and join together virtually with our communities” to celebrate Shavuot next week.
In her letter, the senior faith leader noted the sacrifices made by many to practise social distancing as she warned the community must aim for greater vigilance “than society as a whole.”
“We already know that the toll this virus has placed on our community – the number of lives we have tragically lost – has fallen heavier on us than on some others. We are, for many reasons, a group at an increased risk. With that comes an increased responsibility on us,” she said.
“This crisis has also seen us adapt with the most positive and innovative solutions to maintain our Jewish way of life in a different form. Suddenly we are all streaming tech-whizzes, with services, education and children’s programming from all over the Jewish world available at the touch of a button. As ever, Judaism’s great strength is its ability to innovate and survive,” she added.
Even at a distance, she said, members must continue to remain a “source of strength for another” as long as needed. “No matter wherever we are physically, spiritually our communities will continue to flourish,” she added.
READ MORE – Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner: Time to accept we may not be physically together for Rosh Hashanah