A Pastoral Letter From The Minnesota Rabbinical Association

Dear Members of the Minnesota Jewish Community,

We are called upon daily to act with compassionate conviction, to mobilize people of faith to respond to the eternal question, what can I do to serve my neighbor? The Minnesota Rabbinical Association speaks out as the moral and religious voice of the Jewish community, and we invite you to be partners with us in the sacred task of responding now.

As MRA rabbis across this great state we call home, we are moved by the outpouring of people who have asked how they might serve others in the face of COVID-19. We notice at different times in our lives we have varying capacities to give. There will be times over the coming months when many of us may move back and forth between being able to give and needing to accept support.

As members of the Jewish community, one of the most helpful things you can do is to share the facts to combat any misinformation. Minnesotans should look for information from the Minnesota Department of Health or the Governor’s Office. Both websites have factual information that Minnesotans can trust. When sharing this information on social media, be sure to use #StayHomeMN.

As far as individual actions that Minnesotans can take, the State Emergency Operations Center has identified a few ways that Minnesotans can help each other during this challenging time:

  1. Individuals who have small quantities of new, unopened and unused personal protective equipment (PPE) to donate to COVID-19 response efforts should contact their county or tribal emergency manager. Examples of recommended PPE items are gowns, masks, respirators, face shields and gloves. Find your local emergency manager using this interactive map. (Please note: Emergency managers cannot accept opened or used PPE.) Or, you can visit this website to learn how to donate PPE: https://mn.gov/ppe/.

  2. Other than PPE items, donations of supplies and goods are discouraged. Cash donations to the non-profit of your choice is always a welcome donation.

  3. Individuals who would like to volunteer should contact an organization registered with the Minnesota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MnVOAD).

  4. Many blood drives have been canceled, impacting the supply. Blood donation centers have the highest standards of safety and infection control. To find where you can donate blood, visit the Minnesota Red Cross.

  5. Businesses who would like to offer resources, supplies or personnel to COVID-19 response efforts should complete this distribution form or email [email protected]. Submissions will be reviewed by personnel in the State Emergency Operations Center. Businesses will be contacted if there is a need for the identified resources.

As an MRA we know there could be a need to support those with underlying health conditions who may need shelter in place for a longer period of time. Our partners at Jewish Family and Children’s Service and Jewish Family Service remain vital resources to help with that. We ask you to follow closely all their communications as well as those from the numerous synagogues, agencies, and organizations throughout Minnesota.

As we approach Pesach, we move from serving as slaves to Pharaoh to serving one another and the Source of Blessing in covenant. We commit our hands and hearts to heal a world in deep pain. Thank you for being partners in that sacred task.

With enduring hope,

Minnesota Rabbinical Association