On a call earlier this week with the Minnesota Department of Health, hundreds of faith leaders across our great state were reminded by MDH about COVID precautions: “We are about a mile from home; please do not take off your seatbelts now.”
The Minnesota Rabbinical Association is hopeful that with the gradual rollout of vaccines there will be meaningful discussion about re-entry for faith communities to pray, mourn, and celebrate in person. While the governor and lieutenant governor have removed all occupancy limits for worship services and other religious events, the entire membership of the MRA believes that without widespread vaccine access there is still reason to move the dial slowly. Clergy have not been designated as a specific category to receive vaccines, and many adults who attend religious services are still waiting their turn. COVID may be spreading less rapidly, but it continues to remain a serious threat. Further guidance is needed for congregational singing and participation in large worship settings to make sure everyone remains safe, from the youngest in our community to the oldest.
Passover, which begins the evening of March 27, reminds us that in every generation we are invited to see ourselves as having left an Egypt of one kind or another. We know that the journey out of Egypt and to the Promised Land is a long one. There are no quick turns or easy routes. We urge our communities to remain vigilant, and support our colleagues and communities as each one makes thoughtful decisions about in-person gatherings. We must keep our seatbelts fastened until we reach our destination. May we reach it in good health to be able to say, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”