The Tzedek Chicago board has decided to cancel all in-person services and programs up until further notice.
While the in-person nature of these programs is being canceled, most will go forward via Zoom conference or live streaming. Please check our congregational Facebook page or Facebook group page for the most up-to-date information about our programs.
In making this decision, we are heeding the advice of health experts and officials who advocate social distancing and/or event closures in response to the pandemic. I want to stress, however, that social distancing does not and must not mean social isolation. In addition to taking these measures, we feel strongly that this moment be an opportunity to strengthen our ties to each other all the more.
To this end, we are currently organizing a Hesed (“Community Care”) Committee that will spearhead efforts to reach out to members who are experiencing physical and/or emotional isolation as a result of this health crisis. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are in need of this support – or if you are interested in serving on our Hesed committee.
In Jewish tradition, the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh (“saving life”) demands that the preservation of human life take precedence over all others. It is critical that we do what we can to slow the spread of this virus so that our health care systems are better equipped to manage this pandemic. We're also mindful that this crisis is very much a justice issue as well. Indeed, it is our elders, pregnant people, and people with compromised immune systems (disproportionately disabled, poor, homeless and people of color) who are at highest risk. Every action we take to curtail the spread of the virus will help save the lives of the most vulnerable members of our communities.
In this regard, we highly recommend this response of local grassroots organizers to the COVID-19 crisis, which includes important background information and demands of health officials at the city, state and federal level. Of course, we encourage you remain informed of updates and alerts as they occur via the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Tzedek Chicago sends out our blessings to those who are ill and those whose lives and well-being are at risk as a result of this pandemic. Let us work to support those who have been afflicted, those who care for them, and those who are fighting on the front lines to mitigate harm.
In them coming days and months, let us strive to find creative, sacred paths toward communal and spiritual connection.
In Blessing and Solidarity,
Rabbi Brant Rosen