Response to Coronavirus

by Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, B’nai David-Judea Congregation, a Modern Orthodox Synagogue in Los Angeles (taken from https://www.bnaidavid.com/coronavirus)

One of the brand new terms that has entered our daily conversation is “social distancing.” It is shorthand, as we know very well, for the practical physical precautions that we all need to and must take in order to protect ourselves and others. I’d humbly suggest though, that we use the term itself sparingly, if at all. Language is a powerful shaper of thinking. And the very last thing we need right now, is a mindset of mutual distancing.

We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way. Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise. It is obvious that “distancing”, if misplaced or misunderstood, will take its toll not only upon our community’s strength and resiliency, but upon the very integrity and meaning of our spiritual commitment. …

Let’s stay safe. And let’s draw one another closer in a way that we’ve never done before.