In this together

The JC Leader, 7 January 2021

January 07, 2021 12:38

It makes a refreshing change to see the world’s media reporting from Israel with admiration. Instead of the usual sneering and distortion that we have come to expect when Israel is at the focus of a story, the vaccine roll-out has been treated by most observers as providing an object lesson to other nations. The usual suspects have, of course, continued their smears. But it is obvious to objective reporters that this is a story of Israeli logistical and technical know how — and finding out what we can replicate in our own countries. But for all the ‘vaccination league tables’ with Israel at the top, this is not a race between nations; it is a race between Covid-19 and humanity. It is in everyone’s interests for as many people as possible to be vaccinated as soon as possible, friend or foe. We all need to work together.

What is the shul?

Another lockdown, and the same thoughts that we have grown so wearily used to over the past year re-emerge. But with vaccination, an end is in sight. So this time, the chance to reflect that has been part of lockdown for so many of us — such as what the revised normal will be like — has, hopefully,  a touch of urgency. With the vast majority of synagogues closed, perhaps now is the time to consider what role they should play, beyond services, when they reopen. Last week we reported a suggestion by Matt Plen for a broader notion of the synagogue. This week Jonathan Roman has his own idea. But this should not be just for progressive denominations: Orthodox communities also need to rethink how to make membership more attractive. One thing we do know: for most of us, the synagogue will be at the heart of the community.

January 07, 2021 12:38

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