Dear members of Lakewood,
A few months ago, if anyone would have told me we would be heading toward March again, or even a tiny fraction of the horrors that happened, I would never have believed you. Purim was a super spreader before we even knew that term. We were innocent, we were whole. We didn’t know what it was to turn on our phones after Shabbos or Yom Tov and read many names next to candles. Names of men and women who left behind families, who often died alone, who sometimes suffered immeasurably.
We didn’t understand that this was a terrible virus, or see its mechanism of spreading, its deadly tentacles. We didn’t comprehend that large, indoor gatherings can make hundreds sick. And in the midst of April, when the list of new orphans became too great to count, no one would believe that a few months later our community would not take all measures against a repeat because the measures are uncomfortable.
We had a few months of blessed quiet. It’s over. There is no quiet now, as new local deaths are reported, or as numerous people struggle to breathe in local hospitals and as hundreds of families are sick.
Is it too much to ask to take every precaution? This will not last forever. For the time being, is it too difficult to follow CDC guidelines like almost every other community?
Even if you don’t agree, (and I’m still waiting for a real argument with DATA to show why) is it worth the optics of the Chillul Hashem happening? Last month a non-Jewish lady at the cleaners started crying to me. She doesn’t want to get the virus and all she asks is that everyone wear a mask in her store. Can we not do that in public at the very least just because some of us think we know better?
Is any life worth the risk of breaking a quarantine or not following isolation advice? This issue has become heated, I understand. Realize that the very reason the doctors are putting precautions in place are so that we can continue having schools and Shuls, while keeping safe. Our infection rates are climbing rapidly. We are already making the news.
Understand that this should never be about a discrepancy between Halacha and medicine. Halacha states clearly to guard our lives very much. If we can do melacha on Shabbos to save a soul, surely we can mask and distance and avoid large gatherings, all opposing opinions aside.
If you are traveling this Yom Tov, I beg of you not to bring this unwanted, microscopic guest with you. Please follow medical advice on how to make sure you don’t unknowingly CV spread this to other places. Remember it’s most contagious when you don’t even know you have it.
Please, at the very least, this virus can be a huge inconvenience and highly uncomfortable. At the worst- well, we already know the worst.
A concerned member,
Lakewood, New Jersey
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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