In these unprecedented and difficult days, we turn to the wisdom of our ancestors. The Talmud teaches that life is so sacred that the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh, saving a life, supersedes all other Jewish commandments. In fact, we are obligated to push aside the performance of other mitzvot if there is even a chance that doing so could put a person’s life in danger. Life is precious and we must do all we can to protect it.

The Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis, a multi-denominational group of more than 50 rabbis in the Greater Cleveland area, holds this principle dear. We are in support of the guidelines from our government that strive to contain the spread of COVID-19. As Jews, we understand the value of community. While we yearn for each other’s companionship in these days, we do so through physical distance. Ecclesiastes teaches there is “a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” Physical distance does not mean that we are any less in community. We are working to sustain, support and engage each other, emotionally and spiritually, even as we maintain our safety and health.

The Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis is proud to be part of such a strong and caring Jewish community. Please know we are here for you as we journey together through these uncharted paths.

If you are in need of rabbinic support, please contact Access Jewish Cleveland of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland at 216-292-4636 or info@jcfcleve.org. They will connect you to us, or the best resources for your needs.

Rabbi Melinda M. Mersack, President

Rabbi Scott B. Roland, Vice President

Rabbi Josh Foster, Secretary

Rabbi Enid C. Lader, Treasurer

Rabbi Allison B. Vann, Past President

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Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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