Throughout the past nine months, through the anxiety and fear, the isolation and frustration caused by COVID-19, our community has stayed connected across the physical distance. We have held each other, we have gathered in prayer and song, in learning and activism. We have shared many moments of warmth and joy. So as we face the fatigue and frustration that these months have wrought, we understand how eager we are to connect personally with friends and family during Thanksgiving. However, these times aren’t normal, they cannot be, even for a day, for the sake of our own safety and the safety of our communities.
We have been watching the pandemic spread across the country, and now, sadly, New Yorkers are once again on the front lines. And so we urge our community to be vigilant in our efforts to once again flatten the curve. It is our collective responsibility to our communities, to our country, and to the people we love, to follow public health guidelines: consistent (and correct) mask wearing, especially indoors with anyone who is not in your personal household, and masks and social distancing outdoors. Most critically, and painfully, as we look ahead to Thanksgiving: avoiding large gatherings. A Thanksgiving Minyan, if your quaranteam or “pod” is that big, is a blessing. Any more than ten is a potential hazard and, we would note, goes against the current New York State ban on gatherings, inside or out, of more than ten people.
It is equally important to understand and follow the travel guidelines for anyone coming to or returning to New York from out of state: whether children returning from school, or family, or friends joining for the holidays: all must quarantine for 14 days, or test out of quarantine per New York State guidelines.
We have learned, over these many months, that while virtual connections aren’t the same as being together, they can equally nourish our souls. Many of us have taken this opportunity to reconnect with loved ones who were already separated by long distances. We hope that each of you will find nourishment in these coming days, that, despite the challenges of this moment, you can also be thankful for what is good in your life, for the kind and decent people in your community, and for the possibility of real change and progress in the world.