May 22 2020
Dear Mr. President,
Shabbat Shalom, it’s a few hours until Shabbat and my challah is in the oven, the Roasted Carrots with Tahini Sauce, ala Adeena Sussman (not a relative, too bad, she’s terrific) and sliced eggplant that is also roasted are all ready as well. I hope they last until dinner because we are snacking on both. I am probably going to make the Jeweled Rice as well (basmati with roasted nuts, dried fruit and lots of dill or other green herbs) and some salmon. Kind of makes you hungry, doesn’t it.
I’m telling you this because Shabbat is on my mind. I see that you have ordered “ordered states to reopen places of worship” and you are going to “override governors who resist”. I have a couple of questions for you about this “order”. One, do you have the authority to force places of worship to open? I didn’t know that. I know you think you have the authority to do anything, as per you, not per the Constitution or any law. Two, are you also ordering everyone to go to a place of worship this weekend? I didn’t know you could force people to go. Our Synagogue is reaching people through other methods until we feel safer to meet in person. Did you know that a lot of religions are doing that? It is different from the normal way we pray and learn and get inspired but it’s working better than you think.
Three, where are you worshipping this weekend? Your usual place? It would be lovely if you led the way with your own family and go to a church near you that will be open. (Not Jarod and Ivanka, they will walk to the synagogue) Will you wear a mask if the place requires it? Four, what if the religious leaders say “no”, not yet? Will you order them to preach or lead services? My religion stresses that all the commandment, except 3, can be broken if a life depends on not following the commandment. Five, did you think that the act of being in a place together is the only way to worship or pray? Those who believe in an Almighty, even young children, know that the Force is everywhere. It is absolutely true that being in a group together has a certain energy and special quality but it is possible to do this on your own or with your family. Don’t you do that with your family?
I know I’m “preaching to the choir”, but, we get that you really really really want us to get back to normal. It would be great if we felt comfortable (on the bimah, inside joke) doing that but, I think, most of us aren’t there yet. It does seem that many of your supporters also want to go back to activities and places that are their normals, even if the virus still is quite active where they live. I hope they will be okay. In fact, Nancy Pelosi and I will pray for them and for you this weekend.