As Jews, we must respond to the surge of the Delta variant – Jewish Herald-Voice

Posted By on August 7, 2021

Last Thursday, July 29, President Joe Biden challenged America to renew its drive to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus and the deadly Delta variant.

This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, the president said, as he urged some 90 million unvaccinated Americans to get inoculated.

People are dying and will die who dont have to die. If youre out there unvaccinated, you dont have to die. Read the news, said Biden.

News reports have proliferated about Americans stricken with the virus who now regret not receiving the vaccine. Others believe their personal liberties are infringed by being vaccinated at the behest of federal, state or local government officials. The latter is muddled reasoning. A primary function of government at all levels is to protect the publics health, safety and welfare.

Avoiding vaccination can be disastrous. The New York Times reported in depth on the remorse of the acutely ill who rejected injections. For example, Mindy Greene watched her 42-year-old husband, Russ, struggle for breath while assisted by a respirator.

We did not get the vaccine, she wrote on Facebook. I read all kinds of things about the vaccine, and it scared me. So, I made the decision and prayed about it and got the impression we would be okay, the Times reported.

Such was not the case. As Russ Greene struggled to survive, his wife made a candid admission. If I had the information I have today, we would have gotten vaccinated, Mindy Greene wrote on Facebook.

Regrettably, the same day that President Biden invoked his bully pulpit to inspire Americans to get vaccinated, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order forbidding local government officials from imposing safety measures based upon what is happening in particular cities and counties.

Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19, Abbott said in a public statement. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses and engage in leisure activities. Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defense against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary never forced in the state of Texas.

The Houston Chronicle blasted Abbotts feckless leadership in an editorial. Buzzwords such as choice and responsibility sound great in stump speeches but make little sense in terms of public health: one persons choice to go maskless can affect someone elses health. Our personal responsibility isnt limited to protecting our own bodies and families: it includes our responsibility to act in the best interest of our community.

The community includes people who cant be vaccinated, the Chronicle continued. Among them: more than half of the states 5.4 million public school students under 12, for whom the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a vaccine. Wearing a mask provides some measure of protection for a student, but far less if hes the only kid in class wearing one.

As Jews, we must be guided by the teachings of Torah. Our sacred text stresses that, as individuals, we must take responsibility for the well-being of those around us. Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor (Leviticus 19:16).

Rabbi Micah Peltz of Temple Beth Shalom in Cherry Hill, N.J., has written of Judaisms emphasis on primacy of following medical advice. The rabbi wrote that following safety measures is necessary during this time of pandemic, like wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining physical distancing, are not just recommended but are obligated by Halakha, Jewish law.

If there is even a chance that our behavior can protect our lives, and the lives of others, then that would take precedence over any other consideration, noted Rabbi Peltz.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins have urged Abbott to allow them, as public officials closest to their communities, to tailor health care measures based upon what actually is happening in their respective communities.

The governors order is based on polling data of what Republican primary voters want to hear; conversely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations are based on the most recent data regarding the much more contagious Delta variant and what scientists and medical professionals have learned, thus far, to combat the spread and harm of COVID, said Judge Jenkins after Abbott issued his restrictions.

Leaders may have different opinions. But, Judaism teaches that each of us has a responsibility to ourselves, our families, our communities to protect health. Wearing a mask may be bothersome, but it is insignificant compared to the virulence of the Delta variant and the coronavirus.

We pray that the Delta variant will subside. Yet, none among us can escape our responsibilities to each other and to our entire community. We all are connected to each other. Let us follow Judaisms teachings that good health is a gift from Hashem to be protected, cherished and preserved.

Follow this link:

As Jews, we must respond to the surge of the Delta variant - Jewish Herald-Voice

Related Posts


Comments are closed.

matomo tracker