Moving Past Quarantine–The State and Federal Plan

Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, May 1, 2020 / 7 Iyar 5780

THROUGH A LENS OF FIRE: Hasidic Insights on the Torah continues on Wednesday May 6th at 12:30 pm. Please check the CNS calendar for the Zoom link. We had a technical difficult last week so that many people couldn’t enter. Our admin team has addressed that and things should hopefully function properly this week.

Friday night services: I am excited that Kim Schneiderman will be joining me tonight for services, and hope you can attend.

Summary: This week’s Oasis Song focuses on two issues. One is an update on our mask-making efforts which will begin formally on Sunday. The other is a report from the Governor’s office on Oregon’s plan to reopen. Please see below for more information.

Mask Making

This Sunday, from 5-6pm, we are going to have a mask-making workshop to provide masks to our homeless neighbors, a project I first talked about in last week’s Oasis Songs. Several people wrote back in support of the project, but wondered if there was some way non-sewers could participate. Since the last major sewing projects I was involved in were during my 7th grade home economics class, I also fall in that category! The short answer, is, yes, there are more ways to participate, so please join us for the first part of the workshop. Over the past week, a couple of partnerships have firmed up. I am so pleased that we will be working with two amazing organizations—Portland Street Medicine, and Sew to Save, started by Lisa Schneiderman. My public thanks, as well, to Diane Fredgant who in short order created a video on creating a simpler mask. I think our communal efforts will save lives and prevent transmission and am excited to spend time with you then.

Moving Past Quarantine

So many of us are struggling with uncertainty. Questions run through our minds? How long will we need to shelter in place? When will restrictions ease up? When will I feel comfortable going out even if permitted to? How can I keep my family productive? Will I run out of money? What if I get sick? While we all long for answers to our concerns, and while it is sometimes hard to see progress, there really is movement. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

This past week, Common Table participants had an opportunity to meet with the Governor’s office and learn about that end of tunnel light–specifically the plans to reopen Oregon. As a reminder, the Common Table is an interfaith project that brings together clergy from across the state and from a world of different perspectives. The governor had wanted to ensure her office was being responsive to and cognizant of the needs of those diverse faith communities; I am grateful to know that our state’s top official dedicated some of her staff resources to that end.

While the plan they shared with us is based on the Federal plan and the input of Dr. Fauci, they also explained that Oregon ultimately is responsible to make the best decisions for our state, and that there will be different metrics used for different areas of the state, especially in lower density rural settings. Here is the link to a pdf of their PowerPoint presentation for those interested. The document will be updated in real time, but I wanted to ensure that you had the opportunity to look at it.

In short, it is a three phase plan with gated criteria along the way—measuring, testing and contact tracing to ensure that Oregon won’t be overwhelmed as restrictions are eased up. Toward the end of the plan, you will see some of the additional steps our state will be taking.

As we all know, we have a long march in front of us before there is immunity or a vaccine. Simultaneously, there is something about a well thought out plan which inspires a measure of much-needed confidence. There will be an end.

In the meantime, CNS will continue to dream up ways to ensure we are connected and supported. We will continue to speak with our local experts and make well-considered decisions to be safe.

Please continue to reach out to the people in your circle and check in on them. We all make a difference, and we all need different forms of support.

Stay safe,

Rav D

Shabbat Table Talk

  1. Can you recall a time in your life when you were desperately waiting for something to end–or for something to begin? Describe your thoughts and feelings during that time.
  2. What are some changes in your life that COVID has brought on that you are grateful for? Why?
  3. As some restrictions begin to ease up, what do you really want to do? What are you looking forward to?

If you’d like to continue this discussion, follow this link to CNS’s Facebook page to share your own perspectives on the topics raised in this week’s Oasis Songs. Comments will be moderated as necessary.

Torah Sparks Commentary This Week