Rabbi Joseph R. Black

Rabbi Joseph R. Black

Inside Leadership
Metal compass on a wooden surface

In the last few weeks, my congregational community, like others around the world, has spent a great deal of time and energy formulating a plan to deal with the myriad of possible situations and decisions associated with the advent of COVID-19.

As we struggle to consider all our options in this ever-changing environment, we strive to make decisions using a values-based matrix that will help us to act in a consistent manner that is in line with Jewish tradition and modern sensibility.

1. Pikuach Nefesh / Saving a Life

This is the most important Jewish value. Our sacred texts...

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Silhouette of a woman sitting in a tunnel as if to represent social isolation

Our God, and God of all people: God of the rich and God of the poor; God of the healthy, and God of the afflicted; God of those with healthcare, and God of the uninsured; God of the hoarder, and God of the helper; God of those who have no God.

We are acutely aware of the gnawing unease that has been inspired by a global pandemic. Everywhere we look, we see apprehension and uncertainty unleashed all around us. The impact of this illness is very real. Its presence is felt every time we wash our hands, clear our throats or flinch in response to someone coughing behind...

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by Rabbi Joe Black On Sunday evening, I participated in a prayer vigil at the Aurora Civic Plaza. Many people from around the country saw the proceedings live on national television. From my perspective, sitting on the dais, the scene was somewhat surreal. There was a sea of faces – tens of thousands of people – all coming together to find some comfort in the days following a terrible event. The pain and the hope in the crowd were both palpable. For me, the most powerful moments came when the families of the slain and the wounded were ushered in to the proceedings. As I looked at the faces...

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