Friday, March 20, 2020
To our entire faith-based community in Miami Beach and the surrounding area;
These upcoming weeks feature some of the most significant days on both the Jewish and Christian calendars. Every year these days are celebrated with prayer services in synagogues and churches throughout our beautiful city. The celebration of these holidays are a large part of what gives meaning to our lives.
But this year is different. For the first time in our lives, this Passover will be celebrated much like the first Passover in the land of Egypt; by quarantining ourselves in our homes to protect us from forces outside that threaten to bring illness and perhaps, God Forbid, death to some. Likewise, Easter is a time where many in our community gather to celebrate together with family and friends, both at special masses and in our homes.
But because of the grave danger that threatens some of the most vulnerable in our communities, we have had to change how we celebrate these special holidays. Synagogues and churches are closed until further notice and every family must now create a holiday spirit within their own home. As we celebrate the wondrous acts of God, we must also be ever cognizant of his omnipresence within our lives.
In addition, South Florida has historically been a very popular destination for those seeking to experience these holidays in our sunny climate and warm communities. This time of year many tens of thousands of tourists come to spend the holidays down here with their families. We must vigorously discourage EVERYONE from coming down, including family and friends, and explain that their proposed visit to S. Florida will very likely endanger many lives. Caring for the wellbeing of others is an act of kindness and love, and something that we all must strive to achieve.
While we usually spend these days surrounded by our many friends and family, this year has to be different. We therefore implore you to stay home and not attend services at any impromptu gatherings or to go out unnecessarily. Even in our homes, we should limit our celebrations to the nuclear family living within.
We pray to God to protect our community, and in particular, its most vulnerable members. May God speedily remove this dangerous plague from our midst so that, as soon as it is safe, our synagogues and churches will reopen and we will once again mingle with friends and family and revel in all with which God has blessed us.
Wishing everyone a SAFE and blessed holiday season,
Father Roberto M. Cid,
St. Patrick Church
Rabbi Yitzchak Zweig, Talmudic University