You may know that I grew up in the Jewish tradition and became a convinced Friend in 2000. One continuing exploration for me is discovering how and where my faith traditions overlap. My work on the Pandemic Policy Working Group is one of those places.
In Hebrew a good deed is called a mitzvah. It’s a special kind of mitzvah to save or protect life. This is called pikuach nefesh and many Jews believe that all other Jewish law can be set aside to protect life.
This is the work of the Pandemic Policy Working Group. They are working to protect life at in-person FGC events. They are carefully considering the steps we can take to make it possible to keep Friends as safe as possible at this summer’s Gathering. This means that those of us who attend the in-person Gathering should expect to do things that reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19.
Jorge Arauz, a frequent Gathering workshop leader of Extended Meeting for Worship, recently wrote, “It is Love that gathers us, and invites us to place our hopes and desires in God’s hands, ready to transcend them as Love teaches us new ways to hope and desire.” Jorge’s words recall the Jewish practice of pikuach nefesh for me. The steps we take to protect life may be inconvenient or uncomfortable at times. But knowing that our transcendence of inconvenience or discomfort is a mitzvah, a holy good deed, should ease the way. It is Love in practice.