Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto

Message from the Rabbi

January 14, 2021

I have a new appreciation for the term “business as usual”. While I used to regard it as being mundane and occasionally dreary, I now miss it. Much of our regular pattern of behaviour has been disrupted. We are living in a time of urgency and emergency. At Temple, we are connecting and caring more than we ever have, but in completely new ways. I am very proud of how Sinai and our Temple family have pushed aside “business as usual” to create meaning and community during a challenging time.

I wish that our governments would act as though they share the feeling of urgency and change. Our federal and provincial governments are engaged in the essential, life-preserving tasks of procuring and administering vaccines against this novel virus. I am scandalized that Ontario has among the lowest per capita vaccination rates so far. I am deeply troubled that our Prime Minister talks about the general public having access to the vaccine by the end of July. This kind of “business as usual” will cost lives. I am in touch with our members of the Sinai family who are ill with COVID-19. Their short and long-term health and their very lives are at risk. The lethargic, plodding approach of federal and provincial governments toward getting us all vaccinated is offensive.

Let’s raise our voices and tell our politicians that we expect and deserve better. It is time to pull out all the stops. This pandemic is the first one of its kind in a century. We need a response that is just as extraordinary. Please call and e-mail your MP and MPP as I have already done. (As I write, I have not yet received a response). Tell them that we expect them to cooperate, not assign blame. Inform them that we are tired of spin and angle, and expect clarity and transparency. If they cannot demonstrate that they will do everything imaginable to protect our lives, then at the next opportunity, let’s find different political leaders who can. Let’s set a goal that is aggressive, as we see in Israel and other countries. To borrow a formula regularly used by our founding rabbi, Jordan Pearlson: the time to raise our voices is . . .now.