As coronavirus cases continue to rise, restrictions and recommendations seem to be re-appearing. Sunday was the first of 4 weeks with Governor Andy Beshear’s suggestion that houses of worship stop in-person services. This recommendation runs through December 13th.
“You have to live with the times, that the entire idea of what my responsibility is in my community is to adapt to what’s needed,” says Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass. “Judaism puts a tremendous premium on religious life, it says in the Talmud if you save one person, you save the entire world.”
Rabbi Litvin says all classes and prayer sessions have gone virtual. Shabbat dinners, meals of prayer Friday nights, have been put into to-go boxes. He says central prayers on the Jewish Sabbath don’t use electricity, so the idea of switching to Zoom added an extra challenge. Still, the Rabbi says going virtual has allowed more people to get involved.
“We are seeing the blessing, the silver lining, in the dark clouds that have gathered and we will preserver through this,” Rabbi Shlomo says.
“Being a church that wants to be a good neighbor in the community, we’re gonna abide by the governor’s recommendations,” says Bryan Carter, community pastor at Crossroads Lexington.
Carter says the church will have all virtual services for the time being. Still, he says the congregation is able to safely come together to help the Lexington community. Sunday was the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. Over 3,500 meals were gathered for people in need of a turkey dinner.
“Anything we can do to be that light during these dark times,” Carter says.
Not all houses of worship agree with the governor’s mandate. Catholic churches in the Commonwealth will continue to meet, but with precautions. Some Baptist churches say they’ll go virtual starting next Sunday.
Governor Beshear says if houses of worship do meet, it’s safer to do so outside, or to get creative with drive-through services.