Chronicle poll results: Frustration with COVID restrictions
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Chronicle poll results: Frustration with COVID restrictions

We asked our readers if they were frustrated with the continued restrictions and diminished programming at Jewish institutions. Here's what they said.

Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Have you grown frustrated with the continued closures, restrictions and diminished programming at Jewish institutions?” Of the 153 people who responded, 47% answered, “No, because I think Jewish institutions are doing the best they can do,” while 26% said they were frustrated, but they believe “Jewish institutions are acting appropriately under the circumstances.” Ten percent of respondents said they were not frustrated, and “have come to prefer it.” Forty-three people submitted comments. A few follow.

I think they should be doing more. Why should I be exposed to people without masks when I go to services daily? Shuls were good with pekuach nefesh earlier in the pandemic and I am not sure why they have not taken delta and omicron more seriously.

I really appreciate the services provided on Zoom and online. I live in Belle Vernon and this makes participation so much more inclusive.

Jewish institutions cannot be lumped together. Of course I’m frustrated. For observant Jews, shul life is as essential as getting food, as breathing. The key is to minimize risk as much as humanly possible while allowing synagogue life, in person, to continue. My shul has done this, but most others have not. Zoom services cannot replace in-person and are inaccessible on Shabbat and holidays for observant folks, some of whom are members of liberal congregations. Given large buildings and dwindling congregations, social distancing is certainly possible, for most synagogues at least.

Patience is a virtue and we need to stock up on it.

I’m frustrated with COVID. Any closures or restrictions are the right thing to do right now.

We need to move on from COVID. It’s time to realize we will have to live with it going forward and let people take responsibility for their own health and safety.

Especially with an older population, it is best to be safe.

I do not think that all Jewish institutions in Pittsburgh are doing the best that they can to mitigate COVID. The language of this question does not allow for a critical response. I wish you had included an option such as “No because I think that many Jewish institutions are not providing a safe environment and their COVID case numbers are too high.” That is the response I would have clicked.

The Torah teaches us to do whatever we must to remain healthy. COVID has proven to be challenging and changeable — what we learned last year does not necessarily apply right now. Great care must be taken to protect our community. Patience, patience.

We should let the vaxed and masked attend Shabbat services in person instead of requiring Zoom for everyone. Let those who feel unsafe stay on Zoom (hybrid), but open the building for the rest of us. Zoom is a poor imitation of a community. I should get to decide what personal risk I’ll accept to get Shabbat.

Two or three years for adults and seniors is much less than two or three years for a 4- or 5-year-old. This has destroyed our kids’ lives. They are learning to fear closeness and connection. Anxiety and depression is skyrocketing amongst our adolescents leading to destructive behavior and learning disabilities. Enough is enough! I understand the need to protect the vulnerable, but what about the need to protect our kids? We are destroying lives and hurting the next generation.

I am a registered nurse and professor of nursing. These institutions are following principles of disease control. I support them 100%. And I so appreciate their alternate offerings. PJC

Toby Tabachnick

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