Temple Israel rabbi: We’re inventing ways to reach people.

Marcia Zimmerman
Marcia Zimmerman

The Southwest Journal is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by recording the personal stories of Minneapolis residents and workers whose daily lives are in a state of flux. As the outbreak evolves, we will be checking in with the participants regularly. Read all of the stories here.

All interviews are edited for length and clarity.

Marcia Zimmerman, rabbi, Temple Israel 

We are making a decision about our camp, Camp Teko, this week, based on recommendations from the American Camping Association. We know a lot of camps have announced they won’t be in session. We are very aware this summer will be very different from others. We are always planning ahead. 

Safety is most important. The reality here is that we are listening to the state and listening to professionals who know. Everybody is feeling anxious and a desire to get life back to normal, but we can’t do it until we do it safely. 

On Sunday about 250 households did a virtual tour of the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv. That was kind of an interesting engagement opportunity for people. We take groups to Israel every other year. We had a trip in June with families that we had to cancel. This was an opportunity for all of us to travel together to see this amazing museum — seeing synagogues throughout time and the world and communities throughout the world. It really was a great experience. They were able to go with all of us. There were a lot of kids on there. It was a great multigenerational experience. 

It’s using the best resources at hand and actually being able to enhance the experience beyond what we could do physically with people. Those are the moments I want to capture. We often think about the things we are losing in this virtual world, but there are good things to capture. 

We’re inventing ways to reach people. Otherwise you can feel the sadness if you don’t figure out what that creativity can be. It’s amazing how sad you can become. You have to create something in the sense of loss. How else can we do this? What are the other possibilities we can create right now? 

I’ve talked to a lot of people for whom the financial piece is becoming a lot more real. That is both scary and sad. That has come into focus — what it means to be responsible for a nonprofit in the midst of this and taking care of people. It’s scary how people’s lives have been affected. I think it’s important for everyone to know if they can give, they should give. Institutions that have been here are going to need help as well to help people.


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