For a variety of reasons, the month of May has always held a special place for me. It may be because my brother’s birthday is in May, as is my brother-in-law’s, and also my anniversary. Plus, my wife’s and my birthdays are at the start of June. But I think it is something more.
The weather in May always seems so perfect … sort of like a Goldilocks weather pattern: just right. Plus, once the calendar hits May, it means we are so close to the start of summer and with it vacations, time spent hanging around a pool and barbecues. And, as a former camp director, I find this is always an exciting time since many kids are starting to think and dream about heading to camp—especially this summer.
But this May feels a bit different.
I have started to feel a greater sense of excitement and anticipation about possible experiences this summer as more people become fully vaccinated. Israel’s Department of Tourism recently announced that it would begin allowing organized group trips of fully vaccinated tourists beginning May 23—about two months before fully vaccinated individual tourists may visit.
The list of what is possible this summer will continue to grow, and with it more in-person experiences, including within the Jewish community. Our local synagogues, as well as the Jewish Federation, are busy trying to develop procedures and protocols that they intend to enact so people feel safe returning for community gatherings like Shabbat Services, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, etc.
And yet we know that some people need more time, and that is OK and understood.
We know that this will be a slow and methodical process, so we are asking for flexibility and consideration as we work through this return. But I also want to assure those of you who still are not sure when they will feel comfortable returning to in-person experiences.
All our local Jewish organizations are also working to ensure that your virtual experience is still just as meaningful as it has been. In all of the conversations I have had with local leaders, there is a clear understanding that we need to make sure that both audiences’ preferences are considered.
The next few months are going to be very interesting and exciting for all of us. Remember to continue to stay safe, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone soon.
JASON MOSS is executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater
San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.