Last April, I wrote about the different synagogue cultures regarding touching and familiarity as it relates to greetings and the impact of the #metoo movement. Well friends, the Coronavirus has rendered that entire discussion moot because all levels of touching now appear to be inappropriate.
In addition to the standard recommendations of staying home if sick or immune-compromised, good handwashing, coughing/sneezing into your own sleeve, etc., we are now getting some new recommendations from our rabbis. Elbow-bumping is the new preferred standard for greeting one another, and new protocols are being instituted for showing honor to our Holy objects. Rather than touching the Torah scroll or a mezuzah in order to kiss it, we are being asked to point toward these objects without touching them and then kissing our own hands or our own tallitot. If we take a tallit off the rack, we should not kiss it.
There’s a lot to remember here with these new protocols and it’s easy to mix things up. When a fellow congregant receives an honor, we elbow-bump a yasher koach. When the Torah goes by, we blow a kiss. Reversing these would be completely inappropriate.
Finally, I learned last night that elbow-bumping your mother is, apparently, not ok. Before dealing with your own mother, I recommend consulting with your own licensed therapist.
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