‘Here in Spirit’: An Oral History of Faith Amid the Pandemic
Amid holy days, Jews and Christians are reexamining religion in the absence of physical gathering
Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion. For Jews, Wednesday night marked the beginning of Passover, the spring holiday celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt. Normally, both sets of holidays are packed with family, friends, food and celebration—yet this year, as the U.S. and the world weather the COVID-19 crisis, leaders in both faiths have been forced to re-imagine what’s possible when churches, synagogues and houses of worship are closed and group gatherings discouraged or prohibited to slow the spread of the disease.
WIRED spoke with nearly a dozen Christian and Jewish faith leaders from across the country to hear how the pandemic is reshaping their religious experience and challenging and strengthening their own beliefs. The following oral history, the fourth in our ongoing weekly series, COVID Spring, has been compiled from those original interviews, as well as from social media posts, to capture the transformation of religion in the time of the coronavirus.
Editor’s note: If you'd like to read previous installments of this series, Chapter 1 of COVID Spring dealt with patients and those on the front lines of the response across the country. Chapter 2 featured the voices of eight Americans who have watched what would normally be some of the biggest and most quintessentially human moments in their lives—births, weddings, loved ones’ deaths—remade and altered forever by the virus’s shadow. Last week’s Chapter 3 featured the voices of New Yorkers at the center of America’s COVID-19 epidemic.
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