Friday, December 09, 2022

As more and more Jewish organizations release guidelines and checklists for a safe-as-possible and reordered reopening of our communities (see our cover story by our own Harry Glazer), we are cognizant of the many changes that have already been made to our lives, with or without our express consent or choice.

So many of us have had, and continue to endure, incredible grief, trials and tests to our faith. For some, reopening our shuls and community-based places and organizations may even be the last thing on our minds.

But let’s try to set aside all of the buzzing in our heads—trepidation and fear about reopening, masks, gloves and vaccines and everything else—and spend these last days and weeks focusing on what is most important: making the last moments of our social isolation as powerful and memorable as we can.

While many of us are still mired in day-to-day concerns, there is still time to claim success, in whatever ways we can, for our chesed toward others during this time. What are we most proud of?

For some, this has meant daily or weekly WhatsApp calls to our parents, relatives and friends who live alone. Creating Zoom meetings, family quizzes and photo essays for those far away from us. For others it has been donations to Tomchei Shabbos and other worthy non-profit organizations and to our yeshivot and shuls, which are all hurting during this time.

For parents, it has been adapting and turning into ill-equipped (in many cases) full-time teachers/therapists, pantry-based culinary dynamos and WiFi experts (all at the same time). For many, it has been shopping for others or sharing tips and tricks with friends for locating hard-to-find items online. For our children, we continue to be amazed by their adaptability to the “new normal,” not to mention their amazing creativity and artwork, honoring our world’s selfless helpers and heroes.

Maybe while our schedules are still a bit lighter, we can make a new cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul). What did your COVID-19 chesed look like? What lessons will you take from it as we leave our homes? Email us at [email protected].

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