Lessons (to date) From the Pandemic

1) Joy delayed is not joy diminished.

As I write these words in early October, we are two-fifths of the way through this year’s b’nei mitzvah “season”, five consecutive Shabbat mornings when we celebrate a young person’s coming-of-age and their being called to read from the Torah. All five families had to shift their celebration from spring/summer into the fall as COVID continued to play havoc with lives and with plans for celebrations. While compromises of many kinds were dictated by the pandemic, the joy was not at all diminished.

2) Communities can be surprisingly (and wonderfully) flexible.

I have been deeply impressed by the manifold ways that our FJC community has made its way through this pandemic-time. The word “ZOOM” became firmly entrenched in our vocabularies and that video technology proved itself to be a tremendous boon–“high-tech glue”–helping us maintain a sense of community through engagement with Jewish learning, social justice commitments, worship, life-cycle events and so much more, all in ways we could never have imagined in pre-pandemic times.

3) A potent antidote for anxiety is connection.

The pandemic has engendered unprecedented levels of anxiety. It has exacerbated pre-existing societal ills such as housing insecurity, unemployment, wealth inequity, insufficient access to health-care, all forms of racism and prejudice. It has also demonstrated the power of a phone call, an e-mail, a card-in-the-mail, a care-package to lift the spirits of those whom the pandemic has left feeling isolated, vulnerable and anxious.

Even as we strive to cope with the challenges that the pandemic continues to throw at us, we would do well to reminds ourselves of the many ways in which it is forcing us to be creative problem-solvers, better neighbors and more helpful friends and relatives. Think of it as COVID’s silver-lining.

Reb Elias