We got off a plane from West Palm Beach after a visit to my colleague who moved down there to be near her son and family. We had also had dinner with long-Iost cousins at a kosher-vegan café. Before, we left Florida, my friend gave us wipes because we had discussed that the surfaces in planes were rarely wiped. So we wiped the pull down tray and the bathroom fixtures and felt really safe (and self-righteous.)
We felt so good that we had made the effort to keep relationships going. The next day or so Tom Hanks and his wife reported getting something called COVID in Australia. Within a few days, our existence changed. In the lead-up to summer, Tisha B’Av, and now the High Holidays, we finally knew what we were in for.
When Adat Shalom announced that the building would be closed and that services would be on Zoom, I didn’t even know what Zoom was really. Oh, those days are long ago!
We settled into a rhythm. Friday night Zoom with family, Shabbat morning services and break-out groups, Sunday afternoon seminars with Reconstructing Judaism, or study sessions with Jewish Learning, Tuesday morning meditation, Friday morning Jewish Values, book club, and in between, rafts of meetings with Jews United For Justice, and Social Action programs on refugees and immigrants, a creative writing class, work on a professional paper, and streaming operas and movies. All of a sudden, time passed, no more fires in the fireplace, too early crocuses and magnolias, and a warm beautiful spring, leading into a hot muggy summer. Social distancing on the porch with the kids. Making a singing video with the choir — What a miracle!
And what provides structure, spirituality, learning, prayer, calm and selfless leadership, and a lively listserv that teaches, provides answers, offers jokes, and more long-winded back and forth postings about current events than one can handle!
How could anyone dwell too long in deprivation, with this kind of community — breakouts, early morning minyans, havdalah and a plethora of suggestions for at-home entertainment? I can’t help feel we will all be forever indebted for the fortitude and good humor of our beloved clergy, Executive Director, staff, and lay leadership.