Our daughter’s wedding was fast approaching on Tuesday, December 28th, and Omicron was proving to be the black shadow that cast a cloud on the whole thing. One by one, friends and relatives messaged us that they could not come, due to illness or fear of illness. Plus, we had been planning an outdoor chuppah, and the weather forecast was calling for 100% chance of rain, all day. You don’t see a bold prediction like that too often. I completely understood all of it, but was feeling terribly disappointed.
Hello OOTOB Readers,
Somehow, this summer sneaked right by and I failed to notice that this past July marked ten years of my blog, with my first post, The Bridge, having appeared on July 25, 2011 (when I read it now I cringe at my writing style, naivete, and grammar gaffes). I thought it only appropriate to look back at the past ten years of this blog, and of the relationships I’ve had through it over the decade.
Every time you think Covid is over, there’s a new variant to freak you out. Omicron is the latest in the “let’s-worry-before-we-know-if-there’s-cause-to-worry” parade in the news, but it certainly won’t be the last. In other words, Covid isn’t actually going away anytime soon. We just have to learn to live with it as a present reality in our lives, which, to my view, must go on.
I have learned over the years that my High Holiday experience was different from many Jews I’d later meet. Growing up in my Orthodox bubble of New York and then Cleveland Heights, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were mainly about the prayers. “Where are you going to daven (pray)” was a far more likely question than, “Who’s coming over for Rosh Hashanah dinner?” In fact, we usually did not have any guests for Rosh Hashanah dinner. The solemnity of the day didn’t feel compatible with the celebratory atmosphere of guests. Yom Kippur break-fast was a small and unimpressive affair.
Humans of New York is one of the few social media accounts that both has over 11 million followers, and a consistent, heartwarming, positive comments section. The owner of the account, whom I know only as Brandon (I’m sure he has a last name somewhere), finds and showcases human beings whom we discover are both completely ordinary and astonishingly special. He takes their pictures and writes up their stories in their own words. Sometimes, he writes these as multiple parts in a series, dropping them slowly and carefully over a day or two like a long-awaited dessert.
In Cleveland, as in many other Jewish communities, there’s an organization called Bikur Cholim, which helps Jews struggling with illness, in a stunning variety of ways. Cleveland tends to attract members of the tribe from all over the world, thanks to our award-winning hospitals, and Bikur Cholim supports them with kosher food, rides, housing, and services you would have never even thought you needed. It’s an astonishing display of Jewish kindness during a person’s most vulnerable moments.
Last week, my husband and I drove to Narrowsburg, New York to bring our youngest daughter Nomi to Camp Sternberg. It was a beautiful drive through the Poconos and she was so excited to go off for her very first adventure at overnight camp.