A Narrow Bridge

Neighbors of Bezalel A photo by Marc Kornblatt

They say that one big difference between our battle against Covid 19 and previous world wars is that with this new epic struggle people can’t console each other in bomb shelters.  The damage the virus wreaks on humanity’s sense of community, therefore, may be one of the pandemic’s worst consequences.

Israel’s prime minister has predicted large-scale tragedy unless the opposition party joins him in fighting off the malignant microbes.  Part of this pact would allow him to remain in charge of the government, which has left me wondering whether he sincerely cares about Israel’s citizenry, or is really more concerned about his lock on power and desire to avoid a trial on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

But enough politics!

As a new Israeli citizen living in Tel Aviv for less than year, what I really want to talk about is my home’s response to the virus crisis.  Mind you, my perspective is limited and entirely anecdotal. That said, from where I stand, The Land is blessed with people prepared to confront what lies ahead with resilience and good cheer.

I base this view on what I discovered last Friday afternoon when I met a bunch of folks in my apartment building for the first time.  Knocking on every door — 100 of them, more or less — I invited those who were home to join me in a community-building activity that promised to be fun and life-affirming, while carefully following the government’s social-distancing guidelines.

Residents of 18 different apartments agreed to take part.  As Jews know, 18 is an auspicious number in Hebrew numerology.  (10 + 8 = חי  Life!)

In terms of marketing, 18 out of 100 was a huge return on my investment, especially since half of the building’s residents weren’t even home.  As advertising folks know,  a 3% positive response to a direct marketing campaign is a solid success.

The smiles and laughter that I recorded on  camera for the music video I planned to produce, coupled with the thanks and encouraging words that my neighbors offered up, left me feeling inspired and hopeful.

I believe what we created together offers a microcosmic view of the population in general. Despair has not overwhelmed Israel. On the contrary.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out “The World is a Narrow Bridge” for yourself. See what my door-knocking activity revealed.

About the Author
Filmmaker, playwright, actor, and children's book author Marc Kornblatt is the producer/director of the award-winning documentaries DOSTOEVSKY BEHIND BARS, STILL 60, WHAT I DID IN FIFTH GRADE, and LIFE ON THE LEDGE, among others, and more than 20 web series, including MINUTE MAN, ROCK REGGA, THE NARROW BRIDGE PROJECT, and BLUE & RED, RESPECTFUL ENCOUNTERS OF THE POLITICAL KIND. His latest picture book, MR. KATZ AND ME, is forthcoming from Behrman House. He and his wife made Aliyah in 2019 and now live in Tel Aviv.
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