COVID Anniversary: Part 10 of our Aliyah Journey

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Two years ago this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 an official pandemic. It happened to be the same week as Purim. My mom urged me to come home from Jerusalem, where I was spending the year on the Masa Israel Teaching Fellowship. Meanwhile, my future husband spent Purim in quarantine in New York, one of the first people in America to isolate after an exposure. We both flew home to Florida the Sunday after Purim, though we didn’t know each at the time.

Two years later, Aryeh is in quarantine again the week of Purim—this time with me! And this time, we actually have COVID thanks to a large Friday night meal that infected eight people and counting. The situation feels incredibly full circle (we actually got sick on Pi day). But it’s no fun—especially schlepping to the mall in 40°F weather to get PCR tests when you’re sick. Or when the Ministry of Health calls and says you must go out for ANOTHER test because the first one was only “weak positive.” Remind me why we don’t have a better solution for official testing after two years!

Despite the fever, fatigue, coughing and stuffy nose, we’re incredibly grateful to be triple vaccinated and know we could be feeling much worse. We’re also grateful that we both got sick at the same time. Otherwise, one of us would be stressed out trying not to infect the other (which inevitably would fail since this is such a catchy variant). We’re enjoying our time together on the couch, though we’d much rather be out in the world preparing for Purim.

We’re also grateful to have organized a very timely Purim meditation about uncertainty as a gateway to freedom. Though we had to switch the event to Zoom last minute, it turned out to be a beautiful session led by Rabbi Daniel Silverstein, founder and director of Applied Jewish Spirituality. We practiced letting go of control—a relevant theme for Purim and the pandemic. The event was sponsored by Yavneh Bayit, a new grassroots Jewish leadership organization. Aryeh and I are Yavneh Bayit’s Jerusalem fellows, working to build a conscious, connected community for Jerusalem’s young professionals. Like our page on Facebook to learn about future events!

To all of you out there, stay safe and healthy. Even when you have a “mild” case, COVID is no walk in the park (and it means we can’t walk in the park for 5-7 days)! Wishing everyone a happy Purim and 2nd COVID anniversary. May this year bring complete healing and peace to the entire world.

About the Author
Manya Ronay is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and health journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She holds a BA in Journalism and Media Studies from Rutgers University and an MS in Health Education and Behavior from University of Florida. To learn more about Manya and to connect, visit
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