The rumor that my best friend potentially had Coronavirus reached me on Shabbat afternoon, and I haven’t left my room since. Thank G-d, I work from home, so I am able to keep my sanity (for the most part), but it has been tough in many other ways. It’s especially difficult because I love my routine and normal day-to-day life up in Kiryat Shmona, and there has been nothing routine about the past few weeks.
I was at Cybertech Tel Aviv near the end of January, and there was little talk of the virus that was still mostly on the other side of the world. But as the numbers of sick started to rise here, it started hitting closer to home. Friends’ weddings were severely downsized. Work events were canceled, davening at shuls was canceled, and the NBA, NHL, and MLB were shut down (ok, not really in Israel, but still). It is a tough sight to see so many young children sitting at home, taking online classes (or driving their parents crazy). And then finally, receiving word that my best friend is Corona Patient X was a biggie for me.
All of these new restrictions and cancellations, along with the fact that we have no idea how long this will go on for or what the total damage will look like, are nervewracking to think about. The two minutes that much of the country went to their porches and windows to clap and whistle, felt like more than just a thank you to our doctors (which they fully deserve). There was an unspoken “We’re all in this together” that I felt from the porch of the room I haven’t left for 5 days. Everyone is stuck in their houses, but we are together apart.
We may not be praying together, eating out together, or playing catch in the park together, but it was meaningful to see everyone on their porches for those minutes where we all came together for a greater cause.
One more story along the same theme: It is a girl from our community’s Bat Mitzvah today, and she chose to spend it by baking cookies and delivering them to me and others in quarantine.
Life has changed, and we don’t know when we will get our “real” lives back. We’re going to get through this, and small moments like that give me real hope that Israel will come back stronger than ever.