Pandemic Protocol

Coronavirus: A Time of Memories

by Helene Shalotsky

When I was a little girl, I thought once you grew up, you would know everything. I laugh at my naivete, for actually, when you grow up, you realize how much there is to learn; you are always learning, and so it is with COVID 19. We are still learning.

When all the protective details of our lives were being explained, I realized we are living in historic times; I shared that thought with my children and grandchildren. 

“One day, when you are a grandparent, your family will ask about this worldwide moment,” I offered.

How did you act?

How did you feel?

What did you do?

How did it all affect your personality?

Personally at moments like this, I think of the British Blitz and how remarkably the British people acted. They were admirable and role models for future generations, our generation.

So, I looked around me to see how we were behaving,

and what I saw was inspiring. I saw the unity and caring of many people. Neighbors called or texted each other with queries of

“How are you?’”

“Do you need someone to shop for you?”

“Would you like to call a service to bring you food, pharmaceuticals, books?”

Then there were our adult children calling, texting, sending us masks, food, and candies; they know their parents’ needs and tastes very well ;-D.

One of my daughters proudly told her sisters, “Mom and Dad are using FaceTime.” I know the young do this all the time, but we are rather new to it.

Passover came and we did have a Seder, but virtually, with the help of the ZOOM App. On our computer screen sat all our family members who would usually be sitting near each other. They were actually quarantined in Florida, New York, and New Jersey, but there they were reciting the traditional prayers from the Haggadah. If you can’t be physically near each other, this was a fabulous new way to feel connected to your loved ones.

By the way, many of my friends did their Easter dinners the same way.

My husband, who had planned his second Bar Mitzvah, had to postpone the celebratory luncheon that went with it, but the portion of the Torah had to be read as scheduled. 

The synagogue was able to coordinate the Bar Mitzvah boy’s 😉 reading with the Rabbi, Cantor, and everyone who was a part of the service. Friends and family as well as all synagogue congregants popped up on our screen from their homes; some of our friends and relatives zoomed in from California. It was all so lovely and loving. 

My husband was thrilled with all those who celebrated this special moment with him via text and phone and computer screen. We were told over 118 people were a virtual part of the Bar Mitzvah. How lovely is that! How thoughtful and novel! We were beyond touched.

This second Bar Mitzvah was particularly unique because of its coronavirus timing; yet family, friends, congregation members, and spiritual leaders gave a lovely memory during a trying time. There on our screen was the beauty of humanity: loving, caring, and supportive people.

During this moment in history, I also observe life from my grandmotherly perch. I have watched mothers and dads with their children of all ages. They are creating virtual birthday parties, making dinners, brightening their homes, spending dinner hour with their families, talking together about anything and everything, over-seeing homework and classes being taught on line, and still actively working at their jobs from home if need be. How spectacular are these moms and dads? 

I think they’re great and have given their families a good example as well as giving them special memories.

And so as we all hunker down in our homes, we have indeed reached out to friends, family, and neighbors with love, affection, and care using all the modern techniques to do it.

Today, we are living a day to day experience, but in all our tomorrows, we will think proudly of our caring nation and how we all tried our best to be our best and succeeded!