Jew News Review – Quarantine Week 52 – The Covid Silver Linings Playbook

Shabbat Shalom hey! Or for my Canadian friends, Shabbat shalom, eh?


First, a warm shalom and welcome to a new JNR devotee, Merrill Herbster!  A cousin of a cousin is a cousin of mine? Not sure how all that works, but welcome Merrill, first cousin to the Millstone cousins. 


This week marks what most would consider a grim anniversary we would rather not be “celebrating”. It was one year ago this week we started a nationwide lock down/quarantine, and terms such as PPD, N95, social distancing, self-isolation, orange turd (ok, that one might not be so common), cov-idiot, zoombombing, and quarantini became part of the everyday lexicon. And we have all suffered through the last year, some of us more than others, and some have probably done just fine in some privileged sort of way. But for the most part, the nation has had a tough year, mourning the loss of a half million people, dealing with job loss, remote schooling and work challenges, and giving up many social privileges that helped keep us sane and enrich our lives. BUT, as I am a “glass half full” kind of guy, I look over the last year, and the challenges still ahead, with a positive outlook. It was John Milton who first coined the term “silver lining” in his Comus work in 1634 (“Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”) so if an almost totally blind poet from the 1600’s can see light in the literally enveloping darkness, I feel motivated to do the same, and summarize some of the silver linings from our own pandemic-induced, sable cloud that hopefully will endure in the post-pandemic world.  To wit:

  1. Zoomification – The world has become more flat due to this virtual meeting technology, and others it has spawned. While most of us are tired of Zooming all day, the technology has given access to so much more and enabled new forms of gathering for family, holiday and religious celebrations. While it will never be as intimate as a personal live connection, it has opened so many possibilities for connecting people that tend to be more isolated, and is a lot easier than getting on planes, trains and automobiles. And given my stock portfolio includes Zoom at $40/share, let’s hope for it’s continued growth. 
  2. Pandemic Pets – Were it not for Covid, our adorable Ruby, fabulous Fred, and the handsome duo of Duck and Goose would not be the newest members of our family. I couldn’t imagine life without them, and I am sure there are millions of other families that feel the same.
  3. The Joy of Cooking – I honestly believe that like myself, many have taken on the challenge of the culinary arts and found their own attempts at cuisine can sometimes be as good or better than what we pay big bucks for in fine dining establishments. If only there were someone to clean up the mess!
  4. Together Time – Many people have been forced by Covid restrictions to slow down their pace, and discover each other (make a few babies perhaps?!), or have discovered more ways to chill in their own homes. Bingeing on shows from the many streaming services, playing board games, jigsaw puzzles (at one point they were sold out at Costco!) and just slowing down the pace. Maybe that will continue, or for Sandy and I, probably stay just about the same, as that was pretty normal life for us before the pandemic.
  5. Earth’s Vacation – With the slowdown in business and all forms of travel, we have reduced our carbon emissions and enabled the Earth to take a deep breath without belching. That probably won’t continue for much longer, but businesses are already rethinking the need for travel, so maybe some of the benefits will endure.
  6. Walking – So many of us have found venturing out beyond the mailbox has virtue beyond the exercise. We look forward to walking with the Sharon crew as much as possible, and getting in 3-4 miles to manage the guilt associated with sitting and eating Dove bars all day.
  7. Things that matter – Lastly, there’s nothing like a national crisis to get folks focused on things that really matter and mobilizing to do something about it. Let’s hope the Biden administration can continue its relentless focus on vaccinating everyone as soon as possible, that all Americans get vaccinated and we achieve herd immunity, and that we keep the ugly politics out of the process. 

So happy Covid anniversary everyone! 
Now let’s check out the weekly blurbs from this week’s Shabbat edition of the Forward:

  1. Fully vaccinated Bubbies and Zadies on a mission – It’s been a long gap year for those anxious grandparents longing for a hug and a real life connection with their grandkids. This is a story about how vaccinated grandparents are getting on planes and taking on risk to do so. 
  2. Jewish giving is way up despite pandemic – Not so interesting story about what folks are doing with their money now that there is not much else to do with it. Good to know that our fellow Jews are generous souls. Have you given lately?
  3. Ordaining intermarried Rabbis – Who new? Apparently the policy of not ordaining Rabbis that come from interfaith marriages has had a disproportionate impact on Jews of color.
  4. The ethics of vaccine line jumping – Slightly misleading story around the ethics of going over state lines to get vaccinated. The protagonist in this saga was actually eligible in both states. I wish I were eligible in any state! 
  5. Ruth Dayan, wife of the famous Israeli General, was famously a larger than life humanitarian – Great story of an honorable and principled woman who died recently just shy of 104. Really got a sense of the early idealism of the kibbutzim. 
  6. Dr Zeuss: Racist? Teacher? Both? – The cancel culture and anti-cancel culture nonsense is sucking the air out of the Fox blow-hard machine. Stupid distraction from real issues. This piece is pretty spot on in my humble opinion.
  7. Watching Bridgerton good for your sex life? Clearly my favorite for the week, an interview with Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, a sex therapist for the Haredi community, who dishes out wisdom on everyone’s favorite topic. One of her videos points out items you should have in your “sex basket” include “ a vibrator” and “a bigger vibrator”. That should get the JNR community buzzing!

All for now folks. And hey, especially grandparents, let’s be careful out there!
Brad out. https://assets.forward.com/shabbat-030521.pdf

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