As we slowly and cautiously emerge from this pandemic I have been thinking about COVID silver linings. I know it’s a reach. What can possibly be good about this past year and a half? Well, I will try to list some things.
I think we have learned a lot about ourselves, our tenacity, our creativity, and our adaptability. We managed to stay together as a community while we were physically apart. We learned to use new, to many of us, technology and we learned about precautions used to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. And I think we have learned to appreciate each other more than before.
Now, we need to apply the things we have learned to our future together. For example, as we reopen for in person events, online services, classes and meetings can be a matter of accessibility and convenience rather than necessity. With what we have learned and are learning about the technology, members of our community will be able to attend and even participate in events even if health, geography, or busy schedules prevent them from being at our synagogue.
Another COVID silver lining is that we really didn’t have a cold and flu season. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use what we learned about hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing to prevent colds and flu? I hope that some of these precautions can be integrated into our new normal.
However, I think the most meaningful Covid silver lining is that in a time of physical isolation we have learned how important we are to each other. Joni Mitchell sang, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I think this is true of many of the things that have been gone during this pandemic. I hope that I will never again take visiting loved ones, attending the theater and making theater, or going to a ballgame for granted. And I hope that we never take gathering in prayer in our sanctuary or being together to learn or to socialize for granted.
We are Temple Beth Hillel.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am not for others, what am I?
And if not now, when? -Rabbi Hillel
~ Michael R Cohen, President, Temple Beth Hillel