Physically Distancing, Spiritually Connecting

We have just about completed week 2 of our quarantine.

We are in this together
Israel’s chief rabbi called for a global fast yesterday.  If you were unable to fast for a day he suggested fasting for a shorter time. If you can’t fast at all he suggested you fast from speaking. If you can’t be silent for a day, he suggested be silent for a period of time.

What can we learn from this?
Whether you believe in the efficacy of prayer or even believe in God, there is power in this charge. First, we are reminded that we are in this together. This is a worldwide fight. None of us can say, this doesn’t apply to me. This pandemic has reached around the globe. You don’t get to bow out. You are required for the fight.

Second, we must embrace that the actions of each of us matters. Are you doing the very most you can do? Are you washing your hands? Are you sterilizing surfaces touched by others? Are you giving money to agencies helping the helpless? Are you volunteering in some way? Are you cheering up someone who is lonely?

At times like this we are reminded that American autonomy is the culture of our country, but not that of every country. We love our autonomy but it could also lead us into destruction.  BE A GOOD CITIZEN. Listen to the experts.

Let me share with you a tiny bit of advice from my scientist husband who works in the medical biotech field.  Your greatest weapon is the humble soap. The physical structure of this virus, like other viruses, is encapsulated in a fatty envelope. Soap dissolves the fatty shield and its guts die. You don’t need Purcell or bleach – those are fine, but soap will do the job! And it is less lethal to us humans. So please do the very minimum at least and wash your hands, cover any cough or sneeze, and isolate.


Among my emails I got this one:
Thank you for your email and reminding us to reach out to others.  I heard some of the press conference and one of the men reminded us to do just that – stay connected to neighbors etc.  I watched my synagogue’s live stream service a week ago as my husband was working late and it was weird with just the Rabbi and Cantor but I wanted them to know I was watching.  It must be so hard for them to be people that engage people and then not be able to.

We 4 will be home with some structure but also lots of flexible time to fill.  Maybe you could craft some spiritual ideas to share as a homebound family?  I would like to try to find a yoga YouTube as my husband and I just started a beginner class but it was cancelled.  We are all just floating. What next?
Keep doing what you are doing – we value it.

First, thank you for taking the time to tell me that it is worthwhile to keep emailing even now, or maybe especially now.


Spiritual ideas
Begin with my opening paragraph. Consider fasting or not speaking for an hour. Use the hour to have kavanah (focus) on the state of our world and consider what you can do to make things better – for a family member, a friend, an acquaintance who lives alone.

Who could you call, email, text or contact on Facebook?  I am texting every day with a number of friends. I make a point of texting several friends who live alone.

Do you have a skill or hobby that you can share? Maybe you can teach it online. Or perhaps you’ll use it to bring happiness to others. You can knit blankets for hospitals. Put in an extra row of vegetables to donate to a food bank this summer. Use your phone to collect beautiful images and share them with people who need contact. (I’ve been sharing useful info and dog pictures!)

Take time to be alone or meditate. Visualize the world as you want it to be. Take yourself to the beach or mountains in your imagination. Here’s something wonderful – pollution has dropped significantly during this pandemic. That means we can alter our planet’s well being very swiftly if only we choose to all do it!

About yoga…
Rabbi Jennie Chabon of B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek typically leads a yoga class with yoga instructor, David Moreno. She tells me that he is offering online yoga and she is taking one of his classes. Look here for his classes.

Need a bit of self comfort?
The Greater Good Science Center has lots of useful articles on their website.

Jacob Rubin ( a friend) is a comedian and entertainer. If you are on Facebook you can “like” his page, Jacob Rubin: Quizmaster and you’ll be able to watch his humorous trivia quiz contests. He offers a general topics quiz at 10am on MWF and a themed quiz at 6pm also on MWF.

My dear friend, Laurie Leiber is also using Facebook!  She offers cooking classes via her Facebook page, Bake Your Own Amazing Bagels. This week she is made sour dough bread. She is open to suggestions, but requires that they be things her family will eat as she doesn’t want to waste food. This is a good time to request a Passover dish if you’d like to try out something but want an expert available. She is also contemplating Matzah Ball Soup – certainly a comfort food!

Plan things that you can look forward to doing. Whether it is a class online, a lecture, a Skype date, you need to have regularity and predictability in your days.
I saw this list of DYI kits on Etsy; make something to give as a birthday gift. That gives you a goal and a deadline.
Busy hands will calm your brain.  This is my favorite article about YOUR BRAIN ON CRAFTS.
But you can also Google others or look at the ones I’ve added to my Pinterest Brain Science board.


Postscript to the above email:
Our whole family did a Zoom call!  From age 1 to 95 we all got to see each other and just check in and gear up for likely doing Passover separately.  People think of Zoom just for work and school but once everyone downloaded and got oriented it worked fine for the free 40 minutes.

Even those of us who are non-techie types are learning the value of technology! I expect quite a few of us, if not all, will be having an electronic Seder this year. Let’s embrace it! How can we make it the three M’s merry, memorable, meaningful?

Take good advice
Natan Skaransky was imprisoned for nine years in the Soviet Union. He has tips for the rest of us about enduring this time in quarantine.
Natan Sharansky’s Tipsfor Quarantine

Speaking of Passover…
I saw these beautiful cards that a woman is selling on Etsy to be used at a Seder.   You could buy them. Or you could take this time and make your own. Get your kids involved. They can illustrate if they are small or do research if they are older.

More Passover resources to come.

Posted in Community
Published on March 26th, 2020