Sunday, May 31, 2020

My protest against being unable to protest :( :( :(

I should be out there protesting against the murder of George Floyd and, as someone who's now retired and doesn't have to worry about going to work tomorrow, possibly getting myself arrested.  But I'm over 70, and, therefore, at too high a risk of contracting COVID-19 to dare mingling in a crowd.  :( :( :(

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Too soon :(

There aren't many advantages to being a super-small synagogue--it's a great way to go broke--but at least it's easy to contact all the "regulars" when there are only about 18 of them.

So when Governor Cuomo authorized gatherings of not more than 10 people, the president got on the phone.

A number of our congregants--mostly those over 80--refused to come to Shabbat (Sabbath) morning services because they didn't feel safe.

They were the smart ones.

Those who managed to make the cut--we had a few too many volunteers, so some had to be asked to stay home--followed all the rules, which were established with considerable guidance from the Orthodox Union that was forwarded by a synagogue member.

We were instructed to pray from the earliest blessings--Birkot HaTorah through P'sukei D'Zimrah-- at home.

Everyone wore a facemask.  And we were socially-distanced up to here--or rather, out to there--sitting in assigned seats that were two well-spaced rows apart, and sitting at opposite ends of the rows.

No one except the cantor was allowed on the bima (prayer platform).

The service was shortened as much as possible.   We started at the Shochen Ad prayer and did a heicha k'dushah for both Shacharit (Morning) and Musaf ("Additional") services. 

My husband, who's the acting rabbi, overruled the president and insisted on having only a Triennial-Cycle Torah reading for the first time in our synagogue's history, not only to shorten the service, but also to spare the cantor--it's no picnic leading an hour-and-a-half service through a facemask.  Everyone took their aliyot from their seats, and, when it came time for the Mi Sheh-berach prayer for the sick, we recited their names to ourselves, silently.  And yours truly read less than half of the haftarah.  My husband gave what was probably his shortest-ever d'var Torah (sermon, more or less), mostly to give the cantor a chance to sit down for a few minutes.

We thought that service went pretty well.

Until we got home, where we were greeted by a very upset son.

He pointed out that he hadn't known that we were going to shul until we were practically halfway out the door.

That's not surprising--when had we ever had to tell him in advance before?

But this pandemic has changed all the rules.

Our son pointed out that, by not discussing with him our decision to go back to synagogue, we had endangered his health without his knowledge or consent.


Fortunately, the president was also having second thoughts--when my husband called him on Sunday, he readily agreed to shut the shul again, mostly on the grounds that almost all of our "regulars" are over the age of 50, and, therefore, at higher risk.  By the end of the day, he'd called almost all of them to tell them the bad news.

Heaven, and/or the Centers for Disease Control, knows when we'll open again.

Congratulate us on the 100th anniversary of the founding of our synagogue . . .  which occurred in the middle of a global pandemic.  :(


Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day: In memory of patriotism (?)

The Greatest Generation was willing to put their lives on the line for freedom.

My family had three branches of the U.S Armed Forces "covered" during World War II:  After being rejected for pilot training by the Air Force (Army Air Corps?) due to flat feet, my father ended up serving as an Army ambulance driver in the Philippines; my uncle served in the Navy on a ship in the Pacific; my mother volunteered for the Women Marines and served in Washington, D.C.

Thousands died defending the freedom of folks overseas and protecting the U.S.

For what?!

So that a vocal contingent of U.S. citizens can walk around with signs that say, "We won't give up our freedom for your safety"?

So that some people can consider themselves *better* Americans if they *won't* wear facemasks?

So that a lunatic fringe can show up in places of government carrying weapons and threatening lawmakers if they dare try to save lives?

During World War II, Americans (and others worldwide) endured thousands of deaths in combat, years of separation, and the rationing of food and just about everything else.

Now, people complain that they can't get haircuts or buy lawn fertilizer.

Do Americans no longer understand the concept of self-sacrifice for the greater good?

Do we even understand what patriotism is anymore?


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A minor milestone :)

I finally finished the small bottle of sea salt that I used to keep in a desk drawer in my office--I brought it home during my last week of work at the end of December 2019.  I guess I'm now officially retired.  :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

I gave us a Lag B'Omer treat

I finally figured out how to support Jewish music without breaking the bank--I used my retirement gift card to buy some Jewish music on Lag B'Omer.  The singers below are listed in the order in which I first encountered them in recordings and/or online.

~Deborah Sacks Mintz:  The Narrow and the Expanse.  We first met Deborah here, after having heard her in many recordings by Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble.

~Chava Mirel:  Source of Love. We met Chava here after I first "met" her here.

~Elana Arian:  A Spark of Light.  We met Elana here after I first "met" her here.

~Yonina (Yoni and Nina Tokayer):  Simple Truth (Emet P'shutah).  I "met" them on YouTube.

~Galeet Dardashi:  Shalhevet.  She was my teacher at the Rising Song Intensive.

~Noah Aronson:  Am I Awake. 

~Eliana Light:  s*ngs ab-ut g?d

I "met" both Noah and Eliana here.

~Yonatan Miller:  Jewish Soul.  We've known him since he was a kid in our former synagogue.

Welcome me to the twenty-first century--this 71-year-old has never done a music download before.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Yale epidemiologist: Trump's response to COVID-19 'close to genocide by default'

My CPA husband is of the opinion that Trump is playing to his base by trying to re-open the economy while letting the pandemic kill off "minorities" who would be more likely to vote against him, and I think he's right. I've already commented to him and our son that what Trump is doing certainly seems like criminally negligent homicide to me, but this epidemiologist goes even further😠


Thursday, May 07, 2020

This is as close to Manhattan as we're going to get . . .

. . . for probably at least another month.  :(

I shot this on the thoroughfare on which we try to take a walk when the weather is good--since it's zoned commercial, it has wider sidewalks than the local residential streets, making social distancing easier.


Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Something-splaining "Sheltering in Place" in an apartment

My husband, our son, and I share a two-bedroom apartment with exactly one bathroom (no "powder room").  Years ago, when some relatives of ours lived in a large house in a New York City suburb, I used to joke that we could fit our entire apartment in one third of their main floor. 

And one of my relatives had to move to temporary housing due to construction--they are currently *sharing* a studio apartment.

Yes, I'm happy that some of you have room to store a month's worth of food.  Would that I could say the same.  We store non-perishable food for Pesach (Passover) on garbage bags laid out on part of our bedroom floor, which creates a safety hazard when we get out of bed.  Where could we possibly store an entire month's worth of food? 

Yes, I'm happy to read that someone's spouse, a doctor, is isolating themselves in their den to prevent themselves from spreading COVID-19 to their family, or that others are self-quarantining in separate bedrooms with separate bathrooms.  Either option would be a great idea, if we had either option.

If one of us gets the coronavirus, it's likely that all three of us will get it, because quarantining oneself for 14 days in a bedroom that one can cross in eight steps (or less, with no street view, in the case of our son's bedroom), and texting a warning every time we have to use the bathroom will be difficult, if not impossible.

So yes, we go for a walk every day when the weather is decent.  We wear face masks, of course, and try to stick to nearby streets that have wider sidewalks than our own street has.  Our daily walk will get more difficult as the weather gets better, since social distancing will become more challenging as more people come out to enjoy some time in the sun--we (and probably half the neighborhood) will have to try to go out at about 7 AM in the hope of avoiding the crowds.  But apartment-dwellers, especially city-dwellers, particularly those with young children, just don't have a lot of choices.

My family is doing the best we can to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.  Please don't hold it against us if you meet us--at a six-foot distance--outdoors.


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