Rosh HashanahCommunity


Atlanta Jewish Times' staff shares their community insights, advice and perspectives during this time as we enter in to the 5781/ 2020 Rosh Hashanah New Year.

In addition to being the AJT’s managing publisher and interim editor, Kaylene Ladinsky is the president of Americans United With Israel.

When I think of the past year, one word comes to mind. Yep, you got it: Pandemonium. The word makes me want to echo the sound, “Da-Da-DA!” Dealing with the pandemic was hard enough, but then the mob mentality took hold, and many were injured, communities destroyed, and lives were lost.

The interesting thing to me is that it is textbook, according to several university studies, that the most dangerous aspect of a pandemic is social and civil collapse. Look at what we have witnessed: riots and unrestrained disorder, protesting our local authority and government, even to the extent of attempts to disband our police.

Author John Martin first coined the word “Pandemonium” in 1825, inspired by John Milton’s 1667 painting titled “Paradise Lost”.

I completely support the right to protest and localization of a common voice for public assembly and demonstration, but to watch our civilization teeter on the brink of Pandemonium is a whole other matter.

I have observed events that we covered in the paper and I sort through the facts versus the fiction while reporting on the news each day. It can be discouraging to see this mob mentality and those that are instinctively gravitating to it, and I must remind you that this is a part of our very basic human instinct and psychology. Mob mentality, also called herd mentality, describes how humans adopt behaviors, buy merchandise and follow trends based on their circle of influence. It explains how one’s point of view can be easily altered by those around them.

So, what do I take with me into the new year?

Well, the truth is that I am inspired by humanity. This pandemic is affecting all of humanity right now, and even though there has been pandemonium in the streets, humanity is resilient. Most of humanity is resisting the mob mentality, staying off the streets and working to find solutions. Humanity across the globe is working together to find a cure, take care of the sick, and invent ways to work around the challenges we are facing.

In a matter of months, the world paused, and we have adapted a new way of life to cope with COVID-19 and accomplish a new way of interacting. This is quite an accomplishment. I am in awe at the response that communities globally have taken to stay safe and attempt to continue education, productive employment and social interaction.

Humanity is amazing. Going virtual in social engagements, legal proceedings, medical treatment, and the entire professional atmosphere has transformed our society. Together we stopped and pivoted in an instant, and for those who were struggling with the fast-changing environment, we took each other’s hands and helped them along. The majority of humanity is strong, and together we fight to prevent Pandemonium.

So, what do I take with me into the new year? It’s hope, inspiration and most of all, a renewed faith in our humanity. Together society has proven: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Kaylene Ladinsky is the editor and managing publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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