The pandemic dominates every section of the news, whether it is sports or arts, in addition to business and politics. I try to take myself “off the grid” by about 8 or 8:30 each evening. I keep a jigsaw puzzle going on the other side of my desk to give me a break from my phone and computer. I think what makes me most anxious about being homebound is having to learn the mechanics of living in community, virtually. Understanding how computers work, and even how databases work, in a previous career, is not the same as knowing how to navigate an application. My family and congregation are very kind and helpful, reassuring me that I am the content provider and they are my tech support, but this is my personal challenge these days.
I try to call several members each day, and I am finding that the ones who are most impatient with the restrictions tend to be our most senior members, who are not used to staying home, let alone thinking of themselves as fragile. They are strong and inspiring.
At my house, we are baking a lot, and I think of the aromas from the kitchen as therapeutic in addition to the comforts of the challah and cookies (and pecan cake for Pesach). Perhaps I will get through some of the many books that I haven’t had time to read, or prepare for future classes. On the other hand, there is television. “Night on Earth” is a fascinating documentary; “Unorthodox” was excellent; and Britain’s National Theatre is streaming for free. Stay home. Save lives. Breathe peace.
Rabbi Beth Schwartz is the spiritual leader of Temple Israel in Columbus, Ga.