Home April 2020 Challenging Times

Challenging Times

Family hugAs I write this article, an entire suburb north of NYC has been placed under a mandatory quarantine. They are contained, enforced by the National Guard. Food and medicine is being brought in.

Our children aren’t immune to what they hear on the playground, overhear on the news, or pick up from adult discussions. Large gatherings have been canceled or postponed, school classes are moving online, synagogue services are being streamed. Our lives are rapidly becoming more insular and self-contained.
At the same time, we are preparing for Passover–the festival that celebrates our freedom from slavery. How ironic! We are free from the physical slavery that our ancestors endured in Mitzrayim (Egypt), yet slaves to remaining healthy and trying not to contract the dreaded novel coronavirus.

This rapidly spreading virus is causing havoc in our society. It is the reason we are instituting lifestyle changes. Just as it couldn’t be easy to live amongst frogs or locusts thousands of years ago in Mitzrayim, we are adapting to live healthfully amidst the spread of coronavirus.
Nadine Durbach, LCSW Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist reminds us that children worry more when they don’t have the information they need. We should try to dispel mythical information, stick to routines, and set aside some extra time for snuggles at bedtime. It’s alright to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers but we can share what we and the institutions we belong to are doing to keep safe. For further information, she can be reached at Nadinedurbachlcsw.com.
This year the story we tell at Passover continues. Our lives are different, changed by a new reality as we adapt to deal with the challenges presented by an international pandemic.

SUE PENN is currently the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue where she oversees all education from ages 4-104. Sue has been honored for being an innovative educator and is committed to creative approaches in Jewish Education. Sue currently sits on the Board of the Jewish National Fund of Orange County, and of the Reconstructionist Educators of North America, where she was a previous chair. She is also co-president of the Orange County Jewish Educator Association. Sue also runs educational webinars for the Reconstructionist Movement.

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