Can we keep some things from the coronavirus era? | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Can we keep some things from the coronavirus era?

Sweetness abounds.

I donated something to a healthcare worker. It was a small thing, really. Her eyes glistened.

A Richards Elementary School caravan made its way through my Whitefish Bay neighborhood, two dozen cars honking. Teachers waved from the decorated cars at kids on the lawn across the street from me.

Speaking of across the street, because that’s my world now, two police cars parked and flashed their lights to wish a boy happy birthday.

More people are turning out than they did pre-pandemic for some local synagogue events, virtually, of course. The need for community is producing community.

A young couple recently moved out of state. Before the pandemic, they couldn’t attend synagogue activities anymore. Now it’s all online, so why not? It was so nice to see them the other day.

People in the local Jewish community are making masks and more, giving it all away. We did a story on it for this edition, but we had many more names than we could include.

Check out our story Jewish Community Foundation Distributes 425K for COVI-19 Relief — local people are giving from the heart. The generousness is adding up rapidly to a mountain of assistance. This is amazing. Thank you.

Local people came together to make a moving video to mark Yom HaShoah. People I haven’t heard from in a while have called me, texted me. Did they reach out for me or for themselves? Maybe both.

Local synagogues have been calling everybody. A guy who works in the Pick N’ Save meat department ran a brisket out at the end of his shift for a customer, no questions asked. He took the credit card, too.

We’re polluting less now.

We’re seeing that national borders are a human invention, that the Earth doesn’t care about our borders.

We’re seeing that when scientists warn us about problems affecting the whole world, it’s probably worth some attention.

We’re seeing that the notion of tikkun olam, taught to our children and grandchildren, is not just a platitude. This is, and is going to be, a world in need of repair.

The coronavirus is terrible, and we’re right to take it seriously. Social distancing in Wisconsin appears to be working, at least so far.

We’ll be happy to someday leave this all behind. God willing, the death count will be lower than some have predicted. Already, people close to me know someone who has died of COVID-19. I didn’t know them personally. But it makes the thing feel like an incoming tide.

Someday, probably further out than we can fully accept at this time, society will get back to some sort of normal. But which parts of normal do we really want to jump back to?

Can we keep some of the current sweetness? Can we learn some hard lessons? We will have paid enough of a price. I’m hoping the answer will be yes.