The stay-at-home orders/suggestions/advisories are keeping people in place. They’re also keeping families separated. Not just not letting people travel across the country but sometimes within the same place. That’s one of the tolls of this pandemic that isn’t being counted by the statistics, and the aftershocks of this isolation will last beyond the end of the quarantines.
I have my own stories to tell, and I am sure you have yours, too. Thanks to Zoom, Facetime, Skype, and good old telephones, we’re able to keep some semblance of connection, but nothing takes the place of human connection. A handshake. A hug. Even a wave to a passing neighbor or a smile delivered without a layer of pixels, plexiglass, cloth, or surgical gauze are things we use to have a sense of comfort that go beyond the medical treatments.
The news is telling us that the quarantine is being lifted in the city in China where the pandemic started. There are countries in Europe where the restrictions are being relaxed even though there’s a likelihood that another reinfection wave may come through. But as time goes by and even when the vaccine is created and distributed, it’s going to take a long time for the economy to recover, and the habits and patterns we’ve become used to in this time will be hard let go of. But we’ll do it.
Tonight is the first night of Passover. It is one of the many observances that traditionally bring Jewish families together, including those who don’t live under the same roof. That’s not going to happen in person and in real time this year, but it will happen. As Jewish families have done for generations, they will do what needs to be done to carry forward their traditions and stories that form the basis of their faith and practices. In a way, this is the way forward for all of us, for all of our families.