The global pandemic has—to state the obvious—reshaped our lives, refocused our priorities, and forced us to reevaluate countless things we’ve long taken for granted. Israel was, of course, hit too, in ways that are at once unique and just like the rest of the world. We’ve had curfews and lockdowns, shifting social distancing guidelines, layoffs, isolation, discrimination, economic hardship, illness and death. We’ve also had births and bar mitzvahs, weddings and birthdays, and have witnessed unusual displays of solidarity, resilience and kindness.
Throughout the miniseries, we’ll look back at the last few months and share stories that are simultaneously utterly Israeli and completely universal.
COVID-19 has been a gloomy period, for different people and in different ways. But, perhaps counter-intuitively, we are going to start our miniseries with some cheer and brightness in an episode that is all about celebrations. Or, perhaps more accurately, corona celebrations.
Open-sea yacht rendezvous, off-book private jet landings and direct lines of communication to the highest echelons of power are usually the stuff of James Bond films. But then again, COVID-19 really has changed everything we know about the world. Mishy Harman talks to Rabbi Yair Baitz, a Chabad emissary in Limassol, Cyprus who was willing to do anything, literally anything, to circumcise his newborn son.
Long before Anthony Fauci became a household name, and we began peppering our speech with terms like “herd immunity” and “flattening the curve,” Miriam Syber and Mickey Polevoy had it all figured out. Their upcoming wedding was going to bring family and friends from all over the world to Jerusalem, and the excitement was—accordingly—palpable. Everything was ready: The hall, the dress, the photographer, the invitations. But as the Yiddish saying goes, der mentsh trakht un Got lakht (“Man plans, and God laughs”). Producer Skyler Inman chronicles ten crazy days in March that turned a walk down the aisle into a treacherous obstacle course.
You can catch the recording here.
Danna Harman loves her birthday. Usually, it’s a time for her to celebrate, take stock of life and plan ahead. But this year was going to be even more meaningful, as she was — to her utter astonishment — going to turn fifty. The plan was to embark on a spiritual pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago and hopefully hit on a direction forward in life. But instead of meandering down the back-roads between Condeixa-a-Nova and Mealhada, Portugal, she spent her big day alone in an apartment in Jaffa. And it was on that very same day that she received an ominous text message from HEALTHGOV ordering her to stay in complete home isolation.
Project Kesher is a non-profit organization that empowers and invests in women. They develop Jewish women leaders – and interfaith coalitions – in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Israel, deliver Torah scrolls to women who’ve never held one before, broadcast women’s health information on Ukrainian Public Radio, and help Russian-speaking immigrants to Israel advocate for equal rights.
The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan in New York City provides great virtual programs, classes, and events for all ages, in a dazzling variety of areas including the Arts, Fitness, and Jewish Life.
The Sanford and Gabrielle Kuvin Foundation is dedicated to promoting peace in the Middle East through regional cooperation in health and science. It brings scientists, public health experts and students from around the world to Israel to collaborate on understanding and curing the infectious diseases of today and tomorrow.