Israel is here to be a light to the world, a light of morality, of acting in smart, ethical, and G-d centered ways.
by Naomi Banschick… an American in Israel since age 25, now age 50, wife and mother, Torah-observant, Jerusalem resident and environmental anthropologist
As a researcher who studies various health issues to try to discover the points of truth about them [which often lie between, or outside of, the two seemingly opposing sides], this new situation, a pandemic causing sweeping changes to our societies, has proved to be an interesting challenge to try to understand.
Rather than taking the word of a politician, or manager, the president, prime minister, Health Minister, head of a large organization funded by the government, I prefer to look at the science, the facts, and the opinions of experts on issues. What are the various scientists, clinical doctors, epidemiologists, researchers, environmental safety workers, economists, mental health experts, and others saying in these challenging times?
In Israel is the greatest place to live because of its spiritual wealth as well as its physical desirability- pleasant weather, seas, and so on.
Yet, we forget that Israel is here to be a light to the world, a light of morality, of acting in smart, ethical, and G-d centered ways. When people in the government make decisions that affect our health by locking us up, they are creating many smaller crises like lack of peace for the individual or family in the home, lack of income, lack of exercise, fresh air and other ingredients of mental health, lack of social experiences, and very importantly, lack of school for our growing children. These repercussions of policy are unacceptable.
Yet the lives of the religious public in Israel are guided by rules, rules set down by the Torah yet interpreted for us often by our leaders. We are used to following rules and we do so too well sometimes. We lock ourselves up and wear double masks, keep our children away from schools even if they do open, and refuse to see our own elderly parents or provide them company and help. All of this is causing physical suffering for some, as masks are shown to be unhealthy if worn for long periods of time (as our children do when they go to school, or outside even), elderly people need company and especially their families. People need to socialize and need to get outside of their cramped, dark apartments.
Yet, we are Jews here and we look at the bright side. We look for the good we can accomplish, the benefits of our situation. We bond with our families whom we finally get to see. We use our free time to do those things we always wanted to do. We impose our own structure on our lives if our outside structures are taken away. We celebrate our holidays, our Holy days are we always have, wherever we happen to be, with whomever we are with. If it is in shul, synagogue, if it is at home, if we are stranded in the desert or in a death camp…it is all the same to us. It is our speical day and we will celebrate, keep whatever traditions we can, keep all the laws we know, and rejoice in our lot.
May the light of our Creator and Torah shine on you today!
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website.