Total Reset

Total Reset
It’s remarkable. I cannot remember a time when 95% of the world’s news coverage centered on one topic. Sure, it’s hundreds of variations on the ramifications of the virus, but its essentially the same story.
How has Coronavirus effected the economy, health care system, politics, environment (positively), worker psychology, churches, synagogue and restaurants? The list is endless because there is no facet of everyday life that has not been affected by this nightmarish disease.
Since we have enough media covering the virus, I’m going to forgo that topic. Rather, I would like to look at how extreme change begets extreme change.

The home quarantine in which we find ourselves has no parallel in our lived experience. It’s sudden, jolting, and has shoved millions of families together who hitherto have only enjoyed small amounts of any meaningful time together, as life dictated a hectic schedule of travel from one activity to the next, work meetings and presentations clashing with kids games and concert schedules.
The great American juggling act, a seemingly inescapable hamster wheel that most of us had no idea how to exit, suddenly and miraculously comes to a halt, like Mork freezing time. Now we know what family time looks like. Every member nestled in their corner, playing on the computer, reading a book, doing a Zoom or streaming Netflix. Or perhaps all together playing an agreed upon board game.
The important point is that every face is there. Everybody is present, save for the families with doctors, nurses, and health care workers who are out in the field doing God’s work—we thank you so much.
“Every face” with family today is a gift many have never received before. We have scant family leave policies in this country and a national work ethic that pressures people to go back to work only weeks after a baby is born. When has “every face” really been an ethic?
Right now we have the most tremendous opportunity for change. We are getting time for rest, restoration, family and mindfulness that we may never get again. What are we going to do with this fantastic reprieve? What type of routine are we desperate to return to?
Right now I sit at my kitchen table gazing at my daughter, as my son runs to get our Passover plagues props from the basement. There are several robins taking a bath in the rain barrel outside and my wife sips her morning cup of coffee.
How are we going to keep this? How are we going to ensure that this wasn’t an accident; rather some kind of turning point where we all decided that the status quo of our lives needed a serious upgrade.
My suggestion? Take a few more unnecessary days off (if you can) so you can watch the birds bathing, take your children to a show and take a whole hour to have a cup of coffee.
We have a chance for transformational change; it will start by bringing the now forward.
Hag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach
Hazzan Fradkin

Posted by Hazzan Asa Fradkin

Hazzan Asa Fradkin is the hazzan at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, MD. He is a native of Baltimore.

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