The JN is covering the creative ways our community is adapting to Jewish life during COVID-19, while adding regular community coverage back into the mix.

B’nai mitzvahs live-streamed. Weddings canceled. Seders shrunk. Funerals and shivahs restricted.

There is no denying that Jewish life, and every other facet of modern life, has had to change drastically since the outbreak of COVID-19. Social distancing has become an imperative, which means that for the time being, we can no longer gather in public as we once did. It is all absolutely necessary to curb the spread of this deadly virus, and I’m glad we’re coming together to do this. But it also really… sucks. I think it’s OK to admit that.

Humans are adaptable creatures, though. And Jews certainly know the meaning of a struggle. This week, we at the JN wanted to spotlight the ways in which our community has adapted. We have stories on the plans families have had to make for their spring calendars; on the synagogues and restaurants making adjustments to their operations; on arts organizations moving to live-streamed gatherings; and on the work that groups like Yad Ezra are doing to continue to get food and other supplies to those in need.

In the coming weeks we hope to do more, including restarting our events calendar to include live-streamed activities. So please feel free to send us yours. In addition, we know that this quarantine period can be a particular strain on families, so we’d like to hear how you are keeping your children healthy and occupied during this crisis. It also seems very likely that the coronavirus will impact Passover plans, particularly for those who were planning large seders and family gatherings. (“Next year in public?”) We will try to adjust our coverage accordingly.

And in the spirit of continuing to live Jewishly, I don’t want our coverage to become “all coronavirus, all the time.” Information overload can lead to anxiety and a sense of helplessness. We are phasing regular community coverage back into JN in the coming weeks, including a long-term editorial project we had postponed to focus on the virus response.

As I write this from my apartment, looking out the window at the empty streets all around me, the idea of ever getting “back to normal” can feel very far away indeed. So maybe it’s not about “back to normal.” Maybe it’s about finding what “normal” can mean for each of us in this situation. Take care, and I’ll see you all on Zoom. 

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