Community is key
5. Community is key. Over the course of this past year, we all felt the immense impact of social distancing. We missed seeing our family, friends, and colleagues in person. We missed hugs, high-fives and handshakes. We missed enjoying meals together, drinks together and laughing together. We were lonely, isolated, and depressed. We saw people doing whatever they could to find connections, including adopting pets at rates 50% higher than pre-COVID. The bottom line is we missed our community. COVID has proven one of my core beliefs, which is that human beings are hard-wired to seek connections to others. This is also a central message of Judaism. God says in the Torah, “It is not good for man to be alone.” The traditional way of Jewish learning is in hevruta, a partnership with at least one other person. And to recite certain prayers, we need a community of ten, a minyan. Today, as we celebrate the holiday of Purim, we especially embrace the Jewish value of community. For example, we listen to the story of Esther as a community because she relied on the Jewish community to stand with her as she went to see the King and ask him to reverse Haman’s evil decreed. So, this Shabbat, I encourage you to be smart and be safe, but be with your people. Specifically, whether you go to a virtual service or join a volunteer-at-home effort, or simply reach out to friends you haven’t spoken with lately, do what you can to embrace your community.