Go easy on yourself. If your kids don’t finish their school packets or make it to a Zoom classroom, you know what? In the grand scheme of things, who cares? This is a weird and unprecedented time, and the entire human family is going through it together. Kulanu b’yachad — we are all together, we are all one. EVERY school is going to be playing catch-up next year. EVERY student is going to learn less algebra, history, earth science, Hebrew, Spanish, addition and subtraction, whatever this year’s curriculum is, than they would have otherwise. And it’s going to be ok.
What you can teach them right now are values.
- How to be part of a family when things are tough:
- Sh’lom bayit/caring for each other by maintaining peace in the house
- Kibbud av va-eym/honoring parents
- V’ahavta l’rey-achah kamocha/loving people who are close to you like you love yourself
- Pikuach nefesh: saving life. Binah (understanding), chochmah (wisdom), and day-ah (knowledge): How to sift through the nonsense and identify what’s real. Shabbat: disconnect yourself from your intravenous feed of news, carve out consistent time that you will spend with your family.
- Kavod (respect): how to greet people in ways that connect us without contact.
- Leonard Nimoy’s “Live long and prosper” Vulcan greeting is actually the hand shape that the kohanim (Jewish priests in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem) used when they blessed the people. https://www.cjnews.com/culture/entertainment/the-jewish-origins-of-the-vulcan-salute
- “Wakanda forever”: this salute was crafted from the way ancient Pharaohs were laid to rest in their tombs, west African sculptures, and the meaning it has in American Sign Language: “hug.” https://www.inverse.com/article/44867-black-panther-wakanda-forever-salute-meaning
You can model for them …
- how to do t’shuvah (repentance), describing and acknowledging your own mis-behavior and apologizing when you lose it. (Hey, I’m a mom too.)
- How to create seder (order) out of tohu va-vohu (chaos).
- How to do bikur cholim (visiting the sick) in a way that also does sh’mirat ha-goof (guarding the body, keeping everybody as healthy as possible).
- N’tilat yadayim (washing hands) — see prayer below my signature.
- Nishmat kol chai — the importance of “the breath of all life,” (but keeping your breath to yourself when you cough and sneeze).
And finally, how to laugh and how to relax, to find shalom and brachah (peace and blessing) in the midst of the strangest thing any of us have ever lived through. Zai gezunt! (Yiddish for “Be healthy!) Together, our kehillah kedoshah, our holy community, will weather this storm.
L’shalom ubiv’ri’it (with peace and health),