Our readers share their stories
COVID-19Boosting spirits while sheltering in place

Our readers share their stories

From joining virtual group dance sessions to sending missives to grandparents, members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community are finding the silver linings of staying at home

The Taub children create fun content for their grandparents. (Photo provided by Dena Taub)
The Taub children create fun content for their grandparents. (Photo provided by Dena Taub)

What are you doing to boost your spirits, and those of others, during the coronavirus crisis? The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle wants to share your ideas and suggestions.

Send a paragraph or two, along with a photo of you or your family, to Toby Tabachnick, editor, at ttabachnick@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org. Be sure to include your name and neighborhood.
Let’s stay connected. We are stronger together.

Taking charge of finances, nurturing creativity
Staying proactive and applying for programs that help and jobs that are in high demand; printed all my bank statements and took a highlighter to highlight all unnecessary expenses to reduce fear and anxiety.

Dorit Sasson (Photo provided by Dorit Sasson)

Increasing mental health: talking walks, joining groups to see a human face to stay connected, admitting that I need help, lowering ALL expectations in every possible way (easier said than done), writing “morning pages” first thing in the morning to open creativity and writing channels.
Dorit Sasson
Squirrel Hill

Virtual Israeli dance class. (Photo by Lynn Berman)

Dancing with others around the world
There have been almost daily virtual Israeli Dance sessions. They’re being led by teachers around the world. So far I’ve danced with markidim (dance leaders) in Haifa, Chicago, Delray Beach, and Washington D.C. And I’ve “seen” and “danced with” friends from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Rochester, Orlando, and heaven knows where else. Good exercise too.
Also doing some decluttering, preparing for Pesach, and keeping up with kids in Israel.
Lynn Berman
Squirrel Hill

Enjoying the simple life
For me, an older retiree, there has been a good side to being at home, self-quarantined, for the past two weeks. My husband and I are finding the pleasures in a slower, simpler life. We’ve been forced to step off the treadmill and go “inside.” We talk to each other more, every day we walk together in the park for an hour, being very careful about social distancing. (There seems to be more birds singing and more wildlife than previous springs.) We have a glass of wine with dinner and go out and watch the sunset.
My housework routine provides a framework for the day along with reading the daily corona virus briefings. Between washing, sanitizing (appropriately obsessively so), catching up with tasks I never had time to do, and cleaning for Pesach, I am quite busy. I am planning to work on the garden, read a few books, and organize my life. My husband keeps busy by channeling his inner handyman.
We talk to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren more now, via phone, Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp. We participate in some of the multitude of online Torah learning opportunities. Technology has been a life-line during this isolation.

Simone Shapiro (Photo provided by Simone Shapiro)

I’ve checked in on friends who are alone and reached out to family far away. I have a strong sense that our local Jewish community is there for us when we need them.
This was our second Shabbos without shul, family, guests, or community. It was very relaxing and we appreciated the stepping away from the world very much. It was a mental and emotional relief to not be deep into corona news for 25 hours! We talked about what we really believed in and where we were still struggling with in relation to G-d and the religious life. We shared memories and past experiences. We told each other how much we appreciated and loved each other.
So far, thanks to family, community, and delivery services, we have food in the refrigerator, the freezer and the pantry, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. When I turn the spigot, water flows; the garbage gets picked up; the mail arrives; the internet runs and Amazon still delivers. Life is good!
Do I have fears – very much so, especially now that a close friend, a relative, and children of a friend have all tested positive. Sometimes, in the middle of the night I wake up in panic, but I am keeping it tamped down. What is happening across the country is terrifying, and we don’t know what the future holds, but for now, I am appreciating what I have, focusing on gratitude, and laughing more than I used to.
Simone Shapiro
Squirrel Hill

Enjoying the comforts of home
At this unprecedented time of challenge, I retain my sanity through the love of my wife, stepson, three dogs and cat, vigorous daily aerobic exercise both indoors and out, receiving and reading from cover to cover three daily newspapers, and writing. I am thankful to enjoy the comforts of my home, food, electricity, natural gas, water, and plenty of bath tissue!

Oren and Melanie Spiegler (Photo provided by Oren Spiegler)

A link to normalcy which is important to this “foodie” is the ability to enjoy take-out and delivery from many of our local favorites. As we enjoy the food to which we are accustomed, we are helping to sustain local establishments: to provide revenue for their owners and income for the workers they are able to retain on their staffs.
Oren Spiegler
Peters Township

Dispatches to the grandparents
Every year, Bubby and Zeidy Taub from Chicago, and Zeidy Korer from London, join us for seder night. This year, they will be completely alone for a long three-day Yom Tov. No shul. No phone calls. No company. We are preparing trivia for them – divrei Torah, jokes, riddles, pictures – and putting them into envelopes labeled “Karpas” or “Second Day Lunch” so they will have something fun to look forward to for those 72 hours.
Family Taub
Squirrel Hill

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