How good it is to arise with purpose in the morning, if not to venture forth into the city or world, but to prepare for virtual Leo Baeck Women’s Torah study.
Deprived of our greetings of hugs because we genuinely love our togetherness and our Rabbi, Lisa Berney, we sixteen click Zoom, and one by one we pop up, squared, on the computer screen, like a giant Hollywood Squares TV show of yesteryear.
First, how are we all managing sequestered at home? Bewildered and beyond, yet with smiles we are reading The Dutch House and Jane Austen, listening to music, creating soup recipes, cleaning closets, keeping connections by wire and wireless.
Then we bless our studying together with “Torah: A Women’s Commentary,” and interactively discuss King David — his early years. Plan B, yes, but a comforting togetherness.
I take a long walk; no purse, no empty grocery bag, no errand intent. Just a walk on winding Westwood streets, striding on the sunny side. I watch a crow on the grass teasing or courting another crow and observe an audacious squirrel at the foot of a tree, also seeming to stop and observe me. A four-year-old boy, with his dad, picks tiny leaves from a bush bordering their driveway and placing them in a brown paper bag. “This is a nature walk,” the dad explains when I stop and smile, a preschool home assignment due to school closure.
My granddaughter, at home in Minnesota, and I create an internet project. We begin co-authorship of a cookbook, she entitles “Wacky Recipes,” and back and forth we come up with fine feasts including Unicorn Soup, Giant Slurpy Stew, and Worm Salad. I am occupied printing in colored text for ‘production.’ The pages will be bound with staples while we co-authors bond across the country with love.
Shabbat is nearing. Late afternoon a friend comes by and gifts me a bouquet of flowers and a mini challah (and I can’t hug her with thanks). At five o’clock my two sons, with wives at their sides, call with an arranged three-way FaceTime across Minnesota, Santa Monica, and me in L.A. We’ll all light candles and recite the blessings. Hurriedly, I set my place at my table, complete with the flowers, challah, wine, and a silver-framed photo of my family. We welcome the Sabbath together. I receive another gift. I receive a bounty of gifts.