The global Jewish community has watched on with despair, as the names of those whose lives have been taken by COVID-19 circulate. In the face of death, however, Jews continue to do what they have always done in times of suffering: Help each other.
Social media is filled with humorous memes and videos, meant to lift the spirits of those quarantined at home. Various celebrities have live streamed free concerts, and clips of motivational speakers continue to make the rounds on platforms like Whatsapp. Volunteers are driving groceries to the elderly, and some landlords have even temporarily suspended collecting rent.
These measures are a testament to the human spirit: When hope seems lost, people find ways to create new meaning & purpose. The efficacy of these acts of kindness, however, ranges. While memes bring a momentary laugh and groceries stave off this week’s hunger, after the virus has passed, the world will have been irrevocably changed.
This is particularly true for the generation of children who will now grow to adulthood without a parent. As the death toll grows, young people all over the United States have begun to lose their mothers and fathers. For most of us this crisis will come and go, but for these people the trauma of the pandemic will remain freshly painful for the rest of their lives.
For readers who are looking for a way to make the world a brighter place during this dark time, a fund has been opened to support families in New York & New Jersey orphaned by COVID-19. The fund is backed by various reputable rabbis, and helps cover the rent & basic needs of those who have lost a parent to the virus.
It has been a sobering week, as readers around the world read the obituaries of those who have been taken too soon. Though we long to honor them after their passing, the deceased will not gain from their picture being shared or their story being forwarded. If they were here to speak today they would almost certainly beseech us all to help their families survive in their absence.
Those who are able to honor the dead by supporting their families can do so here for a limited time.