It’s been a really weird year.
Covid is over — except it’s really not over. So many people, including people I know — people who have been extremely careful but let their guards down momentarily, at what turned out to be the wrong moment — got sick with covid again, for the second or third or even fourth time.
But — there’s usually a but here — they haven’t gotten nearly as sick as they would have without the vaccine.
We’ve had the vaccine for almost two years now, and it’s been miraculous.
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The midterms are over, with all the loathing and feelings of apocalypse that they brought, but it just means that the 2024 election has begun. That makes me hear Glinda the Good Witch, in her awe-inspiring what-exactly-is-she-wearing black-and-so-very-white costume, telling Dorothy that she’s killed one witch, but the Wicked Witch of the East’s sister, the Witch of the West, is still around, and “she’s worse than the other one was.”
There’s nothing like hope, is there?
But the thing is, there really still is hope.
I think about the cover story this week, the one about Gerry Gersten, the World War II pilot who survived 33 bombing raids over Germany and died at 98.
Yes, antisemitism is on the upswing, but not like it was in 1943, when he was drafted. Americans didn’t know what was going on in Europe, what was happening to the Jews, but one of the most concentrated events of pure orchestrated evil in human history was going on there then.
It’s not like that now.
We have been given room, opportunity, and equality in the United States of America. We have much to be grateful for.
I sit writing this now in the golden light of late afternoon in the late fall. (Okay, so late afternoon is not quite 4 o’clock, mid-afternoon six months from now, but whatever.) The light is so beautiful, so pure, that it almost makes me want to cry. Part of the beauty is in the sharpness of its shadows, part of it in my knowledge that it won’t last, and part in the accompanying understanding that it will be back tomorrow, just as gold, just as sharp, and just as ephemeral as it is today.
I am grateful to the United States for allowing me to appreciate this beauty. I am grateful to it for taking in my grandparents and great-grandparents, and for all the immigrants from all around the world who’ve made their homes and sought their fortunes here. I understand it to be far from perfect — I think about the ships of Jews who were sent back to their deaths during the Holocaust, the children who have been separated from their parents since, the Dreamers who have spent their lives here but legally cannot yet and maybe never will be able to call it home.
I am grateful for Thanksgiving, when we can get together with our families and once again giggle and eat and drink and reminisce and talk about almost everything and look at each other in person, not on screen, and gossip about the world together.
As we gather our strength for the wearing season of other people’s joy that follows, here is a photo of a carpet store on Main Street in Metuchen. Its owners are Jewish, and if it could have a caption, it would be:
“If Jews really did rule the world…”
We wish all our readers a happy Thanksgiving weekend.