I try not to be a political person. This is for several reasons — the first is that I am not really that smart and I usually have no idea what is going on in the world. Unless it is pointed out to me on Facebook or OnlySimchas. I know that I should be embarrassed by this fact. I grew up in a house where my father could tell me what was going on everywhere in the world. Biographies of presidents, prime ministers, and scientists line the shelves of my parents’ house. There was a time when my father was able to speak of those facts like some people talk about the weather. I, unfortunately, did not inherit that quality of intelligence from my father. I did inherit his love for chocolate bars and ice cream, but rarely does anyone want to have a political discussion about snickers versus goobers or Haagen Dazs versus Baskin Robbins. (Though the world would be a much better place if folks made a habit of having those political debates.)
I also feel that unless I am a participant in what is going on, I have no right to have an opinion. Israel, for example. I don’t live there. Yet. I am sure that one day, all of my monkeys will live there. But until that happens, I am here. (I also informed those monkeys that ALL of them need to be living there. I only uproot my life when I am totally deserted by my monkeys. If one remains, I remain. There you go.) Anyway, the situation in Israel is frightening. Kids have been Instagramming pictures of themselves and their friends in bomb shelters, sending videos of them running to take cover behind cars, or following strangers into nearby safe rooms. It is scary. Friends who live there are posting their fears and updates and videos of rockets overhead. Real life can be real scary. And even though I try to avoid “real news” from a newspaper (except for this one — the Standard I read) or from television, the reality of what is going on in Israel creeps into my safe haven of social media. How can it not? It is 2021. You cannot sneeze without someone recording it.
My political views on Israel will always be that she has to defend herself — but anything I have to say is easy for me to say when I don’t live there nor have children in the army there. That is a whole other story. Can you imagine if the army was mandatory here? But that is for another column. God should watch over Israel and keep her and her residents and those fighting for her safe.
On a lighter note, I want to now delve into the politics of mask wearing. Many of you have not enjoyed this time in our history. Wearing masks can be suffocating, irritating (especially if you forget to have one with you and you have to drive back home to get one — how am I still forgetting a mask??) and just altogether annoying. The CDC has recently said that wearing masks will soon be a thing of the past if you are vaccinated. Some synagogues in New York have stopped requiring people to mask up before prayers, but, apparently New Jersey’s governor has still not given the all clear. This has caused some bad feelings amongst those who are tired of wearing a mask to pray. I enjoy the whole mask thing because 1. If you have something in your teeth, no one can see it. 2. If you have something in your nose, no one can see it. 3. If you have developed weird wrinkles around your mouth, no one can see it, and 4. You never have to wear lipstick. Oh wait and 5. Because it helps prevent the spread of covid. (Gee, I almost forgot that one. You would think it would be the most important, but narcissists will be narcissists.)
This is my solution to the problem with masks and synagogues. Four different minyans. Vaccinated people who want to wear masks, vaccinated people who don’t want to wear masks, people who aren’t vaccinated (for whatever political, religious or any-reason-under-the-sun) with masks and people who aren’t vaccinated without masks. There it is, folks — I have solved the mask problem. If only every other problem was so easy to solve.
Stay safe, stay sane, and stay well.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck would just like to clarify that she still loves her children despite the tone of last week’s column.