Echoes of Elul, Day 2: Return Again

By Sylvan Swartz

A longtime friend of mine passed away last July. The second friend died last November, and the third, my cousin, in March of 2021. I was devastated. I wanted to reach out to console the families in person, but could not. I could not attend the funerals in person. That hurt.

It hurt even more attending the Shivas on Zoom. I had never used Zoom until the pandemic, but was constantly using it now. Zoom let me down. It was a lifesaver in some cases but in other cases where human emotions were at play, it was a poor substitute. It just couldn’t replace a hug, a kiss, or a handhold.
We all have a great deal to reflect on regarding the past year and a half. We went through very trying times in a socially distanced world. Some thrived some didn’t. Some experienced extreme loneliness and others were fine. We learned that we were the only ones who could control our own soul or person.
I was one of the fortunate ones. I have a best friend/wife combination and we grew closer in these times, where we knew friends who were isolated. Love matters.

In the last 3 months we have been back to our home at Temple Beth Sholom and experienced the warmth of our facilities and friends once again. We prayed to be whole again, together and hugging one another. It had been a long time and yes, I am very grateful.

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