Facebook Post by Rabbi Perlin in the Time of Coronavirus (5/15/2020)

Friday Post 5.15.20:  Happy 8th Birthday, Micah!

by Amy R. Perlin, D.D.

Dear Micah,

Pop and I were supposed to be with you, in California, for this birthday.  That was the plan.  I am so sorry that we are here in Virginia and you are so far away today.  We both want you to know that the day you were born was one of the happiest days of our lives.  You were our first grandchild and we remember every minute of holding you, caring for you, sharing with you, and loving you for these past eight years.  We love every minute we spend together, wherever we are in the world.  And we hope to be together again soon.  This is the longest we have ever been apart in your whole life, since we came back to Virginia at the very beginning of March.  We miss you every day, but especially today, your 8th birthday.

Ten years from now, when you are graduating from high school, you will probably remember this pandemic.  Twenty years from now, you will be older than Abba was when you were born.  And someday, if you have kids of your own, you will share stories of what it was like to be at home, to go to school online, to spend more time with your parents and siblings than you ever have, and you will be able to tell them about wearing masks and all the changes you had to go through because the entire planet had a plague.

You came back from your fencing tournament in Ohio to a world that was about to change.  Some people are stuck at home alone and lonely, but with two brothers and a sister, a big dog, and parents, you don’t know what that is like.  I hope you realize how lucky you are to be stuck at home with so many great, fun people.  And being in California, you have even been able to jump in the pool when it is hot.  We thank God that you are all healthy and happy, and that life at home continues to be “good crazy.”  You have watched Abba and Imma work from home, and work to help you get your schoolwork done.  In a world where so many people are alone or sick, remember how lucky you are.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t wish you could have a big party, and that Pop and I could be there.

I want you to know, many years from now, that one of the things I decided to do during this time of being stuck in our old house in Virginia is write every day (except Shabbat) on Facebook and for the Temple B’nai Shalom website.  So many heroic people kept working – the doctors and nurses, the hospital personal, the delivery people, the grocery people, your teachers, the news people… and the rest of us had to decide what to do to help out.  You think of me as “just your Savta,” but once upon a time, I was a rabbi in a congregation (you might remember that from when you were little) and people counted on me in hard times.  So, I decided to help people through this crisis by writing about it – not like the news people or most people. I write what I think people need to hear or think about, because it is what I need to hear and think about during this unbelievable time.  So, long after I am gone, you will have a record of over 50 articles that I have written to help people get through the pandemic with love and caring. You will also have a historical record of what it was like for all of us as the days turned into weeks, turned into months of being at home,  because the world was going through a pandemic.  It’s been over a hundred years since the last pandemic and the few people still alive were kids during the last one in 1918.  Those people are telling stories of what that was like.  When you are 102, I hope you will have good stories to tell.

Pop and I continue to do so much in the world during these difficult times. We are still doing our volunteer work for the Jewish community, and we are still feeding the hungry every day.  Pop made a delivery of snacks for children to the church here in Virginia that made me their rabbi emerita when I retired.  There are lots of kids here who are stuck at home with no snacks to eat during the day and that breaks my heart.  When you lived with us in February, we talked about tikkun olam, repairing the world, and why we give tzedakah.  We talked about families that didn’t have food every day.  Well, there are more people who need us now more than ever before.   I hope you will always help them, because you are you, you are a Perlin, and you are a good Jew.

On this, your 8th birthday, we want you to have lots of fun.  We hope you like the new desk and chair for your new bedroom that Imma helped us get for you for your birthday.  Now that you have your own room, I know you will think lots of great thoughts at that desk and we hope that you remember how much we love you when you sit at it.  Maybe you will write about what it has been like to live through a pandemic.  I’d love to read that.  We also hope that you stay safe and healthy.  You are so important to us.  We hope everyone in LA makes choices that keep you and everyone you know safe and healthy.

It is great to have a Shabbat birthday!  We love making Shabbat with all of you every week on Facetime, just as we loved having Passover with you over Zoom.  One birthday wish is that we will celebrate your birthday when we can all be together.  Tonight, will be even more special, because we celebrate YOU.

You are in my heart every single day, dearest Micah.  I love you so much!

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Love, Savta