By Danielle Jacobson, Social Media Manager
Personally, when I first heard that students were going to be sent home because of a global pandemic, I dreaded it. Not because I had to leave my friends, leave New York City, or leave the life I had built for myself in NYC, but simply because I couldn’t stand being home. I didn’t want to spend time with my family, I didn’t want to talk to them on the phone. I truly believed that I needed some separation from them and planned to not come home until Pesach (Passover) — I even planned to be gone for the whole summer as well. But as the famous quote says: “Man plans and G-d laughs.” I couldn’t relate more.
I arrived at Stern this past spring semester and had previously spent a semester in Israel on a very secular program. I transferred to Stern because, while in Israel, I realized that I want to keep Shabbat (Sabbath) and Kosher. This was a very difficult decision for me and I honestly didn’t even know that it was one I wanted to make until someone asked me what I wanted religiously. As soon as I realized that I wanted that, I knew that going home to my face my parents wasn’t going to be easy. Honestly, I planned to not tell them about it until Pesach and even then I planned to not stay home for Shabbats.
Upon hearing the news that Stern was closing due to coronavirus, I was terrified. I didn’t know how I was going to keep Shabbat and Kosher when my parents did none of that. But, thankfully, my parents were very accepting and supportive of it, much to my surprise. Shockingly, my first Shabbat home, my family decided to keep Shabbat with me! It was very nice to see my family do that. Life takes us through such loopholes — if I hadn’t gone home because of coronavirus, I wouldn’t have had the chance to keep Shabbat with my family. I wouldn’t have been able to mend ties with them that had been severely severed.
Don’t get me wrong — I can’t wait to see my friends and go back to NYC as soon as possible, but this quarantine did help shine a new light on how much we should appreciate our families. I think a lot of us truly reconnected with our families in new and surprising ways. Although we are far from most of our friends and feel like our life has been uprooted, coronavirus helped us appreciate what we have and what we don’t have.