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Here’s a Meaningful Jewish Way to Connect With Your Family Right Now

bucketlist

Some day, I will bring my daughter back to the farmer’s market, let her touch the glossy fruit, show my smile to everyone around me, taste that sample wedge of watermelon, and listen to the sounds of bluegrass drifting through the crowds.

Some day, I will be able to take my family back to synagogue, feel the velvet Torah in my ungloved fingertips, rip into challah, give and receive hugs freely.

Some day, I will be able to get on a plane, fly to visit my parents, let them hold their granddaughter, nose to nose, laugh and cry and be together.

With Covid-19 keeping us all at home and far from the people and routines we love, there are so many things we wish we could do —  but as for now, we can’t. We’re struggling to feel connected — to each other, to the world — and we’re getting creative; finding ways to bridge the gap with technology and with imagination. These moments can be good — and sometimes even great — but this is not how we wish we were living. There are so many things that, as a father, I wish I could do with my daughter right now and can’t. When we see our children confined at home, it can break our hearts.

I wrote my middle-grade novel Turtle Boy (Random House, 2020), before the pandemic, but it too is about two boys, each living in a kind of isolation: Will, who is introverted to the extreme, and RJ, who is confined to a hospital room. Will meets RJ as part of his bar mitzvah project. RJ has a “bucket list” — a list of everything he wishes he could do but can’t. The only person who can help him is Will. Will helps RJ to realize his dreams: attending a school dance, riding a roller coaster, performing in a talent show — but it requires a great deal of creativity, courage, and suspension of disbelief to make it happen.

In some ways, we’re all like RJ. We all have a bucket list. Or perhaps, a L’chayim List — a “For Life!” list filled with all the things we wish we could be doing, but for now, we can’t. There’s a power in sharing our dreams with others, especially with our children and the people we love. That’s true for the small, post-pandemic dreams — like mine, of sharing fruit with my daughter at the farmer’s market and hugging my friends at the synagogue — and the big dreams as well, even the ones that may feel impossible.

So I invite you, too, to make and share your own L’Chayim List. I used my experience as a high school teacher to create a special activity for you and a friend or family member. Open this link for a 45-minute activity, with prompts for conversation, journaling, and even a little bit of Jewish text study. It can be done in-person — at home with your family — or you can share the link with a partner and do the activity together on the phone, on Zoom, or however you connect!

There is so much we can learn about ourselves and our loved ones by sharing the things that motivate us, keep us moving forward, keep us hoping — during social distancing, yes, and also beyond. If you’d like to experience a quick and easy way to interact with other peoples’ bucket list dreams or share what you’ve personally learned from exploring your bucket list, join us on this great FLIPGRID. In just a few clicks, it’s an easy way to feel just a little more connected to your loved ones and the world around you.

Image via Pixabay

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