By Susan Lesh
It’s 7 pm and Cumberland Avenue is where it’s at! Our block has joined the raucous citywide clap of gratitude for essential workers and front-line people that has been reported in Italy and New York. We’re not as loud, but we are growing. At first we hear the tinkle of bells from Claudia Mausner, then Esther Sandrof joins in with various musical instruments. I leave the house with a big drum (see the video here) while various neighbors stand on their stoops with instruments, pots and pans, and whoops yelling “thank you” to our local hospital workers, first responders, and now, all essential workers. It’s loud and joyous for two minutes, we all say “hello” and go back into our homes, basking in the glow. We’re a community and we’ve developed ways of checking in with each other, sharing shopping duties, and making sure we’re all doing well.
Our Ethical community is also alive; with physical distancing, we’re mostly on the Internet. We are continuing our platforms via Zoom meetings and they have been very successful. We offer a little time before and at the end of platforms for “socializing.” This time allows us to check in with each other and wave and smile at people we miss. I feel a hunger to see members’ faces, to establish some contact with each other. We also have started standing Open House times on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 4 to 5 pm for members to drop in and chat, again via Zoom. These are much smaller gatherings that are very informal. Again, it’s a nice opportunity to chat with each other and the mix is always different. If you’d like to be added to the email list getting those Zoom links, let me know.
Our Adult Education offerings are continuing via Zoom. Eric Sandhusen has added some new events that are engaging and interesting. Paulo Ribeiro hosts online Game Nights and Margo Moss hosts online photography sharing, with Inspirational Images. Dwight Panozzo has continued to offer Mindfulness at Midday, which includes meditation, movement, and discussion. Conversemos and Socrates Cafe have also continued online. Be sure to check them out to remain socially connected! Since many of our events are taking place online, we have a “Tech Team” who will help you get online with whatever device you have available, be it computer, laptop, tablet, or phone. Please contact Lisa Schwartz if you would like someone to reach out to you with tech help.
I feel grateful for my Ethical community in this extraordinary time. I have bouts of anxiety and distress when reading the news, but know that reaching out and connecting is a great tonic for me. I hope to see you soon at a virtual Ethical event.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.