Zoom – zoom By Linda Kislowicz

Editors Note:
By Liz Pearl

Linda and I have crossed paths many times in recent years; we share a hometown and many values. In fact, our families have known each other for over 60 years. We are connected through our dedication to DANI.

Linda wrote the dedication to Janis Roth z”l, our mutual friend and colleague, in a recent volume of Living Legacies – A Collection of Inspiring Personal Narratives by Contemporary Canadian Jewish Women – Volume Vii (PK Press).

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It’s June 21, 2020. Father’s Day, 2020.

We just zoomed with our kids ‒ one family in Israel, one family in Calgary.

Two sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.

This is our new world in the pandemic – zoom, zoom, zoom…Thank goodness for this amazing technology so we can connect and see everyone.  We would be so sad and lonely without it.

Who would have imagined that we would still be living in Zoom land? We thought it was innovative to have a family Zoom Seder back in April. At the time, we were very excited by the novelty of having a Seder together with parts of our family who live all over the US and Canada and Israel.

But that was almost three months ago! And we continue to have Zoom dinners with friends and families.

We have come to realize that visits in person are a very long way off.  Air travel, airports, borders, hotels, restaurants – none feel adequately safe anymore, and the more we think about it, the more we understand that this situation is not going to change anytime soon.  Likely, it will be a long time until we can see our children and grandchildren in person.

You see – while we are active and healthy, and continue to be, this pandemic has defined us as old and vulnerable. Our children have become very concerned with our well-being and have been checking up on us daily. While we very much enjoy the love and attention, of course, we wish that we were not in this situation at all. It is the first time that we have become their cause of concern instead of the other way around.

I guess that transition was inevitable, eventually. However, the pandemic accelerated the normal trajectory of life. And while it is too early for my personal clock, like so many others, our daily life is dictated by the circumstances of the pandemic.

I am immensely proud of my children and their families. They have been extraordinarily resourceful.  And attentive to each other and to us.

From downloading exercise apps when they could not leave their homes to figuring out safe play-dates, to working from home while supervising and entertaining children, to totally changing their work environments and styles. Not easy! Each and every single family member has risen to the occasion and has shown the strength and creativity that it takes to navigate this challenging time. And to be perfectly candid, we have all had our moments of discouragement, but overall, the most prevailing feeling is gratitude.

And there is a lot to be thankful for.

I am thankful that they have the inner strength to keep their families looking forward, to setting up a healthy structure and routine, to doing what they have to do to keep everyone safe and engaged. They are all adapting to the new normal in innovative ways.

I am thankful and I am proud.

When Israel was in total lockdown, my family in Israel planned the most inventive “camp style” Yom Ha’atzmaut program done in tandem with other families. The sight of my son Barry, 42 years old, singing “row-row your boat” in the bath tub as part of a relay race puts a big smile on my face when I think about it.

Or the opportunity to join a Zoom Music program for DANI – Developing and Nurturing Independence, an organization working with adults with special needs in Toronto, led by my son Howie, who also performed a pandemic concert fundraiser with his friend Shai and my grandson Gabe.  I am proud of my family who during a difficult time has the capacity and the sensitivity to think of others and to find a way to make others feel better.  My daughter- in-law asked us to contribute to a food bank in honour of her 40th birthday. What a considerate and thoughtful gesture.

So, when people ask me how we are doing, I have one answer.  We are all healthy.  No one is unemployed. That is not to be taken for granted.  On the whole fortunately, we are fine.

We miss our kids so much it hurts. We try not to think about how long it may take until we can travel and visit.

We are proud of them and their values and their resilience.  They have shown themselves to be the type of people that we not only love with all our heart, but also admire and respect.

We can’t wait for this pandemic to end or to be at least controlled enough to be able to travel freely.

Until then, we will remain connected via Zoom-zoom!

Linda (Kornbluth) Kislowicz is a semi-retired veteran Jewish communal professional leader who currently works as an independent consultant executive coach. She has worked locally, national and internationally helping families, organizations and communities. She lives in Toronto with her husband Joe. Lkislowicz@gmail.com

Please contact Liz @ liz_pearl@sympatico.ca if you are looking for support in writing your personal narrative or developing your legacy writing project. 

Everyone has a Story. What’s Yours? Share your Story; Leave a Legacy. —PK Press

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