She asked me why I lived in Brookline, in such a high cost of living neighborhood when I didn’t take advantage of the school district?! I shrugged and said I didn’t know and I changed the conversation. While I was getting ready to go to sleep that night, because don’t all of our thoughts become more clear the moment we hit the pillow, I knew the answer to my friend’s question. You see, I became a parent in the middle of a pandemic, and as unfortunate and sad as that is, I cannot help but notice who was there to support me from six feet apart: my Jewish community.

From sending me messages, stopping by my window to say hi and delivering matzah at my doorpost, my community has made me feel comforted and loved these first months of motherhood during a pandemic. It’s amazing that we are so resourceful and adaptable as a people to everything that is thrown our way. I guess 2,000 years of history should be a good indicator.

As the pandemic was beginning, I was astonished to see how rapidly all these Zoom events and Torah classes were being organized and offered online. Here I was, staying home taking care of the baby and learning and feeling connected to a higher level. Besides the learning, we signed up for the Welcome Baby from Home Program organized by CJP and JCC Greater Boston. I highly recommend signing up for this program to any new Jewish parents. It was helpful to connect with other couples going through the same emotions, the joy of being new parents and, in my case, the sadness of having a baby in the middle of a worldwide virus. In addition, you also get an adorable tote bag with baby goodies and a subscription to PJ Library, a program that delivers free books monthly to Jewish kids from 6 months old to 12 years old.

I know it’s hard to define community, but to me, community is not a group of people who belong to a certain synagogue; it’s this feeling of belonging and commonality that I feel when I befriend another Jewish person. This feeling that we have the same destiny and that we care and are responsible for one another. I have been fortunate to have been part of the Brookline Jewish community for the last four years of my life and to have built close relationships.

While it’s true that I do not take advantage of the good school system in Brookline, I am grateful that it provides me with the opportunity to connect and live next to others who make up my Jewish community. Somehow the burdens of life and the processing of a pandemic seem to be lighter when shared with another soul who gets it. While COVID-19 did not allow us to officially welcome our baby girl to our Jewish community, we look forward to the day when things are safe once again and we are able to throw a big get-together with our family and friends. I can see that day approaching; it’s like a light at the end of the tunnel. After all, we have been promised that we will always be able to see the light at the end.

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