President’s December 2020 Column

We Are All in this Together

We are all in this together. This is a familiar line we often hear these days. Such wisdom drips off our tongues so easily as when a loved one departs, we say “stay safe” or “I love you” in place of good-bye. There is truth in the statement that no one is immune from a world pandemic. Even if you avoid the wrath of the virus itself the toll to our lives, children’s education, the economy, and our spirit is victim.

So, I ask, are we? Is it true that we are all in this together? Surely those on the so-called front line, health care workers feel a sense of burden that we, the non-medical folks often take for granted. We hear that staff involved in direct patient care are feelings overwhelmed by not just the scope but the non-stop hours with no break in sight. What about the single mom with children at home do you think we share her frustration? Are we truly together with the many workers in hospitality, entertainment, and retail that have lost their means of income and government assistance? How is it “together” when the old can die from COVID while youth may not know they are infected though shedding and spreading?

I submit, that the platitude that we are here for you, has more to do with making us as equal participants through words rendered rather than by deeds offered. How are we all in this together when entire ethnic and race populations suffer more and die at four times the rate? Never before has it been so apparent that as we separate, we are hardly equal.

Why is it that when we must hunker down many sink to a lower level within the pyramid of Maslow while others see this as an opportunity to rise and help others? We are inspired by the champions that set up food pantries and find a way to take idle time due to their loss and give back for others to gain a sense of humanity. Actualization at its best.

Maybe we should think more about how we are not all in this together. Reconcile that such differences do exist within our modern infrastructure, then find ways to improve the gaps. Is it not a bit Jewish’like to question norms and challenge when society could evolve? Next time you hear the phrase that we are all in this together, knowing that it was offered with all good intention; challenge yourself to view this perspective that, no, it may not be all together true. Only after we resolve these apparent differences do exist, can we start the process of wholeness, shalom, and togetherness.

Robert Becker