Opinion: Despite the lack of trust in the government, the people of this country must work together to reinvigorate a sense of mutual responsibility and care for one another, in order to help us find our way back into a shared embrace

On Sunday morning, at the apex of Rosh Hashanah, dozens of children and adults stood side by side at the park under my apartment, all wearing masks and keeping a reasonable distance from one another, as they waited to hear the festive blow of the shofar.

That familiar sound was the most beautiful and yet the saddest shofar blowing I have ever heard.

An Orthodox Jewish man blows the shofar as he performs a Tashlich Prayer at the beach during lockdown at the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in Tel Aviv
An Orthodox Jewish man blows the shofar as he performs a Tashlich Prayer at the beach during lockdown at the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in Tel Aviv


The broken, raw sound of the shofar echoed the sadness and distress nesting in our chests. But also the feeling of solidarity and mutual responsibility.

To hear the shofar from afar granted many the ability to keep to the holiday’s commandment, while still enabling them to adhere to regulations.

Yom Kippur is nearly upon us, synagogues are already making preparations for outdoor prayers where there are clusters of people in isolation, in order to allow them to take part in the prayers from their own homes.

תפילות בכותל
Jewish men observe social distancing while praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem last week (Photo: EPA)


On Monday, between working and the kids’ remote classes, I tried to gather these slivers of positivity:

The special education teacher who works until 4am to create a safe and inviting virtual space for her students; the ER nurse who toils such long hours helping those in need that he doesn’t have enough time to see his wife, who is also a key worker; the kindergarten teacher who sent a variety of lovingly crafted tasks to her students, and finished the Zoom study session with three simple words – “I love you.”

For years, Israeli society has taken pride in its human stock. Think of how many inspiring people live among us.

In times of adversity, we know how to reach out and lend each other a helping hand without questions, and without conditions.

מתחם אשפוז חדש בבילינסון
Healthcare professionals working at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva (Photo: Eli Levy)


We easily recognize this shared sentiment every year during the Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony, as we honor the deserving members of society who briefly represent all of us.

This is the beauty of Israel. This is us. Passionate, helpful, inventive, dreamers, and merciful.

The biggest tragedy of this pandemic is the fractured society it leaves behind – we are no longer able to recognize ourselves or those same people whom we so love to love.

Suspicion has become a default mental state; conspiracy theories are now the norm.

Why should we believe leaders who changes their positions stance every other day? Why should we believe a prime minister whose adviser willfully broke isolation rules that everyone else must follow?

ראובן עזר
Reuven Azar broke quarantine regulations after returning from an official visit to Washington last week (Photo: GPO)


How can we ask for discipline when each sector of society acts of its own volition and for its own unique ends?

In an ideal world, the government would have asked the Israeli public for forgiveness on Yom Kippur, and shown us their long term goals, their parameters for success and their other options.

In this cold, bitter world, there is no trust and no leadership, just a national crisis. All we can do is piece ourselves back together.

It will take time, true, but we must understand it is vital. We must protect ourselves and our loved ones.

חלוקת מזון לקשישים ונזקקים ברחבי הארץ בצל התפשטות הקורונה
Israeli volunteers distribute hand out food to the needy during the pandemic (Photo: GPO)


We must rear our heads and create a sliver of positivity each day by offering aid, asking after others, absorbing culture or even learning something new.

We must flex those muscles that have entropied so much in the pandemic, the ones that make us who we are and the society we could and should be.

As reported by Ynetnews