I learned how to be more virtually minded. I am a millennial, so you would think I was already as virtually minded as can be. I am the go-to person when anyone in my family has any type of electronic question.
Two years ago, my cousin, aunt, mom and I got together to discuss having a huge family reunion. We have family all over the world that we have either never met or haven’t spoken to since the last reunion in 2002. After planning a bit, the reunion fell through and never happened. Fast forward to the start of COVID and quarantining. Zoom began to be the new normal meeting space in most people’s lives. I was in a Zoom meeting at work one Thursday, as we have every week, and I thought, we can have a virtual family reunion! I posted in our family Facebook group with a date and a time that would work for most time zones: June 14, 1 p.m. EST. We had people join in from California to Israel! We had people who were at the beach join in to be a part of the Zoomunion. We all went around and introduced ourselves and reconnected; it was beautiful.
For most people, COVID has made everyone so distant. You can’t get closer than 6 feet from someone anymore. No hugs, no handshakes, no high fives. I am so distant from friends and relatives. I haven’t seen my great aunt in months and months, whereas before COVID we would go out once every few weeks for lunch. However, in this case, it brought us closer together. I met family in Israel that I didn’t even know I had. They even invited us to visit — when it is safe of course. I hope to visit these cousins one day soon when the world is healed.
I don’t know if COVID will be “gone” anytime soon. I think we have a long road ahead of us. I don’t know if hugs, handshakes and high fives will ever come back as much as before. However, I do know that for right now, we have to cope with it. We have to live and not let this waste the little time we have on earth as it is. Things changed, and we need to change with them. In some ways it can turn into a lovely Zoomunion. Remember, wear your masks and wash your hands and we will get through this!
Stay safe and Shana Tova!
Lilli Jennison is the creative and media designer of the Atlanta Jewish Times.