Cantor Rebecca Moses tested positive for COVID-19 early on in the pandemic and has since struggled to return to her cantor duties. Her symptoms made it difficult for her to struggle and restrictions have also halted services for the time being.
Writer Lisa Stein talks about her brother, Matthew, who is a puzzle designer, and his work during the quarantine. "Escape the Plagues" is an escape-room style puzzle game that was inspired by not only the pandemic but also social justice issues that were raised in the past year.
Even before the pandemic, students attending universities and colleges with a smaller population of Jewish students found it difficult to eat kosher on-campus. In the fall of 2020, senior at Merrimack College Alyssa Ardai changed the entire structure of the college's dining hall to be more inclusive to kosher diets. She found that COVID-19 pre-packaged meals blatantly ignored kosher diets and decided to petition the school to be aware of not only kosher diets but Halal and vegan diets as well.
Editor of New Voices Magazine, Rena Yehuda Newman, talks about her experience working with other Jewish educators in creating a space for learning on the Zoom platform. The educators were challenged to create new content for other Hebrew school teachers to engage their students online. The handbook included lessons on asynchronous learning, mailing packages to students, and chat functions.
The Editor of UChicago's journal for Jewish Studies, Jonah Lubin, talks about the changes he made to the journal this year, notably its shift to the digital world. As a response to quarantine, Lubin found that the digital direction was the best way forward for the journal, especially in reaching a wider audience.
Editor of the magazine, Rena Yehuda Newman, interviews the writers of the Eight Nights of Jewish Zines, Hannah Gelman and Zmira Stouber, They talk about the process of creating the zine during the pandemic as well as what inspires them.
Four Jewish writers talk about the spaces that they conduct Zoom meetings and attend online classes in. They remark that they try to avoid showing the messiness of their rooms and like to display art and color.
Student Lila Goldstein writes about how her practice of tzimtzum, a process of turning inward during practice, and how it evolved during the pandemic. She found that journaling and writing often was her way of dealing with isolation and creating new traditions for herself. She links the practice of journaling to Judaism as a combination of the spiritual, the creative, the practical, and the personal.