No more masks, no more zoom and gloom

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

On a zoom conference call I hosted yesterday with girls from around the world, two participants from Canada related that they were still studying via Zoom and apparently would continue to do so at the beginning of next year. I did not know how to react and neither did any of the girls tuning in from Israel.

A computer programmer friend told me that she is working on a project with programmers in Russia. Until today, some of them are absent from work due to having contracted the coronavirus. And now the mayor of Moscow has ordered an official week of vacation from work in order to cope with a sharp increase in the rate of virus infection and mortality. She has a hard time telling her Russian colleagues about the radically different state of affairs in Israel.

I heard something in a similar vein from a South African journalist. She told me that only wealthy members of her community have been successfully immunized since they were able to obtain "a good vaccine like you got in Israel." She added that cabinet ministers in Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador were forced to resign when it was revealed that they had procured vaccines for family members while the rest of the population was still without. There simply were not enough vaccines to go around."How did all of you manage to get vaccinated at no charge?" she asked.

And among us, this is not the main headline. There was no celebratory countdown but it has happened: as of today, the obligation to wear masks is no more. The morbidity rate is virtually zero. The pandemic here has been defeated. Hand sanitizer and learning capsules have been relegated to the corona museum.

The last few Torah portions have emphasized how important it is not to be apathetic towards others, and how important it is not to be ungrateful. So we need to pray for the recovery of the rest of the world, part of which is still suffering, and to express thanks for our good fortune. Baruch HaShem and blessed be the outgoing prime minister and the health system. After a year and three months of "the corona war," nearly all the restrictions have been removed as of this morning. Even the nuisance of wearing masks has disappeared from our lives. It is now possible to breathe freely in more ways than one.

May we continue to hear only good news.

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