This year, it seems like Purim started way in advance, with all kinds of warnings that we never had to consider in the past. If it were not so serious, some of the stuff that is happening on the ground would be considered wackadoodle!
Because of the increase in antisemitic events around the country (I am not even going to talk about what is going on in Europe — much too scary), the shuls in our area, as well as elsewhere in the country, have had to take security precautions to a new level never before seen here.
Now because of all the crazies out there, even face masks on Purim are being forbidden in shuls. I got emails from at least two different shuls telling me that because of the new security measures being enacted, the shuls are asking people not to wear face masks to shul this Purim, warning that anyone who does not adhere to this policy and puts on a face mask will not be allowed in shul.
My first reaction was that this completely throws off the celebration of Purim; at the same time, I understand that the security situation facing Jews at this time requires all of us to cooperate to make it a safe experience and holiday for us all.
To some degree, these security precautions reflect the actual story of Purim. Instead of being in Persia, we are reenacting the scary situation Jews are facing here, right now; the big difference is that we can create safer and more secure conditions for ourselves and other Jews than our ancestors were able to in Shushan all those years ago.
If this wasn’t enough, the last couple of weeks featured the commotion of the new coronavirus. Now I guess besides getting cheap versions of whatever we need imported from China, we need to worry about a virus originating in China, suspected to be caused by people eating wild animals that have close eating habits with bats. You would think that keeping kosher would protect us from this insanity, but, unfortunately, once the Chinese contracted this disease in human form, it became extremely contagious. Only a two-week quarantine for people who come in contact with them is the answer — at least until an effective vaccine is created.
If it turns out that the vaccine remedy comes out of Israel, does this mean we can create a list of all those who are members of the BDS, If Not Now, and Jewish Voice for Palestine movements and deny them access to the vaccine? Does forcing them to adhere to their own demands of boycotting anything from Israel include not letting them get the vaccine? I definitely would be a “yes” vote if this scenario came up. Talk about just ramifications!
Anyway, the safest preventive measure right now seems to be practical application. Keep some disposable gloves in the car on the off chance that you are in an area that warrants precaution. The same with disposable disinfectant wipes (if you can find them off the black market). We seem to be going through a wackadoodle tunnel these last few months, so let’s hope that by Pesach, things are calmer and warmer. I certainly am ready for spring!
Have a Happy Purim!
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.