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Mazel Tov in the Time of the Pandemic

Our member, Stefanie Polin, an alum of Holy Family University, said that after reading an email from the Sister, she was reminded of the fear she felt after 9/11 when she was a graduate student. That memory led her to write this Letter to the Editor that was recently published in the Holy Family University magazine.

I thought it was important to share some of Stefie’s letter as it relates deeply to how we can find comfort when we are surrounded by nature, love and faith.

“I was a graduate student when the atrocities of 9/11 occurred. I had just found out that my husband and I were expecting our third child. And while this child was planned and loved from the start, we all of a sudden became scared. What kind of a world were we raising our other two children in? One thing I remember implicitly was that I was going to head into class later that week. I am a Jewish American woman, who is, and was, very active in my faith-based and synagogue community. However, even with my community in that time of the unknown so many were asking questions. Where was God? How could this possibly happen, if there is a God? As expected, our clergy reached out and allowed us to walk with them as we either trusted that God was there, or continued to question the existence of a higher being. But what stands out to me is that feeling of love as I walked as I walked onto this campus. I felt as though just being in a space that is surrounded by nature, love and faith would help me through all the worry that I felt. This too will eventually come to a new normal and we will be able to move forward in our lives and in our faith.”

Always optimistic, over the last few months I asked members to share some of the “good” things, some of the “Mazel Tov’s” that have happened to them during the pandemic.

Here are some positive thoughts I would like to share from our member, Joan Myerson Shrager.

Joan is a Digital Artist, Co-founder of The Stained Glass Project, as well as a self-described “techie person” who has worked closely with Rabbi Sussman on hundreds of PowerPoint presentations. Joan says working with Rabbi is always a learning experience as she helps research each topic. We are grateful to Joan for all of her artistic additions to Rabbi’s presentations.

From Joan: You asked for emails about Mazel Tov’s etc. Here is mine. Perhaps not what you had in mind, but a Mazel Tov to KI nonetheless. Mazel Tov for how KI is dealing with this current crisis and how KI is offering me a place to learn and to interact with so many people and programs every week. As one who lives alone, I am very grateful for that.

I am not much of a service goer but as administrator of Rabbi Sussman’s Facebook page and an editor of the KI Facebook page, I see that hundreds of people are engaged every week because of KI’s programming. KI is even more meaningful to me these days as I muddle through this pandemic. I check in for an intellectual uplift from one of Rabbi’s Master Class presentations or his programs. I love that our brilliant TJ Museum artists are presenting at Friday Zonegs. I loved that I was invited to present as well. I am a member of several committees and join their Zoom meetings. Sure keeps me sane and focused.

This Friday’s Zoneg (August 7, 2020 at 8:00pm) will mean a great deal to me as my best friend, Paula Mandel, a brilliant glass sculptor and fellow director of our Stained Glass Project, is presenting her wonderful work.

So thank you KI and Mazel Tov!

I would still like to hear from you. If you want to share KI Acts of Kindness, or Mazel Tov’s in the time of the Pandemic, send me an email.

Janice Schwartz-Donahue, KI President


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