Lighthouse 107 – April 3, 2020 – by Zoom

Hello friends,
Another Zoom meeting of the Lighthouse circle ha ended. Another encounter in which the pandemic occupies most of the participants’ thoughts and words. Apparently we don’t really understand the new reality imposed on us now.
I was glad when Rami decided to run the encounter along the guidelines we had before the pandemic broke out.
We met again, Rami, Shmulik and myself, before the Zoom circle, in the open space near the sulfur plant, both to “feel” our physical closeness (still maintaining the proper “social distancing” restrictions….) and – at least on my part – spend time in the open and imagine unrestricted space.
Rami hurried home to facilitate the Zoom circle. Shmulik and I returned to Nir Yitzchak, while Shmulike took part via my cell phone in the circle while I drove. Once in Nir Yitzchak, Shmulik went home and was partaking only in some of the circle-time.
I enjoyed hearing and seeing everyone. I was glad to see some of the new faces who now take part in the Zoom meetings, such as Alaa, Abu Ahmad, Mohammad, Elisheva, Eden and Avi.
It was so touching to watch the video shared by Liora and Alaa. How sad it was to hear Jeff describe the situation in New York and his family’s escape from the pandemic threat. How ironic to suddenly discover with what speed we give up our ideal of freedom, and how we don’t only understand but actually feel the meaning of closure! Closure which, to our sorrow and shame, is such a routine matter for our neighbors.
Most of the time I try to cope with the instructions, orders and regulations landing on us from all sides, and the basic fear of becoming ill, and how all of this affects my mind. I seek a hold on this new entity and discover that what I miss most is physical contact, suffering the lack of trust in the most trivial physical touch of a kiss, an embrace, a caress, sitting close together, being near. I miss the actual circle!
It is not obvious that inside the pandemic panic around us there are people actually caring for neighbors and maintaining a daily or weekly routine of meetings. Although we repeat the same words and phrases time and again, and even if we are a droplet of human simplicity in an ocean of hostility, this persistence will see its rewards. When we finally meet our friends from Gaza and hug them, we shall – for a moment – be the happiest people in the world.
Present were: Nweta, Mirale, Vivian, Jaber, Nahshi, Julia, Rami, Avi, Adi, Mohammad, Rami, Alaa, Abu Ahmad, Shmulik, Rami, Manar, Malki, Elisheva, Mary, Marwan, Ghadir, Adir, Liora, Noga, Jeff, Roni, and I –