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Ok, I'm not trying to be overly dramatic. But over the last few nights, I keep thinking about that scene from The Ten Commandments where the mist rolls in and the first- born children of Egypt are in danger. The corona virus is like that mist, an unseen but deadly force.


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Actually, that Passover scene is a great analogy and visual. So, in all the COVID- craziness, were you able to prepare for Passover? And, how many pounds of matzo did you buy?


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None! I still have a 5-lb box left over from last year. That's the great thing about matzo, it starts out stale.


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True. I wonder if it even has an expiration date. Hopefully, you were able to get everything else you wanted without spending too long in the grocery store.


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It wasn't too bad. It really helped that I started making lists and stocking up on general items a few weeks before the "mad dash" to grocery stores began.


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Given how you have always loved lists, and loading up on sale items, I am not surprised.


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You can laugh at my lists, but when everyone was hunting for toilet paper and basics, I only had to shop for perishables. I used to go to the grocery story every few days, now I only go weekly.


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I probably should not admit this, but over a month ago I ordered toilet paper on Amazon Prime. I thought I bought a family size package, but when it arrived it was a case of family size packages. I am set for a while.


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Well, I probably have enough cream cheese to last us until the Fourth of July. It's not a high demand item, except in this house. And getting a brisket, and everything to go with it, is now a "cooking concept" that I do on a regular basis – making a meal that feeds us for several nights.


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I use that same approach for restaurant take-out. So, did you get horseradish and gefilte fish?


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No. I hate gefilte fish.


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The only way I can eat it is if it is hidden under a mountain of horseradish. But, that is not the point. The horseradish is a bitter herb, and eaten as a reminder of the bitter slavery of Jews in Egypt.


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At the risk of stating the obvious, don't you think there's enough "bitterness" around us with this awful coronavirus. I really don't think a root vegetable is necessary.


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First of all, you can look at the "bitterness" of the current situation, or you can look at all the people pulling together. Yes, there is dread … but there is also hope for a better day. Because, this too shall pass. And, that is the significance of Passover. And Easter. It makes us stop and think of how the past has brought us where we are today. Everyone needs reminders because, unfortunately, it is human nature to forget.


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I'm almost afraid to ask, but as inconceivable as it may seem now, do you think that when this corona crisis passes, people will forget the hardships we're all now facing?


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Totally forget? No. Focus on day-to-day living and moving forward? Yes. Which is not a bad thing, if they learned from this crisis.


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I guess that's why traditions and holidays are so important. They help us to remember pain and suffering. I'll admit that I don't do an elaborate Seder with all the customary foods and don't recite all the prayers, but we do sit down as a family and recognize the significance of Passover.


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What I find amazing, and inspiring, is how many families that cannot come together in person this year are finding new ways to maintain traditions. The use of technology, like Zoom, Face Time, and Google Hangout, means people can "virtually" be together.


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So, you could have a Seder Skype-style?! There's no doubt this is a time of ingenuity.


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A crisis is often when mankind is at its best. Especially as it forces us to think about what is most important. Which is each other. It makes us see that we all have more in common than not. That nothing is more precious than our family, our friends, our lives.


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Yes, but it seems that it comes at a very high cost. The current situation is so grim and the numbers are escalating every day. Isn't there anything we can do? In Biblical times, the Jews were able to mark their doors with the blood from the sacrificial lamb so that death would pass over their house.


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Think about that. They hid in their houses and marked their doors. The stay-in-place orders are basically doing the same thing, except since it applies to all of us, we do not have to mark our doors. If we want to reduce deaths, we have to reduce the spread of COVID- 19. And, it is not only about our families and loved ones. We have to do everything possible so that hospitals will not be pushed beyond their limits and to make sure that urgent medical supplies are available to all those truly in need.


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It sounds so simplistic, but it really is true. Each of us can make a difference, so each of us that can stay home, should stay home. If you have to go out, practice social distancing. Everyone needs to keep washing their hands, using hand sanitizer, and practicing social distance. I wish there was a way to get that message out to everyone!


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Maybe there is, but then you will accuse me of being warm and fuzzy, which is your area of expertise.


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Now you have me curious.


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Call or text the people you love. Make sure they are doing everything they can to stay safe. And, if not, encourage them to do so, and tell them why.


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You're right, that's way too warm and fuzzy, and totally out of character for you.


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Do not worry, this too shall pass.

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Quick! Define literacy (without Google or Siri's help). Ok, finished? We bet that you may have stopped at the ability to read and write. Which, technically, isn't wrong. It just isn't completely right, either. Which is what Red found out when she discovered, much to her surprise, that it includes such critical areas as financial, digital, and health literacy.

Red even admitted to Black that she didn't understand all those terms, although she had another concern … was Black going to use her as a poster child for her lack of literacy skills in this month's column, "RED & BLACK … A Blueprint For Life?!"

P.S. – This month's column is in honor of September being Adult & Family Literacy Month.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Underlying photo by mphillips007 on iStock


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I can't believe how quickly the year's flying by. And that tomorrow's already the fall equinox.


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I cannot believe that you know that but did not know when Rosh Hashanah fell this year.


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I got the dates mixed up. And I'll admit I had to look up the fall equinox date because it also varies slightly from year to year.


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Technically, the equinox is not a day, but rather an exact moment – when the Sun crosses the Equator.


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Picky, picky, picky. But if I remember correctly, although science class was decades ago, on the equinox, we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime.


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Not exactly, but close enough. But, why are we even talking about this?
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Initially, I just chalked this up to being "old" and accepting the fact I remember telephones before they were "smart" (and will admit they can make me feel "less-than-smart"). I am old enough to remember rotary dial phones (see the image above) where you had to place a finger in the hole associated with the number, then rotate the dial round to the end-stop and let the dial return under its own power. I will not go into the science behind it, but it was extremely reliable – although very hard on your manicure.

But, this is not about the history of telephones or the associated technology that has improved to the point computers that once required a large, air-conditioned room can now fit in your back pocket or handbag. This is not about us all (regardless of age) needing to be digitally literate. It is not about the fact the older we are, the larger the screen size we prefer, although we might claim it is a function of what we are used to versus admitting to declining vision as we age.

Rather, this is about a recent experience that first made me feel old. Then roll my eyes. And then open my eyes to an opportunity.

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