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05/14/2020 04:46:53 PM


Shmulie Fischman


On day 253, the quarantine finally defeated George. It took longer than expected, but then again, so had the quarantine. 

The realization dawned on him one Thursday morning; a morning when he could not or would not get out of bed. He heard children in the distance, a garbage truck on his corner, and birds chirping despite the relentless cold of #May2020. And yet George refused to budge, which was unusual because he was a social animal before this imprisonment began; wandering into and participating with every minyan in town, old and new alike. 

In fact, each shul gave George an appropriate nickname.

At the YI, he was known as "Wise Beard Man." (They said it's because he is a Man and his Beard is Wise).

In KBH, George was affectionately known as YOUTUGE. That stands for “Yeshivish Ortho Used To Understand Gentile Extremes." It’s really catchy. Over at the BK he is well regarded as the Assistant to the Traveling Secretary. KLA has no real nickname for him other than "Oh, there is that guy who got lost on his way to KBH and ended up here." I think it has a ring to it.

But now? Now George was home all day, doing his level best in lifting everyone's spirits with his energy and empathy, his optimism and his outlook. Until day 253. On day 253, having to put together Issue #253 of The Antibody, George knew that he couldn't do it anymore. He couldn't pretend to be happy and unaffected all the time. He couldn't constantly cheer people up when he didn't think there was anything to be cheerful about. It was a role he could no longer play and maybe he should admit defeat and succumb like everyone else to this constant drumbeat of bad news and terrible tidings.

As George lay in bed, melancholy and morose, another thought occurred to him. He could stay in bed and he would be right to do so. But the people of North Woodmere needed him. Maybe today was hard, certainly harder than most. Everyone was struggling and everyday was a struggle, but George provided relief and levity for countless others day after day. Though George didn't care to admit it to himself, he knew that his spirit, his devotion to helping people, was an integral part for all the many tribes of North Woodmere as they meandered through this continuing crisis. The wave lifting, George slowly got to his feet to take up his post once again. He solicited articles, sent check-up emails and made his round of calls. We never know what our purpose is in life, he thought, and it would be easy to be like everyone else, but why would God make us all so different if He wanted us to be the same? 

George had a job to do, and a grateful public was ready for Issue #253.

By: Shmulie Fischman

Tue, March 5 2024 25 Adar I 5784