This is Who We Are

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      November 13, 2020

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This is Who We Are
Eric Fitzgerald
Saturday, November 7, Topangans awoke to a light rain that brought in a cold snap and a Double Rainbow (above) that Eric Fitzgerald captured from his deck at about 8:30 a.m., just as the news of the Biden/Harris victory came in. Kathie Gibboney’s daughter, Miranda, called from college in Santa Cruz. She was crying with joy at the news, unlike the first time she voted in 2016. Her brother, Riley, was dancing in the streets in Berkeley. (Page 5) Over the next week, the tone of the country, indeed the world, would change, as if the planet just heaved a prolonged sigh of relief. America would be great again. This editorial’s original intention was to express thoughts that crept into my point of view that I wanted to say, but it seems to be evolving as I discover other people are thinking out loud. By speaking their words here, more perspectives present themselves that only enhance the original intent of “Thinking Out Loud.” On September 30, I enjoyed a chat with Rabbi Dovid Weiss of Topanga Chabad. He decided to hold in-person celebrations for the High Holy Days, Rosh Hoshannah and Yom Kippur. Ordinarily, it is a time of gathering when celebrants participate in the services and share communal feasting. His management for celebrating a holiday can be a guide for us all as we approach the holiday season. “The High Holidays were the first in-person gathering that we’ve had since March,” Rabbi Weiss said. “We’ve been doing Zoom, What’s Ap, FaceTime, video, or whatever works. We couldn’t get together for so long; it was all phone calls and if you met someone, it was over a long table. People were excited to get together; it was like a real breath of fresh air. About 60 people attended.” It was challenging. Services were held outdoors and CDC guidelines were strictly observed, taking temperatures, asking people if they felt sick, using hand sanitizer, social distancing, and masks. During services, Rabbi Weiss kept his mask on. “‘If it’s hard on you, it’s harder on me,” he told the congregants, ‘because I’m the one doing all the talking and reading and wearing a mask all the time.’ I didn’t want the perception to be that because I’m the rabbi, I can take off the mask. I want them to see that I’m equal, just like them. It’s a little bit hard keeping up with all the CDC updates, but if it helps anyone or saves anyone, it’s a worthy investment. There’s no arguing about it.” We just celebrated Veterans Day, November 11. Topanga resident Fred Samia is a Viet Nam veteran and wrote an essay, “War and COVID-19” (Page 16).” He wrote it in August, but I kept putting off publishing it, not intentionally. Now, it seems most appropriate to honor him and all those who served and continue to serve. Poet Ann Buxie also wrote in response to the election that didn’t fit elsewhere. Timing is everything.
The Canyon Chronicle
      November 13, 2020

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