best friends beshert

Beshert | Bestie In My Building, Part II

When I wrote my first Beshert piece, it was during happier, more carefree times. I’d just met my bestie after living in the apartment above hers for a lonely year. And then came COVID-19.  When Washington, D.C. went into lockdown, we decided that she’d quarantine with my family. We both worked from home and made our own hours. Every afternoon, like Lucy and Ethel, we sat on my blue velvet couch and screamed at the TV, a pair of middle-aged women cracking jokes through our fear as we watched the world spin out of control. It was like watching a never-ending apocalyptic movie. We weren't glamorous, nor camera-ready. We skipped social niceties like getting seriously dressed. We never knew what day of the week it was because we had nowhere to go but the couch.  We knew...

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Indian Jewish Wedding

Tragedy in Chennai

While Americans are busy deciding which restaurant to eat inside at and planning parties, COVID-19 is raging at its highest levels ever worldwide. Tragedy, in particular, is unfolding day after day in India, which is struggling to vaccinate and care for its people, including its approximately 6,000 Jews. In order to bring much needed attention to this crisis, Moment is publishing a letter from Nancy Brim about how COVID-19 has affected her Jewish family living in Chennai, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

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Houston’s United Orthodox Synagogues Triumphs with Community-Based Vaccination Effort

On Monday, Gail Stalarow of Houston, TX received a text from an unknown number in a group chat a friend of hers had started.  “Alan Hoffman just called and said there are 850 shots at Methodist that need to be given out before noon today,” the text stated. It was 9:57 a.m.  After temperatures began to drop in Houston as freezing rain and sleet took hold of the city on February 15, Houston Methodist Hospital canceled vaccine appointments for that day and the following to keep locals off the now-dangerous, icy roads. But due to a fluctuation in the freezers that held the county's supply of usable vaccines, hundreds of first doses of the Moderna vaccine would go to waste if higher-ups at the hospital didn’t act fast. Similar vaccine gold rushes have occurred across the country.  “I had...

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Collage of images: Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court building, Trump with a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews

Trump’s Parting Gifts

Despite a failed reelection campaign, Donald Trump and his team registered several notable gains this election season. Trump slightly increased the share of Black and Hispanic Americans voting for him, alongside an impressive turnout from a small but well-organized subgroup: Orthodox Jews. According to polls and estimates, more than 80 percent of Orthodox Jews cast their vote for Trump, making them one of his most approving constituencies in the nation.

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What’s in a Date? On the Meaning of Tisha B’Av

This year some Jews will use Tisha B’Av as a day to reflect upon the trauma of the ongoing pandemic. When cities across the world shut down this spring, the reality of social distancing and quarantine, accompanied by images of abandoned roads, empty subways and desolate public spaces, evoked the opening lines of the book of Lamentations, traditionally chanted on Tisha B’Av in many communities.

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Palm Springs: Build Your Own Palace in Time

Repetition mixed with monotony is not usually high up on Hollywood’s list of project themes, which is why Hulu’s Palm Springs was such a delightful surprise. The film stars Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother) as two apathetic California wedding guests who get stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, forcing them to relive the couple’s special day over and over again. For a film that was shot in pre-coronavirus times, Palm Springs is surprisingly relevant.

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Nikki Fried Attacks Florida Governor’s COVID-19 Response

Since the pandemic began, DeSantis has aped Trump’s responses–and non-responses–to the crisis. He has refused to take significant state action to stem the now-record rising tide of COVID-19. This has included intransigent resistance to mandating the use of masks, closing the beaches and ordering a stay-at-home lockdown. Echoing Trump, he deferred to local authorities to take such action.

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