We are all living through a major historical event. Students find themselves in a particularly difficult position as they attempt to stay connected with friends while continuing their education and this is a record of their experiences and actions, a Haggadah of our time.
Haggadah loosely translates to TELLING. These are your individual stories. Learn how other Washington Jewish individuals are responding during this time here and how Washington Jewish Organizations and Synagogues are responding here.
The bonds which connect us as a society are changing, but our Jewish values provide a framework for us to persevere.
My name is Alyssa Boden and I am an 8th grader at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS). During this global crisis I am doing my classwork remotely and focusing on staying safe and healthy. I love playing sports including soccer, basketball, tennis and lax. I am working hard to stay active by walking and I am hoping the weather will change soon so I can get outside more and play more sports. I am spending quality time with my family and friends by cooking, playing games and FaceTiming. I am learning the concept of change and how to step back and appreciate the things I have. As my parents have said to me over the years I am taking the time to stop and smell the roses. I think before this pandemic I didn’t think about the importance of my health and those that I love. The hardest thing I am facing right now is the possibility of not going to summer camp. It’s my home away from home and the most special place to me. I look forward to seeing all my friends and am holding onto a glimmer of hope that camp will happen this summer even if in a different capacity.
My name is Hannah Boden and I am a Junior at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS). I am an active tennis player and volunteer my time with several organizations focusing on advocating for people’s rights. Right now I am learning remotely and while at home I am trying new responsibilities like cooking, organizing and cleaning. We are experiencing a difficult time in our lives being confined to our home and I am also taking the time to reflect on the life I had prior to this virus and thinking about what the future holds. Since I am a Junior much of this year has been focused on grades, extracurricular activities, studying for standardized testing and college prep work. All of these parts of my life have been impacted and I am learning that change can happen at anytime. I am finding that being resilient and adapting to an ever changing environment is a life long skill. My biggest disappointment is that my 9 week culmination trip with my camp friends to Poland and Israel may not happen. While I am disappointed, I am cherishing the time I can spend with my family and FaceTiming with my friends and thinking about the important things in life. Life has slowed down with minimal schedules and having this time has made be appreciate the beauty of the outdoors, my relationships, and the direction I will take in the future.
As a student this worldwide pandemic has largely affected my academic life. However, more importantly it has impacted my family life. Having my testing delayed and grades for the second semester of my junior year no longer have weight has shaken up my life, but nothing has shaken it more than the implications of all of this on my family. Because of this virus I have missed some crucial life events such as my cousin's Bat Mitzvah and my grandmother's 80th birthday trip. While these things matter to me, I am also well aware of the fact that all of these are minor impacts and that the gravity of this situation is far worse for many families who are losing loved ones or living in constant fear because they experience immunosuppression. I pray daily for these people’s health and well-being in times of a crisis like this.
Some Mitzvahs that I have seen throughout this time are people giving there money and time to the groups that need it the most such as the homeless population of Seattle, domestic violence victims, and the elderly who cannot leave their homes. I am currently attempting to raise money for the homeless in Seattle who have no access to their shelters, basic amenities, and healthcare in this time.
- Mikayla Geisner
My name is Ally Lavin and I am a junior at Mercer Island High School.
The Coronavirus has impacted everyone in different ways but for me especially this has impacted the structure in my day. I am someone who needs some amount of structure to function so going to school every day helped with that. Now since we are out of school I have lost this important structure, but I am doing my best to gain it back. I try to do a few hours of school work each day then go on a jog and do some exercise, so when I come home I can rest.
As a high school junior, the virus has also impacted my ACT and AP tests which is a big change around the US and it will be interesting to take part in this "experiment" with new way to test.
This experience has taught me that we always need to be ready for change. Whether it is adapting to a new routine, having the right supplies, or finding new ways to continue old routines, we always should be prepared for change.
(I have also been hiking more and getting outside. This virus had given me a greater appreciation for the outdoors and fresh air. Because I am stuck in my house with my family 24/7, the outdoors have helped me get my own space and have a clear mind.)
My name is Taleah Levin and I am a freshman studying Retail and Consumer Behavior at the University of Wisconsin Madison. To say the least, I did not picture to be home, studying from the comfort of my dining room table during the spring semester of my freshman year. Not only was I looking forward to advancing my studies and getting the hands on class experience I signed up for, but I was excited to see my first Wisconsin spring and build upon all the new friendships that blossomed this year. However, I know that I am not the only one affected, not the only one who is facing challenges in this “new normal,” and I am definitely not suffering immense trouble like some people out there.
Living life in a quarantine-like state has been a change for all of us, however it has given me the time to take up new hobbies, read, and spend time with my family, since being gone at school sometimes takes away these opportunities. Being said, I am grateful to have such a support system, and people around me that help to make this experience as enjoyable as possible as well as continue to help me learn and grow in the best way possible right now. That is why I wish to take this time to look at the positive and keep the thoughts of my family and friends as well as anyone who is struggling right now in my heart and in my mind. Everyday you can donate to relief causes and you can still participate in philanthropy as well as take on new ways to give back in light of this situation. Most of all, we need to remember that we are not alone, but instead all going through this together.
Abby Carolyn Levine
Throughout my jewish education the teaching that has always stuck most with me is gemilut chasadim, acts of love and kindness. During this difficult time I have noticed that these moments of selfless love have only become more poignant. An example I have witnessed in my own life was by my grandma and grandfather. My grandparents own a glue company, however when they noticed the severe shortage of hand sanitizer in their community they decided to start producing hand sanitizer in their factories and donating it to local hospitals and nursing homes. While I try to navigate my own anxiety and unhappiness during this difficult time, it is by noticing the gemilut chasadim all around me that I am able to remain optimistic.
Sydney doing on-line school work with supervision from her dog Molly.
Hi, My name is Sydney Linkon- Now that I am restricted to our home, I have school on-line. It's kind of cool to go to the kitchen in my pajamas and have school on-line, but I do miss seeing my friends. I started doing more things around the house and cleaning out my room. I made a bag or two for donations.
I've been keeping busy reading, and playing video games and getting outside walking my dog, Molly. I am doing some fun things with my family like completing a puzzle and doing some cooking.
We were going to travel to see family over my Spring Break, but instead we either "face time" or "zoom" each other to stay in touch.
Emma Lynne Poll
I have started working out everyday and becoming a more active person due to this quarantine. I am staying connected to family and friends via facetime. We facetime my noni every night and my bubby! People are staying inside to help stop the progression of this virus which shows the amazing community we have here in Seattle. So far, I have been able to stay home and avoid social gatherings because I understand the severity of this issue and believe it is more important than my current social life.
However, this virus is very frustrating for a student. I am a senior and high school and have many concerns. Will I be able to walk at graduation? Will I be able to go to prom? Grad parties? Senior activities? All things I have been looking forward to and it may be gone. From this experience I have learned that life can change in an instant and to be prepared and not selfish in these times of need.
-Emma Lynne Poll
Asher Lev Porad
My everyday life has changed a good amount because of this virus. My exercise and after school routine, which is normally going to the bouldering gym with some friends, is now biking and watching TV. School is now at home, so for most weekdays I just sit at my desk for 7 hours a day.
I've been staying in touch with my friends mostly through text and other social media. Social distancing was really hard at first because I missed my friends and doing the activities I like to do, but I'm a week or two in now and I'm starting to get a little used to it and I've been in a better mood the past few days.
From this experience I've learned that everyone has to do their part, because if not everyone social distances, then the virus continues to spread and hurt people, even if it doesn't affect you that much.
- Asher Lev Porad
Sydney Logan Samuels
Sydney hiking in the hills of the Israeli desert before her trip was cut short by COVID-19.
Starting my story with everything going on I was in Israel. I was on the program Alexander Muss, I was supposed to be gone for four months till the end of May. My journey in Israel ended March 15th as all teens on semester abroad programs were flown back thanks to JNF (Jewish National Fund). By the last day I was in Israel they had the rule in place for no more than 10 people in a room. It was unsafe for us to be there, we all lived in close spacing and we could not risk one of us getting it on our campus. I was extremely sad to end my amazing experience as we were almost halfway in. I am currently home keeping up with online school with Alexander Muss over zoom.
What I have learned from this experience was to value each and every day because you really do not know what the next day will bring. My program was supposed to go to Poland and it got cancelled towards the beginning of our experience, it slowly started to affect activities and places we were supposed to go to. Since I have been home I keep in touch with my friends from Israel everyday, we are so sad to no longer be there, and I facetime my family members each day. I have been busy with school in the morning because we do a time that works for Pacific, Eastern time and Israel. It is just a weird feeling to be home expecting to be gone for four months.
To end, leaving the most amazing experience that I have grown from and have learned so much about my Jewish Identity from was so hard, what my parents told me as I got stressed towards the end, once heard we have to go home is to not stress over things you can’t control. That is my story, I have experienced the amazing land of Israel, and left to be home with my family during this chaotic time, living one day at a time at home.
Ava Odette Wampold
Daily quarantine walk with the dog helps Ava get safely out of the house for short periods of time during COVID-19.
I am a senior in high school so my life has changed and the future of my last year of high school has changed a lot. I am planning on staying inside for the indefinite future instead of picking out dresses and outfits for senior graduation or Prom. I don't get to see my boyfriend anymore which has been really hard. We did "accidentally" run into each other at the grocery store yesterday which will bring me enough joy to last for a few days. My cousins birthday was also yesterday. In order to celebrate, all of the family drove over to his house, we played music and we drove by his window. Creating a surprise birthday parade of sorts. The kids were dancing out of the car windows and we got to interact with each other for the first time in weeks.
Right now, on March 27th, 2020, the future is unknown. We don't know when this virus will stop spreading and we don't know how long it will be until we get to see the faces of our loved ones again. But I do know that we are creative and resilient. I've seen incredible connections and learning opportunities being made across the internet. I think that people are getting the opportunity to reflect on themselves and their relationships with others. I think we, as people, will come out of this stronger and more present. I will never take a hug from my friends or a laugh with my boyfriend for granted ever again. And honestly, I'm grateful for that.
- Ava Odette Wampold
Picture is a screen capture of Molly in one of her new educational videos.
After saying goodbye to my students that Wednesday [March 18], I heard the news that school was closed effective immediately. As a first grade teacher and a first year teacher I couldn't comprehend what that meant. Over the next few days, we were told we needed to provide resources for our students online. I had to learn how to adapt to curriculum changes and new technology, and boy was there a learning curve! I went from being an interactive teacher, to being an online educator. I had to re-think everything I knew about teaching. How would I make my lessons personalized and engaging? How could I bring my students into the conversation when they were going to watch me through a screen? That's when our first grade team decided to start making educational videos. Through this medium I am able to show my authenticity and excitement. I am still learning, but through this process I am exploring my online creativity and figuring out how to inspire my students and bring them smiles.
- Ms. Molly Azose
One of Ms. Azose's education videos featuring a lesson in adding numbers in groups of ten is available to view further down the page.
Our daughter, Sadie Howard, celebrated her bat mitzvah on May 2, 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and Washington State’s "Stay Home" orders.
Knowing that we would not be able to share the day with our close friends and family at our synagogue, Herzl Ner-Tamid, we had to find a solution that was meaningful for us and celebrated our daughter's accomplishment.
We borrowed a Torah from HNT, Sadie's tutor helped lead the service surrounded by our immediate family from her grandparent's backyard, and our Zoom community all over the US. It was a special day and we felt so much pride for our daughter who lead the service, read from the Torah, and chanted her Haftorah with so much grace, poise, and confidence, while she beautifully tied her d'var with the current events.
Her day ended with a virtual DJ dance party for her friends in our decorated garage.
- Mimi and Billy Howard
Washington State Jewish Historical Society is dedicated to discovering, preserving, and disseminating the history of the Jews of Washington state and promotes interest in and knowledge of the life, history, and culture of the Jewish people and communities through publications, exhibits, displays, speakers, tours, and performance.