Covid 19: a pandemic anxiety

By now we are all submerged into this world-wide pandemic of Covid-19. Most of us have never thought we would experience something like this in our lifetimes, well at least I never thought I would. I don’t know about you, but it is impossible to go an hour without thinking about it, having a sudden panic wash over me or being reminded that this is our new normal. At least for the time being.

As I plan out our every meal, trying to ration food for the four of us (not easy to do with a fifteen and a twenty year old who won’t stop eating), a repeating thought keeps running through my mind: is this a fraction of what my grandparents felt like trying to survive the war and the Holocaust? Yes I know that what WE are going through is nothing, and I mean nothing compared to what people went through during WW2, and other genocides. And the only part I find myself relating to is the food aspect, or the lack of it. Don’t get me wrong, we are not lacking food in the least. Even before this pandemic hit I have always been somewhat of a hoarder as it pertained to food. Nothing else, just food. Besides my grandmother nobody else in my family is like that, my mom has always told me that I am exactly like my grandma. Til the day she died she had a fridge, a freezer and pantry stuffed with various food items. For whatever reason, her freezer was always packed with bread. Whenever we asked her why she is hoarding bread, her response was always the same: “You never know, it’s for a rainy day.”

Honestly, if you know any Russian Jews and especially older ones, they are all the same way. It’s a generational trait. My grandmother just like so many of her generation who grew up in the former Soviet Union, was eighteen years old when the Nazis invaded Russia. I remember her telling us that she knew her life as she knew it was over the day she heard about it on the radio in her hometown of Dniepropetrovsk in Ukraine.  And her life was never the same.

The day the German army invaded Ukraine my great-grandfather went out to the back, placed his right hand onto the chopping block, grabbed an axe and chopped off his thumb. He knew he was going to be drafted to fight for the Red Army, but knowing that it would mean certain death for his wife and six children; there was no way they would survive the war without him. So instead he packed up their horse and a small wagon with essentials, (which means completely different things to us) and set out to get ahead of the German army. For almost four years of the war they moved from town to town, asking for shelter and food in exchange for cooking, cleaning and doing various jobs in return. He would send in my great-grandmother to knock on doors while him and the children stayed behind; she was blonde with green eyes and didn’t look like a typical Jew which was their only saving grace. Ukrainians loved to turn Jewish people over to the Nazis, but so did every other nationality as well. Two of their children ended up dying from Cholera during the war. On my dad’s side of the family everyone is from Latvia which was part of the Soviet Union during that time. The women and children were killed fairly fast, and the only two people to survive were my grandfather and his father. The only reason they survived was because they knew how to work on Nazi tanks and machinery.

So as I sit here wondering whether I will get my deliveries of food on time, I also think about my grandparents. Is this the same uncertainty that they felt? Only times one hundred of course. Is this how it was to be absolutely terrified that your children may not have a meal that day, or if they did what would happen the next day? How did anyone ever sleep, how did they not lose their minds completely? I remember asking my grandfather once about it, and why he was always so positive and happy after the experience he survived? I remember asking him why he wasn’t mad or bitter or wanting revenge. You see he was a career military man, having only an eighth-grade education and needing to provide for the family my grandfather joined the Red Army at an early age. He escalated quickly in the ranks and became a Captain; was involved in many missions, one of them was being a sniper on skis and in charge of de-mining the fields. During the war he saw a lot of horror, soldiers being blown up right in front of him, his own brother missing in action (to this day they never found his body), not to mention his other sibling being killed by Stalin before the war. Yet he somehow maintained his dignity, sanity and the ability to see the good in people. I honestly don’t know how and know for sure that I would not have turned out as well.

His answer to me was this: not all people are evil, not everyone hates others and we survived for a reason; that reason is to warn our future generations that ignorance and lack of education leads to wars and genocide. Even though he only finished eighth grade, he preached about how important education was and begged us all to stay in school.

As hard as this pandemic has been on all of us, we truly have nothing to complain about. Every time I want to cry or get down about how scary life is right now, I remind myself about my grandparents and how much worse they had it. Can you imagine not being able to feed your babies, or having to hide in order to stay alive? None of us know what that’s like, and we have to remember that we live in a First world country, we have it much better than many other countries. We may not agree with our politicians or government, but we are still in a much better situation than most.

We are fine, we will be fine. Grocery stores will continue to stay open, restaurants will continue to offer deliveries and pickups, we will be fine as long as we all stay home and allow this virus to die out! Stay home, stay healthy and enjoy this time with your kiddos. This might be the only time we ever get to have them home with us, especially those of us whose kids are gong away to college. I am truly trying to soak up every minute of having mine at home. It’s not easy because he can be very annoying at times, as all children are but knowing he will be gone this summer for good is making it easier to get through this.

Matchmaking Woes…

I can’t remember exactly WHEN I started matchmaking, but it seems like I’ve been doing it forever…  In fact, I clearly remember trying to set people up back when I was in high school.  Most kids seemed open to it, however I was always asked the same question, even to this day: “Why?  Why do you keep doing it?”  I can’t explain it, it just makes me happy to see two people come together and form a relationship of some sort.  Whether its a long term relationship that ends in marriage and children, or something short-lived until both parties decide to move on.  Either way, it brings me joy.  I wake up in the middle of the night with an Aha! moment, knowing who I am going to set up the next day.
As much joy matchmaking brings me, there are some definite upsets that come along with it also…  Maybe its a sign of times, but lately I’ve been having the hardest time with single ladies between the ages of 35 and 45.  It’s not that they are opposed to the idea or mind paying for matchmaking services, but rather very cautious almost too cautious about being set up on a date.  Not only are they hesitant about giving me their real age and history of past relationships, but they also proceed very slowly and with great fear!

As the world evolved and allowed women to be completely independent from men, sometimes earning higher salaries, having great friends, apartments and a social life – so has the need for having a man in our lives.  It’s sad and wonderful at the same time.  These days the men who come to me for help are a lot more open about it, even when it comes to light “coaching”, appearance and dating advice.  Women on the other hand… not so much.  They seem very set in their ways as they get older, and unless I bring them “The Perfect Guy” don’t mind staying single.  I can’t say that I blame them, after all they do seem to have it all so why bother wasting a night on a potentially wrong date?  But then again, I am not usually wrong when I pair two people up and besides What Do You Have To Lose?  Not much.  And hopefully a lot to gain!  Who doesn’t want someone to come home to, or curl up on the couch with that isn’t covered in drool and animal hair?  Sure your cat or dog can’t talk back, but they also can’t give you an opinion on a pressing matter, give you an orgasm or bring you a hot cup of tea when you are ill…

If you or someone you know is interested in my matchmaking services – visit Match By Julia.  I will be more than happy to help you find a partner in life!

Another intelligent citizen…

Thinking that I’ve heard everything under the sun when it comes to Russia, its people and culture… today I heard another clever one.  A woman actually told me that I couldn’t possibly be Russian because I’m a brunette, and according to her- ALL Russian people have blond hair and blue eyes…

What does one say to such wisdom?  I tried to go with it for awhile, asking her where she heard such accurate information and how could it possibly be that a whole country is made up of only blonde people…  She kept arguing and insisting that I must be coloring my naturally blond hair, to which I kept repeating over and over again that no, in fact I do not color my hair.  After a few minutes of this nonsense, I just walked away while she was in mid-sentence.  At some point, you just have to walk away.

S**T Gentiles say to Jews…

After one of my hissy fits over yet another moronic comment by a non-Jew, I decided it was time to sit down and write out ALL of the idiotic things I’ve heard over the years.  So, strap on your seat-belts, lean back, relax and enjoy:

– I hope you don’t take this personally, but if I ever need a blood transfusion I won’t be able to accept yours since you have Jewish blood, and I don’t want that.

– I know you are Jewish and all that, but you still celebrate Jesus’ Birthday, right?  After all, he was Jewish.  Did you know that?

– Do all Jews have a lot of money?

– You must know a cheap nail salon being Jewish and all! (nail, hair, you name it).

– Are you only allowed to date Jewish men?

– I know you are Jewish and all that, but you still celebrate Easter, right?  After all, it was YOUR people that killed him.

– Oh I know a lot about Jewish people, the Old Testament really isn’t that different from the Bible.

– You are Jewish? How cute! My step-Father’s Uncle was Jewish. But then he became a Christian.

– You are Jewish? Oh well, that’s OK. My neighbor is Jewish, he is a lawyer. His name has something like Stein or Wein or Berg in it. Do you know him?

– I just love how you people are so good with money!

– I’m so sorry that you won’t be going to Heaven. But its not too late, you can still be saved if you just accept Jesus Christ as your Savior! (I don’t even know what that means).

– I know you are Jewish and all that, but do you want to come to Church with me? They won’t get mad that I brought a Jew, I promise. Christians are very accepting people, they don’t judge (yeah right).

– When I said Jewish people are cheap, I meant it in a good way.  You people are very good with money!

– Do all Jewish people have to learn to speak Hebrew?

– Why don’t Jewish people recruit, like the Christians? I’ve never seen a Jew asking a non-Jew to come to Temple with him, why is that? (because we don’t want or need you)

– Do all Jewish men make great husbands?  You know because they are so good with money, and you never have to worry about it…

– Your Father must be rich!

You must know of great deals for everything!

I would love to hear some of yours, so I can add it to the list.