Finding New Ways to Connect


During these challenging times, I have tried to find “happy moments” where I can find them. This has often taken the form of reading a book with my son or cooking dinner with my family.

Another highlight was listening to my daughter’s online Religious School class, where my Cantor sang a beautiful Mi Chamocha, which may be my favorite prayer. To me, Mi Chamocha—a prayer exclaiming gratitude for safely crossing the Red Sea—is a prayer of hope and a prayer celebrating freedom. It reminds me that we will not be stuck forever, that a lack of control is only temporary, that when we feel trapped there is hope we will get out, and that freedom will come again. Hearing her sing was a great reminder that we will not always be stuck indoors—that quarantines will lift and we will be free to be together again.

Until then, my hope during this time is that we will find new ways to connect with each other. For years, the promise of technology connecting us hasn’t really materialized. Instead of talking to friends at lunch, we stare at our phones. I hope that during this time, we will find ways to use technology for connection instead of isolation. Maybe, like me, you have had Zoom Happy Hours with long-lost high school friends, or Facetime greetings with relatives living across the country.

Perhaps you are finding community and connection through our new Virtual 14th Street Y, with our live streaming fitness and adult studies classes, arts and culture programming, and online resources for children of all ages.

We’re continuously creating new ways to bring our community together. I want to personally invite you to our upcoming virtual Season of Jewish Culture, starting Sunday, April 19. The Season of Jewish Culture will feature performances and events that reinvigorate the vision of Jewish culture, bringing the East Village and Lower East Side’s rich Jewish heritage into your home. This exciting series of innovative virtual programs features culture makers of all kinds—artists, performers, storytellers and writers.

While these are trying times, we know that we will be together again. And we know that we will get through this—as a community.

But until we all can be together again, I hope you can find connection and meaning on our online world.


Learn more about The Season of Jewish Culture below and be sure to follow us on Facebook to tune in live to these exciting culture events! 



The Season of Jewish Culture events and experiences offer something for everyone across Downtown Manhattan. Highlights include:


Sunday, April 19, 5:00 PM | Free | 14th Street Y Facebook Page, Live Event

During Passover, Jews are forbidden to eat all bread and leaven.  In Morocco, Jews open their homes on the last day of Passover to their Muslim neighbors to celebrate the end of those restrictions.  Join us for an online Mimouna musical show, featuring enchanting Moroccan tunes played by the musician Jawad Bouhssina, followed by a Talkback that will shed light on the holiday’s origin and in importance if interfaith initiatives in 2020.

Yom Hashoah

Monday, April 20, 7:00 PM | Free | 14th Street Y Facebook Page, Live Event

The Downtown Jewish Life community will gather in remembrance of the many lives lost in the Holocaust.  Through song, stories and prayer, community leaders will create a space to ensure that future generations never forget the past while paving a future with unity and hope.

Yom Haatzmaut

Monday, April 27, 7:00 PM | Free | 14th Street Y Facebook Page, Live Event

We will be celebrating this year’s Yom Haatzmaut with an online lecture by award winning Israeli Journalist Amir Tibob on the impact of the coronavirus over Israeli politics, briefing the risks and opportunities it possesses.  Ahead of Israel’s Independence Day, join award-winning Israeli journalist  Amir Tibon for an online briefing on these crucial times in Israel. Amir, currently the Washington Correspondent for Haaretz newspaper, will discuss the recent events and answer questions on the subject.

Pause/Play: Shabbaton Atzmaut

Saturday, May 2, 3:00 – 6:00 PM | 14th Street Y Facebook Page, Live Event

72 years young… 72 looks different from every vantage point—but whether you are 3 or 93 it is a cause for celebration! Come celebrate Israel’s 72nd birthday and appreciate its diverse flavors and cultures. Enjoy online family-friendly activities including Israeli dancing and music, Israeli arts and crafts, and many more sophisticated, tasty and enriching elements of Israel!


Thursday, May 28, 6:00 PM – 12:30 AM | 14th Street Y Facebook Page, Live Event

The 14th Street Y and Downtown Jewish Life partners are proud to end our Season of Jewish Culture in style as we celebrate Shavuot on May 28 from 6:00 PM to 12:30 AM at the 14th Street Y, with our own virtual re-interpretation of a Tikkun.

Join a flow of inspirational encounters filled with intrigue, magic, art, ancient and contemporary text, Hebrew, English, and Aramaic. Create your own narrative, your own journey, learn and question and even get a tutorial on how to make a fantastic cheesecake!

Led by LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture artists and teachers, with the support of members of our Downtown Jewish Life Community. The evening will include artistic engagement, performances, text study in Hebrew and English and music. The evening will end with a moment to bring our entire community together.

Let the mysteries begin and join us on the journey into the night.