By Cam Landis
1. Read a book!
When is the last time you picked up a book of your choice and read it? Right now is your chance! Many local library systems have a free ebook delivery and Amazon Prime members can access Prime Reading for free as well!
So far, I read Dr. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. It is an incredible and very emotionally heavy book, but one of the most profound texts I have ever come across. I would certainly suggest it to anyone to help guide their own search for meaning.
2. Get yourself a Pen(n) pal (buh dum tiss!)
Do you want a way to stay in touch with someone beyond sending them memes on Instagram? Perfect, get one (or more) of your friend’s addresses and send them a HAND WRITTEN letter. I promise they will appreciate it, and hey it’s fun to experience an antiquated method of communication. Please do not cough on the letters.
3. Put on your chef’s hat and apron
Make some challah for your socially distanced Shabbat! Here is a wildly mediocre recipe if you don’t have one on hand.
2-¼ tsp yeast + 1 tsp sugar + 1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup oil
4+ cups flour
1. Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water together. Let the mixture bubble.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 eggs, salt, sugar, oil, and 2 cups of flour.
3. Add bubbled yeast mixture to flour mixture.
4. Add 1-½ cups of flour to the mixture. Dough will start to form a ball.
5. Place the dough on a well floured surface and knead.
6. Say the prayer for separating challah (included below).
7. Braid challah and add toppings.
8. Let sit for about 30-60 minutes before putting in the oven.
9. Paint the challah with egg wash, bake at 375F for about 20-25 or until bread is golden brown.
Blessing for Separating Challah:
ברוך אתה ה׳ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קידשנו מצותיו וציונו להפריש חלה (מין העיסה)
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Meleh Ha Olaam Asher Kidshanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu L’hafrish Challah (Min Ha’isa).
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah .
Or, try out some of these modern takes Ashkenazi Jewish favorites from the men behind Freedman’s Restaurant & Bar in Los Angeles by using this link. The potato latke waffles are a lot of fun!
Put some chocolate chips in your challah!
4. Reach out to elderly people in your life
Times are challenging for everyone, but try not to forget the elderly people in your life. If your grandparents are like mine, they appreciate a FaceTime or Skype call so much. You could even write them a letter too! There are many ways to make sure elderly people know you care while maintaining social distance guidelines.
5. Don’t neglect your body
There are so many ways to still get some exercise during the pandemic without having to set foot in a gym. One of my new favorites has become yoga! There are hundreds of videos on YouTube and exercise streaming services out there, and all you need is a small area and a screen to watch.
If you or someone in your family subscribes to the exercise class streaming service called Peloton, that is my suggestion. Although, this YouTube channel has a huge variety and is free!
6. BONUS Virtual Quaran-Tea and Coffee Chat
Schedule a Zoom call with Rabbi Rick, Cameron Isen (the other Cameron), or any of the awesome folks involved with MEOR Penn with this link. They are willing to talk about anything and would love to hear from YOU during these chaotic times!
Cam Landis is a sophomore in the college from Madison, Ohio. He is a member of the Penn Track & Field team. And holds the record for Second all-time at Penn in both the indoor and outdoor shot put.