It wouldn’t be right to ring out 2020 without expressing appreciation for the good. Yes, we made it through a difficult year.
Saying “thank you” is such an easy and meaningful expression of gratitude. Recognizing the good in our life helps us appreciate things we take for granted. After a year like 2020, we could all do with the warm vibes that come with those two words.
So without further ado. . .
Thank you to the doctors, nurses and health care professionals working incredible hours to care for the sick and get us vaccinated.
Thank you to my personal doctor for being so responsive to my phone calls and emails.
Thank you to my wife and children for not taking unnecessary risks with their health.
Thank you to all the paramedics coming out to emergency calls never knowing if they’ll be treating someone with COVID.
Thank you to the IDF Home Front Command for all the unseen logistical work behind an ambitious vaccination campaign.
Thank you to the supermarket cashier who cheerfully gave me a mask the morning I forgot to put one on.
Thank you to all the other cashiers who somehow keep things moving with aplomb despite customers leaning around the plastic partition to haggle over a sale price.
Thank you to all the so-called nudniks pointing out when others aren’t wearing masks properly.
Thank you to all the Sherut Leumi volunteers assisting hospital staff and being extra helping hands.
Thank you to all the teachers who mastered Zoom and other tools on the fly to teach our kids.
Thank you to the synagogue gabbaim who made sure prayers continued day in and day out without a hitch — despite regulars forced to quarantine and frequently changing guidelines on gatherings.
Thank you to all the rabbis who guided us through a year’s worth of unusual life-cycle events and holidays and navigating all kinds issues of medical ethics. I hope we never have to revisit those questions again.
Thank you to the 20,000 olim who COVID couldn’t faze from making aliyah in 2020. You inspire me and your resilience enhances Israeli society.
Thank you to all the Facebook groups where we shared information, advice and encouragement to make getting through 2020 a little easier; special appreciation for the admins whose moderation went above and beyond what they signed up for.
Thank you to all the journalists documenting the good, the bad and the ugly of our government and society’s response to the pandemic.
Thank you to all the bus passengers who simply opened a window for better air circulation.
Thank you to the post office guy who makes sure people wait in line outside.
Thank you to all the pharmacists who remind customers to keep appropriate distance from one another.
Thank you to the supermarket guard for being able to joke about taking my temperature three times one morning when I had to make multiple trips.
Thank you to all the small businesses finding creative ways to stay afloat. We need you as much as you need us.
Thank you to everyone who kept Israel productive by working from home while juggling the responsibilities of parenting.
Thank you to all the parents and children who found ways to share laptops and mobile devices while keeping up with the demands of work and school. And thank you to the employers, schools, relatives and friends who made more equipment available as the situation dragged on.
Thank you to the people who deliver the groceries we ordered online more frequently this year.
Thank you to everybody who resisted the urge to stock up on massive quantities of toilet paper, diapers and alco-gel. (If you once hoarded but are now sharing your surplus, thank you.)
Thank you to all the soldiers and police officers protecting us, COVID or not.
Thank you to the men and women of the chevra kaddisha. The vital work of preparing bodies for burial — so many, and in such difficult circumstances — is a kindness that can never truly be repaid.
Thank you to my COVID-skeptic friends for only sharpening my resolve to wear a mask.
Thank you to a certain vaccine-doubter for forcing me to better articulate why I got inoculated.
Thank you to all the volunteer poll watchers and election monitors ensuring our no-end-in-sight cycle of elections go smoothly. You’re getting lots of practice. See you on March 23.
Tests and challenges bring out qualities in us that before only existed in potential. So when we say God is testing us, it’s to help us actualize strength, resilience, courage, kindness, creativity and other characteristics we don’t realize we have in us. (Thank you God.)
Some tests we succeed in, others we struggle with, and sometimes we fail. But God doesn’t give us tests we’re not capable of passing — including COVID.
Pesach Benson, a Baltimore native living in Jerusalem, is former deputy managing editor of HonestReporting.com and was a reporter for the Baltimore Jewish Times.