OPINION: Just a phone call at this time can make all the difference
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OPINION: Just a phone call at this time can make all the difference

As the community continues to adapt to virus lockdown, Rabbi Ariel Abel reflects on the need for people to keep in touch using technology

Rabbi Ariel Abel

Ariel Abel is rabbi of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation

Stock photo of a telephone
Stock photo of a telephone

Over the last few weeks, I have been running a very successful Zoom get-together on Thursday nights for people to receive encouragement, to commune with each other and to receive, if nothing else, a ‘virtual hug’ at this time.

For those who don’t have technology – and there are many in that situation – just a phone call can make all the difference, particularly for mourners.

Calling them to see how they are or say a prayer is all the more poignant, because of the fact you can’t actually be there in person.

I’ve seen the power of this first-hand: my uncle has coronavirus and is in hospital in France, though thankfully he seems to be turning a corner now. I called him and he immediately perked up. After our call, I came off and burst into tears, because I realised that the power of a phone call is just so great. In the situation we’re all in at the moment, I would say it’s worth at least as much as a shiva house call.

The other way I have been affected by this situation is that my wife and children, who were visiting family in Columbia, have had the borders shut on them and they cannot return home.

If nothing else, I am extremely conscious and sensitive to those who are alone right now – and have always been in this position – so connecting with them is more important than it ever was.

  • Rabbi Ariel Abel leads Liverpool’s Old Hebrew Congregation

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