This modern plague has taught us so much about society and human nature, and also about the salvation brought by modern digital
There is no doubt that the walking exploits of Captain Tom Moore are inspirational and would always be such. But now, because of the internet sensation it caused, millions of pounds have been raised for the National Health Service (NHS).
In a previous age, his exploits would have been just as newsworthy, but probably only the local newspaper (remember those?) would have covered it.
Likewise, who would have thought Zoom, Skype and YouTube would have saved our sanity and communal cohesion at this time of lockdown. Congregations are reporting more followers of Shabbat services than ever set foot inside the synagogue doors.
But it’s not just Tom Moore from whom we can learn – there are so many everyday community heroes.
There are those on the frontline of this battle, the medical staff and all working in the NHS and care community. It is clear that so many have gone beyond the heroic in their potentially dangerous work and some, tragically, have given their lives for their devoted service.
They should be remembered down the generations just as we recall the few who helped us survive the Second World War.
There are also the millions of selfless acts done by millions of ordinary citizens – the shopping, the phone calls, the letters and emails of support, the deliveries made to those who are vulnerable and locked down in their home.
I am reminded of the comment of one of the founders of Liberal Judaism, Claude G Montefiore, who said: “It was not an Ibn Gabirol or a Maimonides who fulfilled the Jewish mission most truly… no, it was the many little obscure Jewish communities who kept alive the divineness of the Moral Law.”
The same is certainly true at this moment. What we can learn from Tom Moore and all those like him is that it’s the many small acts of kindness across the country and world that show the true and noble nature of humankind.
- Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein is the president of Liberal Judaism