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If you were like me as a young boy, you could not wait to dress-up and pretend to be someone or something else. My favorites were The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, various Bandits, and a Robot. Every outfit involved some form of mask or face covering. When I played with my train set, I wore my Engineer’s hat, glasses, and mustache as you can see in the photo of me with my younger brothers below. Then, the goal was to fantasize.
Today we wear masks for a different purpose; not to protect ourselves, but to protect others. While many masks and face coverings are uncomfortable and not too stylish, we need to focus on the protecting others aspect of the mask, because it is who we are as Jews.
My Bar Mitzvah Torah Parashah is Eikev and the last line of my reading says, “You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”. By wearing a mask or face covering we are protecting both those we know as well as the stranger.
Of course, a mask or face covering does not have to be dull, plain, or uncomfortable. We are fortunate to have had a neighbor who is a wonderful quilt maker and seamstress in addition to her business skills. She and her family moved to Austin, Texas several years ago, but sent us six custom masks she made. Debbie, Grace, and I are wearing three of them in the photo below.
Just as a mask can hide your identity, our current situation has “masked” some particularly important people. Those being our Man of the Year, Donald Pike, our Youths of the Year, Becky Jacobson and Anat Pissetzky, and our Kavod Award recipient, Raymond Rokni.
With the events planned for honoring these individuals being postponed and rescheduling uncertain, the Men’s Club will be hosting a ZOOM Recognition Night. Please watch the CBS Website and weekly Byte for details as they become available.