Chaya Passow, in her humility, says she is not a writer. I must disagree, as apparently many other readers have, as well. Just as a visual artist opens our eyes to beauty and pattern in the world that surrounds us, Chaya Passow creates a frame around our seemingly incomprehensible present era. For those of us who are still living inside this strange plague of the year 2020, and for those who will one day look back in wonder, her words give form to the formless, and endow mystery with meaning.
Many have turned to me asking, “Why the plague!” In my first zoom lecture after Pesach, I spoke about “Why Corona?”. Now, I have an insightful volume which I can recommend to my students. Your collection of letters, which you wrote regarding the reality of “Planet Corona,” is a poetic and literary gem. You have given us a worthwhile present to comprehend our present situation. With all the sadness in the current reality, you stress our accomplishments – food, clothing, shelter and survival during this period. You enhance your perspective with your many citations from Rabbinic and general literature. You utilize Jewish History to place the present crisis within its context. I highly recommend your composition to all who seek guidance and solace. May the Almighty soon terminate “Planet corona” and may we happily return to terra firma. Chizki V’ Imtzi,
For better or for worse, our world changed dramatically during 2020. A gruesome pandemic, world-wide lockdowns, the separation of families, the heartbreaking phenomenon of people dying alone without loved ones to support them. Deviation from “normal” became the “new normal.” Even those of us who were at little risk had a deep sense of unease, confusion, and uncertainty. Like most of us, Chaya Passow was one of those people. But she took her fears, anxieties, insecurities, and confusion and channeled them into something constructive and liberating. Over the first seven months, she compiled 70 letters from Planet Corona, a wild, wacky and sometimes ominous and scary place bearing only some resemblance to our familiar planet Earth. These letters are not Pollyannish or saccharine. Chaya Passow is very open and honest about the very real fears and frustrations that she, and we, experienced but she brings humor, hope, and optimism to a difficult situation––reminding us all that a change in attitude can change the realities. Shining with precious lessons of emunah––faith in a loving God who will sustain us and nurture us even when we are helpless and vulnerable, and faith in ourselves––Chaya Passow’s optimism and resilience as expressed in these letters are truly contagious. And this type of contagion can only be positive!
I can't put your precious book down! But I really want to read more slowly and internalize each letter as it so deserves! I received 5 copies yesterday and just ordered 16 more! Once I finish, I plan to write to Amazon. And thanks for the gift you have given through your warmth, your wisdom, your positivity, your sensitivity and for SHARING!