My very first apartment in New York City—in fact, my very first apartment, period—didn’t have a window in the bathroom.

And so, it always became steamy and stuffy, with an inadequate ventilation system to move the air around.

Granted, it was a nice studio on a nice street in a nice neighborhood in one of the most popular cities in the world, so who was I to complain?

In my current premises, I have a big window in my master bath, one of many windows throughout the house (though not in the guest bathroom, come to think of it).

And for that, I am grateful.

My husband’s first apartment in New York was spacious, but old. He lived with four others in a place meant for three; his “room” was an extended closet off the living area. It probably wasn’t legal—the whole building has since been gutted and redone—though it did have a large picture window to a busy street.

But every time an iron was plugged in, the power crashed and the landlords had to be called. That was back in the days when people actually ironed clothes before going to work or out somewhere special.

In my current home, there are so many outlets that I had to purchase dozens of those baby-safety plugs just to cover them all. There are even places to plug in cords outside in the front and back.

And for that, I am grateful.

I thought of both as I opened the bathroom window wide this morning—needing some semblance of the outdoors—and as all six of us have found lots of little nooks to use our respective devices for work and school.

Some things you would never think twice about have come into play on a daily basis. Other things that seemed so important just weeks ago don’t seem to matter much.

My family eats together, reads together, watches news together, shares the day’s status together, laughs and plays music together (live tunes; they all play violin and guitar). We have had competitive games of Monopoly, Clue, Life (the original version, of course), Perfection, Rack-O (thanks, Josh) and Connect Four.

And for that, I am grateful.

And today, as modern-day Israel celebrates its 72nd birthday, I find the quiet celebrations stately and relevant (like a freshly pressed shirt). I find them quaint and simple, as life was there not so long ago. (During my very first visit in 1985, you couldn’t even find a can of Diet Coke!)

The country where I have family and friends, where I have spent much time physically and mentally because of work, becomes a year older and always so much wiser. The startup nation responsible for some of the world’s most cutting-edge technology and medical research gets more innovative and resourceful, using such know-how to combat the coronavirus far more efficiently than most.

I hope one day that everyone will notice. Like a gust of wind. Or a dose of electricity.

And for that, I will be grateful.

Carin M. Smilk is the managing editor of JNS.

This Reporter’s Notebook will appear starting on March 16 until the end of the month (or when schools reopen).

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.