When COVID-19 shut the world down, we suddenly found
ourselves guinea pigs in a giant experiment of forced isolation. A second
pandemic soon followed: loneliness.
We know that humans are social creatures, but being alone
for too long can literally make one sick. Research has shown a correlation
between loneliness and negative health outcomes. A few minutes of laughing with
a friend produces “happy hormones,” like serotonin and dopamine, and boosts immunity.
Scientists have also observed that people with greater social networks live
longer and recover from illness faster.
It is no coincidence that in every culture around the world
there are special days intended to bring people together and foster a sense of
community. As we have learned this year, we need
those special days surrounded by friends in the same way that we need our daily
We know kids need connection as much as adults do. As a
reminder, introduce them to Clarence the raccoon, who loves Shabbat, in Clarence’s
Topsy-Turvy Shabbat. As he gathers the ingredients to make challah,
Clarence makes new friends through a series of silly mix-ups. It all turns out well
in the end because his friends make preparing—and enjoying—the Shabbat meal so
much more fun.
Clarence’s Topsy-Turvy Shabbat is a sweet reminder that friends
can be one of the most important ingredients in a meal, especially on Shabbat.