Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky knows more than most people about spending time in isolation. His imprisonment in the former Soviet Union for his efforts to help release Soviet Jews lasted nine years, with half of that in solitary confinement, and 405 days in a brutal punishment cell. So with Israeli citizens stuck at home under lockdown as part of a government effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Sharansky offers five tips of how to get through a quarantine, in a light-hearted video produced by The Jewish Agency.
First, he says, remember that you are part of a huge global battle. "We are at war with a very dangerous, though invisible, enemy, and whether we will succeed in the battle depends also on your behavior.”
Second, don't assume that this will all be over within the next few days or weeks. Develop plans that are within your control. You can decide to read a book, or learn a new language. "And then, it depends on you whether you will succeed or not."
Tip number three is to never give up on your sense of humor. Sharansky often tells of how he used to enjoy telling his Soviet guards anti-Russian jokes.
Don't give up on your hobbies is tip number four. Sharansky is a chess protege, and in his prison cell, he was able to play "thousands and thousands of games, in my head, with myself."
Finally, feel your connection. "Remember that you are not alone. We Jews, for thousands of years... we always had this feeling that we are part of a big people, a great people, with our mutual past and our mutual future and our mutual mission. Think about it."
Sharansky concluded the video with prayer for all the sick people and the proclamation "Am Yisrael Chai (The nation of Israel lives)."