Marcy Wimbish: From NYC to CBB

I can remember back in late March when Covid was breaking into the United States and we went into lockdown.  My first thoughts went to my mother.  My mother is 80 years old and lives in an apartment in New York City.  At that time, it was still cold in NY.  I remember feeling so lucky to be in Santa Barbara and so concerned about what it would feel like to be quarantined in a New York City apartment, with no opportunity to escape safely.  Adding to my concerns was the fact that my mother belongs to an orthodox synagogue in NYC which is not able to provide online religious experiences.

At the same time, I began to hear about all of the online offerings through CBB and inquired to see if it would be ok for my mother to participate.  Who would’ve thought that this experience would lead to a regular schedule of lunch n learns and a Melton class. In addition, having first heard of Mussar through a lecture from NYC Temple Emanuel, my mother was also excited to find Nina Gelman’s Mussar class at CBB. There were so many interesting and committed participants that she has stayed with the class and also loves meeting with her New Mexico Mussar buddy. My mother’s life of isolation had suddenly become very busy and fulfilling.

My mother is now a regular attendant in CBB’s Friday night services, and I have gone back to my teen years of being accountable for attendance on Friday nights.  If I am not in attendance, I get a text “Are you in Services?”  I am happy to receive these texts, because it is a reminder of an opportunity for warmth and prayer in a community of wonderful people.  In addition, it is an incredible opportunity to participate in Friday night services with my mother from across the country.  Each week when services are over, my mother calls and we speak about the service, the sermon, the cantoral duets, etc.  She is truly part of the CBB religious experience.

My mother loves to learn and especially loves to learn about subjects related to Judaism, Israel, and other current events.  She began attending the lunch n learns regularly and was so impressed that soon, not only was she attending, but many of her friends, also isolated in NYC, were also attending.  They were all welcomed and intrigued by our community.  My mother soon knew people in our community that I didn’t know, spoke warmly about people that I did know and began to feel engaged in the comfort of the CBB community. 

Knowing that my mother had these regular learning opportunities gave me faith that she would end up finding ways to occupy herself during this difficult time.  Now, she regularly FaceTimes with her various grandchildren, plays in regular online bridge tournaments, and even plays a weekly online game of bridge with my brother, my husband and me.  Although she has found a few other ways to occupy her time, she still makes CBB programming a priority.  

It is easy to get bogged down in the negatives associated with this pandemic, and believe me, I often do.  However, when I put on my rose colored glasses, I see Friday night services with my NY family, learning where there wasn’t time for learning, and opportunities for our community to come together in a different way than we knew possible.  I could not be more proud of CBB.

Marcy Wimbish moved to Santa Barbara 12 years ago with her husband and two children (Tally 21, Jimmy 19).  They have been active at CBB since then, and Marcy is now serving on the Board of Trustees as the VP of Development.