Accession consists of photographs of the Dr. Alexis and Rabbi David Jerome Lerner family during COVID-19 pandemic in the Humewood-Cedarvale area of Toronto. Photographs include a pandemic Upsheren of daughter Magda Rose Lerner, images depicting the co-parenting arrangement of the Lerner and the Aviva Bellman-Steve Bercovici families and their children, Magda Rose and Levi Lerner and Eitan Bercovici, as well as a Zoom toast given by Rabbi David Lerner in celebration of the successful PhD defense by Alexis Lerner.
The donor submitted the following descriptions of the photographs:
"Our family observes the tradition of not cutting a child's hair until after their third birthday. We do this to coincide with the three-year period when fruit may not be picked from new trees, the age when a child begins their Jewish educational journey, and the superstition that long hair would protect our sons from the evil eye (and the statistical reasoning that, in order to protect sons from the evil eye by letting their hair grow long, we must also insist that our daughters grow their hair long). Our daughter turned three in June 2020, three months after we began lockdown. We did a small ritual Upsheren at home in June—my husband, Rabbi David Jerome Lerner, said a few words before he and I cut a lock of curls. Once lockdowns became slightly lessened in July, I brought Magda Rose to get her first haircut (in) a month. This felt safe as the salon was extremely strict and required prior appointments, good health, social distancing, and facemasks. It was so memorable for all of us, especially for my daughter, who loved having her scalp massaged (don't we all?). A moment of semi-normalcy and Jewish ritual amidst the COVID-19 pandemic."
"With groups for new parents cancelled and increased isolation by design, the Lerner family and Bellman-Bercovici family blended together to raise our babies, Levi and Eitan, with as much normalcy as quarantine could allow. The families were close since they met in Detroit at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue almost a decade earlier. We spent our summer days in the backyard and on the porch, celebrating birthdays and milestones—eating solids, babbling, sitting up, crawling, and walking. One of my favourite memories was buying an inflatable swimming pool; the stores were all sold out and we had to meet someone in a parking in York to buy it out of their trunk. As of October 2020, the boys have spent the majority of their lives under COVID-19-related restrictions."
"We've become accustomed to conducting the milestones of our lives digitally and remotely. Birthdays, funerals, and weddings during COVID-19 shifted online as businesses closed and public health concerns became tantamount. With schools closed and her children homebound, Dr. Alexis Lerner conducted her PhD dissertation defense from a hotel room. In this video, her husband, Rabbi David Jerome Lerner (previously of Beth Tzedec Synagogue in Toronto), congratulates his wife on this professional milestone from his pulpit in New York. Alexis is a scholar of comparative authoritarianism and Russian politics, so the two toast with straight vodka (hers from the mini-bar)."