In a year quite unlike any other, it is hardly surprising that the High Holy Days have gotten off to an unparalleled start.
All the usual trappings, such as packed synagogues on Rosh Hashanah or large gatherings of family and friends, were markedly and painfully absent.
And even as socializing has devolved into social distancing, and politics into pugilism, Israelis now face the prospect of an increasingly restrictive lockdown in advance of Sukkot.
This is not how it was supposed to be.
Or is it?
If the coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it is that the assumptions we make, whether consciously or not, shape much of how we experience the world.
In a stunning reversal of policy last week, Israel yielded to American pressure and formally recognized the Serbian province of Kosovo as an independent state.
While much of the media greeted this development with excitement and even a bit of glee, we shouldn't allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that it was a wise decision. It most assuredly was not. By recognizing Kosovo, Israel has committed a major Balkan blunder, one that is not only an affront to history, justice and common sense, but which also undermines the Jewish state's own national interests and is likely to boomerang against us.
It has been two weeks since the historic announcement that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to normalize ties between the two nations, thereby setting the stage for redrawing the strategic contours of the entire Middle East.
Not surprisingly, squeals of protest and outrage quickly emanated from the tyrants in Tehran and the rogue regime in Ramallah, with all the usual tired and hate-filled rhetoric against coming to terms with the Zionist entity.
That alone should be reason enough for Israelis to celebrate, if only because it exemplifies the potential fruits of the possible diplomatic realignment between the Jewish state and other Arab countries that may be in the offing.
Amid all the recent political turmoil, with the possibility of yet another national election looming on the horizon, a remarkable statement made earlier this week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went largely unnoticed.
In a Channel 20 television interview on Monday, the premier was asked about the prospects of extending Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, a process that was supposed to have commenced back on July 1.
"The application of sovereignty," Netanyahu replied, "will be done with American agreement, otherwise I would have already done it a while ago."
Fifteen years ago today on the Hebrew calendar, on the 10th day of Av, Israel committed one of the gravest self-inflicted catastrophes since the founding of the state in 1948.
Hiding behind the harmless-sounding euphemism of "disengagement," the government of prime minister Ariel Sharon revved up the bulldozers and utterly destroyed 21 thriving Jewish communities in Gaza while forcibly expelling over 8,000 Jews from their homes, their livelihoods and their land.
In addition, four Jewish communities in northern Samaria were also demolished.