Immigrant life during lockdown – LBC’s American Rabbinic Student Matt Turchin

When the US issued their announcement calling all Americans to “return home” before the borders close in the wake of the pandemic, I had already made my decision. My home is in a lovely upstairs flat in East Finchley, London, and for at least the next 4 years and some months, it will remain somewhere in that vicinity. As the only American student in the rabbinic program at Leo Baeck College, I can say that my immigrant experience has been a positive one so far. Although I must admit to some difficulty in learning the language of this fine country, I can say that I am becoming more intelligible to my colleagues daily, and I am quite confident that in no time at all, my UK phone will understand my verbal requests. I suppose it’s almost a blessing having no local family to pine for, as I have become quite used to electronic interactions, but no device can replace banter with my colleagues, food with my friends, and unscripted time with my students. The new normal is certainly new, but it does not yet feel quite normal. Well, at least I can say that I am home.