LBC life in lockdown – Professor Melissa Raphael

One of Melissa’s projects during the current lockdown has been writing an invited essay for a book edited by Professor Aaron Rosen that will be called Home Alone Together: Locating Creativity and Inspiration in Isolation.

Rosen has asked his contributors, drawn from a wide range of professions and academic disciplines, to reflect on how this time, while being traumatic for so many, has also challenged them intellectually, creatively, and spiritually, generating new insights, whether about their field or themselves.

Melissa’s essay is called ‘A Jewish Reflection on Self-Isolation in a Digital Age’. It suggests that technologies like Skype and Zoom may not be quite as indispensable in a contemporary pandemic as one might suppose. While Jewish tradition may appear to offer scant resources for sustaining relationships in social isolation, it does in fact offer narratives and practices which suggest that a spiritually intimate encounter with an absent other may be better achieved with just the the voice – the call – than with the conjuring of substitutive digital images of their face.

The book, published by Broadleaf, will be available as an e-book in early May.