Finding Joy

In light of the current coronavirus predicament, birthday celebrations, graduations and other special occasions are being postponed or placed on hold—but many people are also getting creative.

Birthday Zoom chats have become a common way of families sharing celebrations while at home, but some have thought of interesting ways to celebrate and share music with others while at a safe distance. 

One member of the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue (MJCS), Linda Androlia, wrote to The Malibu Times how one talented student brought a smile to some neighbors’ faces, from the safety of her balcony in Santa Monica.

MJCS Rabbi Michael Schwartz’s eldest son, Yami Schwartz, attends Berklee College of Music and while schools are closed, he practices at home in his small closet. 

Androlia got an idea to have Yami plug his electric guitar on the top step of her condo and perform for their neighbors to enjoy. 

On Mother’s Day, Yami set up his speaker and a small concert was performed. 


“With social distancing, only a few people were invited to listen, in chairs spaced apart,  including Yami’s family,” Androlia wrote. “The concert was a success, with neighbors coming out on their balconies, stopping by with their animals, standing in the street. During the pandemic, one needs to be creative to bring joy and happiness to all.”

In Malibu, Colton Weiss and his fiancée Tara McCullough planned on celebrating their engagement along with Tara’s 30th birthday; however, due to the pandemic, plans to celebrate were put on hold.

“We couldn’t have a party in our home for many reasons: My husband was very sick last winter and has a weakened immune system. Even months before the stay at home order, he and I were pretty much confined to home and we’ve only been able to chat with them from a distance or by phone,” Debbie Weiss said in an email to The Malibu Times. “One day, as I was standing six feet away from Colton talking about Tara’s birthday, I looked out on my lawn and [had] the idea to rent an outdoor theater setup with a party on the grass. I only had two days to make it happen.”

Weiss rented a screen, projector and a popcorn machine and placed lawn chairs six feet apart. Spruzzo’s Restaurant & Bar delivered individual pizzas to the guests. As an added precaution, Tara invited only about 10 guests.

“This experience made me realize that instead of thinking about all we can’t do during this time, we need to learn to think outside the box, and what we can do differently is right before our eyes and full of great surprises,” Weiss wrote.

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