Teens fill pandemic time with reading, finding new hobbies

AVITAL VOROBEYCHIK, EIGHTH GRADE, EPSTEIN HEBREW ACADEMY

Yehudah Greenberg

Although we can now see a light at the end of this pandemic, we’re not quite done with COVID-19. We still must remain cautious when looking for activities that can make these (hopefully) final months of the speed by.

One activity that many teens have adopted is reading. Though reading has been a popular hobby for centuries, this yearlong pandemic has given students even more time to spend with  novels.

“You can always find books that you will be interested in. Whether it be fiction or nonfiction, reading is always good,” said Yehudah Greenberg, a seventh-grader at Epstein Hebrew Academy and a congregant of Young Israel.

In addition to being a good way to consume time, reading also is helpful in building skills that will be useful later in life.

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“Reading is definitely a great way for kids to fill their time, because reading improves your brain,” said Ella Wertman, an eighth-grader at Epstein and a congregant of Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha. “It’s not only a time passer, it helps with your vocabulary and spelling.”

Francesca Grad

Reading has several other benefits, including getting to know interesting characters that you otherwise would not meet. 

“It’s fun to see what other people have written and their opinions on different things,” said Francesca “Franky” Grad, a sixth-grader at Epstein Hebrew Academy who is a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona.

Another staple of the quarantine has been socialization, but not in the traditional sense. 

“I FaceTime people and call people, and sometimes I’ll play games in my basement on my Switch,” said Greenberg, referring to the gaming system.

Video games have also been popular, but they boomed during the pandemic. Video games present a much-needed connection with friends while allowing teens to stay in their own homes.

“I have been playing Minecraft for many years with my brothers, and I like to play it to this day,” said Avishai Fendelman, a fifth-grader at Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School and congregant of Young Israel.

Ella Wertman

This increased reliance on electronics poses a challenge for those who keep Shabbat, however, forcing them to get creative and find other ways to pass the time.

“[On Shabbat], a lot of the time I go outside to hang out with friends and walk around,” Greenberg said. “Sometimes we go to parks and hang out there.”

Teens have also found and developed new hobbies that they would’ve never considered if it weren’t for a pandemic.

“I got pretty good at painting my nails because I couldn’t go to the nail salon,” said Wertman. “I [also] had never played tennis before, but my mom and I started playing it [on a trip] and it was so fun.” 

During COVID, teens have had to learn to adapt and work with what they have in their home. COVID has challenged us all to be creative in finding new hobbies to get through such a tough year. Even once COVID is a thing of the past, hobbies developed in this past year will be with us forever.

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