While much of the nation has been guided by Dr. Anthony Fauci during the coronavirus pandemic, the SAR community is honored and grateful to be guided by Dr. Josh Rocker -- our very own “Rock” Star. Josh is the chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Cohen Children's Medical Center, part of Northwell Health. Since March, he has been co-chair of SAR’s Medical Advisory Team and counsel to our administrators and Board of Trustees. Most recognize Josh from the SAR Town Halls, frequently attracting more than 1,000 screens and as many as 2,000 viewers. He presented crucial facts straight from the frontlines working with Covid patients, best practices for safe behavior, and fielded audience questions. His calming demeanor is a constant source of comfort. Josh was featured on twelve SAR Town Halls from March through September, each dedicated to a particular cohort -- the general community, parents, students, alumni, or grandparents. Josh is readily available to SAR’s nurses with quick guidance on a broad array of day-to-day questions including protocol, testing and travel. He was a member of SAR’s Coronavirus Hotline Team, and contributed to both the Academy and High School’s comprehensive reopening guides for Fall 2020. Josh and his wife Abby live in Riverdale, and are parents to Ta’ir (AC ‘14, HS ‘18), Matar (AC ‘17, HS ‘21), Yahav (HS ‘24) and Ayna (attended SAR K-Grade 2), and involved members of CSAIR. On the rare occasion Josh pauses from work, he can be found at home tending to the chickens he and his family raise. A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM JOSH: As a pediatrician, one thing I think needs to be mentioned is the mental health impact of the COVID reality. Addiction, depression, anxiety and suicidality are all increasing nationally and by very significant and real numbers. We are all social creatures and this new environment can and is having devastating ramifications on people's mental health. We need to be good to each other, full of forgiveness, and understanding and loving. We will get through this crazy time I have no doubt. We need to create a space in the school and at home so that we will remember the caring and goodness during this time and not just the pain and isolation. Parents can't carry this all alone. They need to also find their mindful moments, and reach out as well when they need help. As a community, that is going to be our next major task and it will be harder creating those social bonds in a social distanced milieu. But we will! FOUR QUESTIONS FOR THE HONOREE Q. What is the one insight you have gained from this year that you would like to share? A. The power of collaboration and caring. SAR was hit early. We were the first school to close due to SARS-CoV-2 in America. People were anxious, nervous and uncertain. It was early on and none of us knew what to expect exactly. Within short order, the school set up a hotline staffed by medical and non-medical folks alike- all offering their time to help the community get through the crisis. It was tremendously effective. Information was disseminated, individuals were given guidance and during a very tumultuous time some sanity and clarity was established. Q. What is one favorite or positive SAR-related memory from these past few months? A. There is not one, but many. Having personal conversations with individuals about their individual/unique situations and helping them navigate certain decisions that ultimately made them feel safer and more reassured. Q. SAR’s theme of the year is 'achrayut.' In your opinion, what is our responsibility to one another during complicated times? A. As a doctor working in NYC during March/April it was simply scary. None of my colleagues or I had seen anything like it before. The hospitals were overcrowded and nearly everyone was extremely sick. I am a pediatrician so we were barely seeing patients, but many of us were recruited to see adults where they were swamped with patients. The need to flatten the curve was a real and critical issue early on. I remember in one of the town halls telling people what they do matters and how being careful and social distancing and wearing masks was so essential. At the same time I recall looking out the window and seeing a beautifully sunny day with seemingly nothing wrong in the world. For those not in the hospitals it must have been surreal. Such horrible news and everything looking seemingly so fine outside. To me that is where the ultimate ask and the real responsibility comes in. To transform your life and take on burdensome and annoying behaviors for the invisible danger to help someone else is amazing responsibility. Trust and truth has been somewhat eroded recently- so when people listen and trust and act for the benefit of others- that is beautiful. Q. Who is/are your heroes? Who do you look up to and why? A. I was extremely impressed with SAR and the greater Riverdale community during this time. They worked quickly, decisively, and definitively with limited data. They guided and girded a community. From the leadership who came together and communicated a unified message, to the multiple humble volunteers answering phone calls at all hours of the day and setting up food and care supply deliveries to those in need. The community demonstrated resilience and caring for one another. It was the model of what a community should be.