The Met Opera house by the Forward

Daily distraction: How to stay engaged — and entertained — through a time of isolation

Listen: If Arnold Schwarzenegger can absolutely revel in being quarantined with his miniature horse and miniature donkey (yes, really!), you can find some comfort and joy in isolation, too.

Starting today, we’ll be sharing recommendations each day on how to stay engaged with the world in these times of quarantine and isolation. They’ll range from ways to stream theater in your living room to options for taking at-home dance classes; from free ways to start learning a new language to instructions on how to virtually take your home-bound children to the zoo. We’ll also have recommendations on what to read and watch; please write in to share your own.

Yes, these are dire times. But life must still be lived. Here are three ideas for how to make the most of today.

1) Stream the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Carmen”

Like every cultural institution in New York City, the Met Opera is currently closed. But it’s making parts of its broad library of “Live in HD” transmissions, which are streamed across the globe, available for free. Each night the opera remains closed, the company will stream one opera at 7:30 pm EST; the chosen opera will remain available on the Met Opera’s homepage for a subsequent 20 hours.

Tonight’s pick: The company’s new production of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” conducted by the Met’s new music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. It’s a sweeping tale of love and betrayal in Spain, with music that will stay in your head in the best way. Trust me — at my bat mitzvah, my dad and I sang “Adon Alom” to the tune of “The Toreador Song,” one of the opera’s flagship arias.

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2) Visit Jewish museums across the globe

Thanks to Google Arts and Culture, you can take a digital tour of scads of museums across the world. Among them are several Jewish museums you might not otherwise encounter: Try the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia, where you can page through an exhibit devoted to the photographer Fred Schiffer; the Jewish Museum, London, which has uploaded images of much of its permanent collection; or the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, which is featuring a 2013 exhibit about Jews in theater. See something that particularly interests you? Let us know!

3) Get dancing

We know staying active is important for your health, mentally and physically. But social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while taking care of your body. One way to make it more fun? Try taking an online dance class. Let this introduction to Gaga, a dance language developed by the Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, inspire you, or try this Israeli folk dance demo — don’t worry, it’s solo. Or try something a bit more formal: Beginning today, CLI Studios, which offers classes ranging from ballet to jazz to hip-hop, will be live-streaming classes daily at 6 p.m. EST.


Talya Zax

Talya Zax

Talya Zax is the Forward’s innovation editor. Contact her at or on Twitter, @TalyaZax.

Isolation entertainment: opera, online Jewish museums

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Daily distraction: How to stay engaged — and entertained — through a time of isolation

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