Posted on July 1, 2021
I’ve never been good with shots or medical procedures. I get anxious just thinking about it. During previous flu seasons, I would psyche myself up to get an injection. More often than not, I didn’t go through with it. When it did happen, it was because I was already at my internist when she would casually ask if I had the flu shot. When I replied, “no,” she would ask if I would like it now. Just seconds after a weak nod of my head, her nurse was in with the needle. Ouch! It was over quick. I have to tell you that getting my Pfizer shot was very different. Back in early March, it wasn’t so easy to procure the vaccine. Like many of you, I scrolled through multiple sites, hour by hour, until I nailed two appointments at Cal State Pomona. I was so excited that I drove up there extra early. As I waited in line, getting closer the medical professionals, I got teary with emotion that finally, finally I would be vaccinated. I didn’t care about the needle, sore arm, or the possibility of running a fever for a day or two. I was finally free.
I know many of you felt the same way. For me, after being fully vaccinated, I no longer had to fear that I may accidentally infect a senior or someone with a compromised immune system. There’s a beautiful teaching in the Talmud that states, “Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh, all of Israel are responsible for each other.” (Shevuot 39a) I felt so good to do my part to lessen the transmission of the virus and to finally be able to hug others and just relax. I know there are some fears out there about the vaccine and there’s a lot of misinformation on social media sites. However, to have 94-95% protection against getting or transmitting Covid 19 and an even higher percentage of not being hospitalized or dying from it, are incredible odds. I wish I had 95% protection against getting into a car accident or contracting cancer. How grateful I am to our medical researchers who have been able to create such an effective vaccine that has decreased the virus in our communities. I can only hope more and more people choose to be vaccinated.
In the meantime, it is so good to see you in the synagogue. The psalmist says, “Hinei ma tov umanayim, how good it is when brothers/sisters come together.” It really is wonderful to see people laugh together, eat and drink, pray and study in person. I am appreciative of the capability of Zoom, Live Streaming, and Facebook live. These technological ways of connecting will continue to evolve and help us live Jewishly. I will certainly continue to utilize these tools for meeting and to reach people when they can’t come to synagogue. However, being in person, is just irreplaceable. We can talk, debate, and engage with one another easily and even, gulp, sing together, providing all are fully vaccinated, of course.
While there are fears of Covid 19 to be sure, we are undoubtedly in a much better place than we were a year ago. We can strengthen one another as we learn, study, and celebrate the beauty of our tradition. May you and your family be healthy and have many wonderful experiences this summer. And when or if there is a need for a booster, I promise you, I will not be a baby about it. I will readily extend my arm for the sake of life for you, me, and our community. L’chaim.