Lockdown in South Africa
remains on level 1
despite a new variant.

What a relief!

I think it marks a turning point
in our COVID response narrative,
in our COVID Vaccination Conversations

suggests an assumption
that we know what to do…

After all,
haven’t we been practicing it
for eighteen months now?

Prefer outdoor gatherings
over indoor ones;

wear a mask;
(A clothe one is preferable –
leave the disposable ones
for front-line workers…

I have been remiss on this one;
time to go back to it?)


Keep a safe distance of at least 2m.
(I have recently upped it to 3m.

Yet since having heard that transmissibility
is now likely through
speech and laughter
I have opted to stay out of reach…)

The biggie,
is vaccination.


What a relief
that I am fully vaccinated
with Pfizer’s product –

It took me a month
to build up the courage to take the first shot
and eleven weeks
to get the second one.

On my own I would not have done it…

Other perspectives
from family,
and social media
I willed myself to listen to.

Found in the end
that I became deeply anxious
just stepping outside my door
in case I became a source of infection for others

and in equal measure
that I might get infected
by someone else…

I remain firmly pro-choice
for I have not forgotten the Holocaust;
I remain determinedly pro-choice
for bodily integrity is the basis of personal freedom.

Especially, in an age of growing totalitarianisms?

I am relieved though
that I am not having to face
the possibility of mandatary vaccination.

Immensely grateful I am too
that ultimately
I accepted responsibility
for my revised choice

for I recognized
that part of my resistance
was rooted in traumatic memories
from another time
another life…

An act of faith
An act of trust
being vaccinated called for –

and besides
the thought of not being able to travel
became a daunting possibility…

Yet not everyone has done well on the vaccines.
Not everyone has survived.

Oddly enough,
having the latter acknowledged
in an issue of the Jewish Report
was perhaps the final bit of information
I needed before going ahead;

it wasn’t
that the number of deaths was miniscule
when seen from a global perspective
that gave me courage;

It wasn’t knowing
that many foreign countries don’t aspirate vaccines
possibly leading to preventable complications
whereas South Africa does;

it was having truths acknowledged
that was important –
for every life is significant.

Every life has an intrinsic worth.

At that point
I felt able to go ahead.
It’s the lies I could not abide;
the minimizing of risks to some individuals…

Making informed decisions
remains important to me
for I am committed to Choosing Life

and for some people
this means getting vaccinated
while for others
it means refusing to do so –

while the world’s majority have no choice
one way or the other
for they simply lack access…

What I noticed while waiting
for fifteen minutes
under the supervision of a Hatzolah volunteer,

was that the tension between the two extremes
of being vaccinated for the sake of the majority
and being fearful for one’s own possible adverse reaction
was ‘embedded’ in its care for those who were there:


of the fearful
the anxious…

My own attention to detail
I am deepening
even in things that outwardly seem
irrelevant –

petty even…

Except that it’s part of refining
my self-knowledge
and respecting my Jewish ancestry.

the first night of Chanukah,
I did my best to keep to Sephardic tradition
even though it was not my conscious intention.

As the evening drew nearer
I remembered a video I had watched earlier in the week
in which I learnt that Sephardim recite Psalm 30
as part of the ritual;

Doing a quick Google search
I discovered that Sephardim use oil,
preferably olive oil,
to light their menorah –

Grateful I was
to an Ashkenazi guide
who gifted me with a menorah
and suggested I use the purest olive oil to light it…

Looking up my Artscroll Sephardi siddur
I saw that the explanations
and texts were all there:

In Sephardic tradition
choosing to look at the lights
is accompanied by prayers of thanks
rather than Chabad’s candle gazing…

I was tempted to combine the two traditions
yet restrained myself
for it is my own branch of Orthodox Judaism
I am to practice in my home…

Am I free?

I feel freer today than I felt yesterday
despite the occasional doubt –
for these days I remember
that it’s what I asked for:

I have made it my mission
to be of value to Rachel Imeinu.

Her Jewish-born daughters
are clear about who they are
within the Jewish world;

much easier it is for them
to navigate
from minhag to minhag
without forgetting their own
family customs

whereas this daughter of Rachel Imeinu
is a revert
to Spanish-Portuguese Sephardic tradition
while leaning on the Moroccan customs
for now.

My task was to take up
from where my foremother
left off –

which is why I remain a revert –
it’s all part of healing
my lineages

through Benjaminite gifts

for the sake of halachic
eco-consciousness spreading
as the spiritual tool
to grow a sustainable local economy.

What a relief
that I am fully vaccinated
by Pfizer –

that I am not having to face
the possibility of mandatary vaccination

for the consequences
are not for the faint-hearted:

no travelling beyond your borders;
no employment offers;
no residential study possible;

you’ll have to pay the bill
if COVID you contract
and end up in hospital;

a prisoner
under permanent
if in Europe
you live…

Unless you can get yourself
out of the city
into a rural niche

with a secure permaculture site

where you harvest your own water
where you produce your own energy
where you grow your own food

and connect to your source
which is connected
to the Source
of sources…

Also cautiously reassuring
is that some scientists hope that
is putting all its energy
into spreading itself
as fast
and as widely as possible

lessening its toxicity –
leaving little energy to weaken
its victims

increasing the possibility
of South Africa reaching herd immunity…

wouldn’t that be a heavenly gift?

We mightn’t be allowed to travel to the north
yet their citizens
might just clamber
to visit sunny South Africa

where all grown up
in relation to taking responsibility
for our health
has risen enormously –

mainly due to poverty

and growing respect
and pride
in traditional immune-boosting medicines?

As a complimentary practice for some,
as the only practice for others,
and who knows who is right or wrong?

As for myself
I am grateful that I am vaccinated
and feel more at ease within myself
for having done so.

My prayer this Chanukah
is that medicine be de-politized
and that doctors be free
to make informed professional decisions
that serve their particular patients.

And that
complimentary medicine,
(inclusive of nutritious food, herbs, spices, bark, roots)
becomes best practice.

Shared for the sake of Truth seeking.
Shared for authentic conversations having.
Shared for blessing.

(©Archaela 5782 Kislev 26 & 30)

Recommendation for individuals by WHO:

Given the disparity in access to vaccines across the world, WHO recommends the following for individuals:

“The most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others; wear a well-fitting mask; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue; and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”


Inspired by:

Jonathan Sacks: Future Tense: A Vision for Jews and Judaism in the Global Culture



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.