Rabbi Lisa Gelber was extremely pleased with the news that the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 had been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She cannot wait for the moment when they start administering the shot, so she can get her 11-year old daughter vaccinated as well. However, she is also familiar with the fact that her daughter is quite afraid of needles. Therefore, to help her out, she said down with Zahara and they composed a kavanah together. This is the Hebrew word for intention.
The aim was to reflect on the gratitude and the gravity of this milestone and also to take into account the feelings the little girl has about the vaccine dose. The prayer is about thanking all the people who made it possible for the vaccine to be developed and then approved it for the kids. The full prayer was shared by Gelber on Facebook and since then, it has been shared by her friends and family in anticipation of the availability of the vaccine for children in Israel as early as the end of this week. Gelber is Congregation Habonim’s spiritual leader, which is based in New York City.
Speaking to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Gelber said that this almost felt miraculous and it was undoubtedly a gift that the vaccine would now be available for kids as well. When vaccinations for adults had begun in the United States in December of 2020, there had been a lot of discussions about which Jewish prayer or blessing should be recited when receiving the shot. A number of new Jewish prayers had been created particularly for this purpose and most of them expressed the gratitude of the people for the vaccine development. Now, in the next few weeks, kids between the ages of 5 and 11 will also become eligible for receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
This would potentially put an end to the parents’ worry about the risk of letting their kids engaging in different activities and even something as basic as sending them to school or even to the playground. A new set of Jewish prayers will now mark the moment and at least, as in the case of Gelber and her daughter, created by a child. According to Gelber, her daughter wanted to note her fear of needle and also thank the people who had developed the vaccine. Gelber said that she had been moved by her daughter’s gratitude that would also help her in taking her mind off the pain.
Several months ago, a kavanah had been written by Rabbi Karen Reiss Medwed for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine shot when a nurse in their community talked about their experience of getting vaccinated. More recently, she had been inspired by the sermon of her rabbi for writing a new kavanah particularly for parents who will now get their children vaccinated. This prayer expresses gratitude to God as well as those who have developed the vaccine and it expresses the relief that a number of parents have felt at the chance of finally being able to vaccinate their children.a