June 18, 2024
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June 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

My Shehechiyanu Weekend

Being of a certain age, my wife, Ellen, and I are fortunate to have already received our COVID-19 vaccines and waited for full effectiveness, and we are now among the “fully vaccinated” (thank you, Holy Name Medical Center, Township of Teaneck and the Rodda Center). That, coupled with new CDC guidance on permitted interactions for the fully vaccinated, gave rise to a series of activities last weekend in which I had not engaged in a year, and for which I recited Shehechiyanu several times. Now, I publicly give thanks to Hashem.

Back to shul: Based on doctor’s orders, I had not set foot in Beth Aaron since around Purim last year. Like an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, it looked great but a little different* (socially distant seating, mandatory masks, up and down staircases, a glass partition on the bima and an efficient, shlep-free davening [can we keep that last one after things return to normal?]). Shehechiyanu…

Walking to shul with Ellen: One of our simple pre-COVID pleasures was walking hand in hand to shul together Shabbat morning. Shehechiyanu…

Davening with a minyan: Shehechiyanu…

Getting an aliyah: Shehechiyanu…

Shabbat lunch with more than one “podding” guest: Shehechiyanu…

And, saving the best for last…

Hugging our grandkids: Although we had Zoomed all year and had many socially distant, masked visits with our grandkids (who all live in Bergen County), we had not touched them in over a year. No longer! Sunday morning featured bagels and hugs. Lots of maskless hugs. Shehechiyanu…

I held it together all weekend, not getting emotional … except for when I said Shehechiyanu. I honestly never before paid very close attention to the verbiage in this prayer. No longer. When I focused on the words, emotions overcame me each time: Praised are You, Hashem, King of the Universe, who keeps us alive, sustains us and brings us to this moment.

*Some things at shul were unchanged: The announcements were still too long.


George Friedman and his wife, Ellen, have been living in Teaneck and been Beth Aaron members for over 40 years. He’s been complaining about the announcements for about that long.

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