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Ahdit Tatim’ein: Proudly shot twice in Shefa-Amer!

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Earlier this week, I received my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine in the nearby small Arab city of Shefa-Amer. It was once a mixed city with Jews, Muslims and Christians (although with a very small minority of Jews, fewer than one hundred families, and a large majority of Christians.) Now there are no more Jews there — although the synagogue still stands — and there is a large majority of Muslims. In some ways, it is like a smaller version of Nazareth.

When I arrived, there stood an automatic digital thermometer where the large Christmas tree stood last time I was there, which was for the first dose of the vaccine, three weeks before. I have been coming to this medical clinic for over ten years — since I moved to the area from Jerusalem — for whatever medical services I cannot get in the smaller village of Kufr Manda across the road from Kibbutz Hannaton, where I live. For services I cannot get in Shefa-Amer, I go to Nazareth (an-Nasira) or Haifa (Hayfa).

They know me in this clinic. To them, I assume, I am that soft-spoken yet friendly woman with the seven kids and a muscular disease who says she’s a rabbi — not married to a rabbi, but an actual rabbi — writes books in English, keeps inviting us to come to immerse in her mikveh and has been studying Arabic for years but is improving very, very slowly, if at all.

As usual, the nurse started out by speaking to me in very slow Arabic but ended up switching to mostly Hebrew. Arabic is hard enough for me to understand, but even more so when the speaker is wearing a mask! Still, she commended me on my effort, smiled behind her mask — which I could tell from her eyes — and congratulated me on receiving my tatim’ein (two vaccines). This is one of the things I love about Arabic — that two of anything has its own special suffix — “ein” — which is only for certain words in Hebrew and not at all in English (the only other two languages I know, although those I can actually speak, whereas Arabic is more of a hobby on a good day, and an uphill battle on a bad day).

There was a definite feeling of elation, of lightness, in the air, as one after another, we received our second doses of the vaccine: an older couple — the woman in hijab, the man in a kaffiye; a middle aged woman in jeans and a sweater with a cross pendant around her neck; a younger man with a hipster beard and black-framed glasses; a man from the Anthroposophic (Waldorf) kibbutz of Harduf across the road cracking jokes as we waited. I was the only one there with teenage children (I was there with two of my kids who have the same degenerative........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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