For all the losses this pandemic has brought, a comparatively minor one has been the loss of much of my spiritual life. In the “Before Times,” I was in my synagogue daily, taking part in singing, prayer, communal worship, experimental and traditional, on a regular basis. Right before we shut down, I submitted a grant application for purchasing drums for one of our alternative services. Prayer (mine and the facilitation of others’) and connection to God have always been a constant for me.

Among the many things that were lost this year, my prayer practice and my connection with God have gone into hiding. For a while, it was because there were always kids around! Who had a moment to think, let alone pray? Then, even after things quieted down and I returned to my office, for the past many months my head has been spinning at what we’re still experiencing. It’s hard to concentrate on returning an email, let alone encountering the Divine.

So, imagine my surprise when, right in the middle of the second floor of Gillette Stadium, I felt God’s presence with me!

Standing in line, waiting for my vaccine, I put my headphones on and chose my music deliberately. I picked a tune that has often been a mantra for me, serving as a reminder as to why I rushed to get the vaccine as soon as I was eligible.

הריני מקבלת עלי את מצבת הבורא ואהבת לרעיך כמוך

Behold, I take upon myself the commandment from the Creator: to love your neighbor as yourself.

As much as I wanted the vaccine to protect myself, I wanted it more to protect my neighbors, my family and my congregation.

From there, the rush of relief, a feeling of peace and God’s presence, soared through me. I took solace in the fact that everyone else in line was looking at their phones, because with tears hitting my mask, swaying gently to the music and quietly offering my thanks to God, I’m sure I looked a little out of place.

There are many sports fans who would say that Gillette is the place where they feel the most spiritual. The rush of the crowd, the excitement and the thrill of a win go a long way to lifting up our souls. Transformed into a giant vaccine-giving factory, Gillette is still home to a similar rush of the (socially distanced!) crowd, a tremendous excitement for doing our part to end this pandemic and the thrill of a huge win for science.

God was in that place—and I am so grateful for recognizing Her there, in that moment. (I’m sure God is still there, so go! Run! Get your shot as soon as you’re eligible! Protection from COVID-19 with a side of holiness!)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

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