Photo: Rabbi Levi Levertov and volunteers with the “Smile on Seniors” program in the Phoenix area have helped hundreds of seniors to obtain coronavirus vaccinations, enabling many to spend Passover with their families.
Vaccination efforts for Jewish seniors worldwide have taken on a new sense of urgency as Passover approaches. After a year of quarantines that have isolated the elderly in particular, many are eager to be able to finally join close family and friends for the holiday. With the promise of inoculation, the opportunity to do so is within reach, and one organization in Phoenix has made it possible for hundreds to do so.“The vaccines are a two-shot process, and many seniors have asked us to help them secure second appointments ahead of the holiday so they can spend the Seder with family,” says Rabbi Levi Levertov, who as together with his wife, Chani, directs Chabad of Arizona’s “Smile on Seniors” program in the Phoenix area. The program began on an ad-hoc basis and grew quickly into an organized effort.
“I didn’t really imagine any large-scale effort when I arranged the first vaccination appointment for a senior I knew,” Levertov told Chabad.org. “It was more by chance: I had heard about someone I knew who was struggling to get a vaccine appointment locally. I did a brief search and realized that while in Maricopa County there were indeed no available appointments, the county just next door did have some openings. So, I arranged it for them.”
After realizing just how necessary it was for someone with a little bit of know-how and even more goodwill to step in, Levertov couldn’t help himself from doing the same thing for other people he knew.
The Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory] would often emphasize the importance of our doing everything in our power to ensure that people gather together for the Seder, which at its heart is the communication of the Passover story from parents to their children,” said Levertov.
“With this program,” he emphasized, “we’re working within current safety guidelines to do just that.”
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