The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely changed the world that we know it in all aspects. Our worlds have been turned upside down in so many ways.
This month In Jewish tradition, is a time of reflection in preparation for the High Holy Days of the Jewish calendar: The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Usually Jews gather in synagogues across the world and get together with families in preparation for the year. We listen to the Shofar (ram’s horn) and undertake a 24 hour fast.
For Jews, community and the synagogue play a prominent role. This year, there are so many precautions and limitations, as we still are very much in the throes of the pandemic. For some of us, we have spent the past five months in a very different reality of ritual and practice.
The questions continue.
- Can we go to synagogue safely?
- Can we listen to the shofar safely?
- Can we have festive meals with our families, friends and loved ones?
- How do we properly reflect and atone for last year’s transgressions and offenses?
The people we want to gather with the most, our parents and grandparents, are particularly vulnerable to this virus.
Yet, there is a silver lining to this very difficult time. With all the limitations and fears, we have had much more time for our immediate families at home. For those of us with young children, it is a precious gift.
We can’t tell how the next year will have unfold. My wish, for this reflective time and for the upcoming year, is that we continue to spend time with the people that mean the most to us (in whatever way is safest for us) and continue to work on ourselves, even in this uncertainty.
Happy New Year to all! Shana Tova!