THE NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) has thanked members of the community for following health orders at outdoor gatherings marking Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
It comes after JBOD and the Rabbinical Council of NSW (RCNSW), in consultation with NSW Health, received permission from Health Minister Brad Hazzard to allow outdoor shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah and 15-minute outdoor services on Yom Kippur in compliance with health orders.
“I would like to thank our community for following the rules in place, and allowing us all to commemorate this memorable new year,” said JBOD CEO Darren Bark.
“While it was not a normal year for the High Holy Days, we thank our community for navigating the restrictions required in the public health orders in good faith. We also give thanks to NSW Police for assisting with ensuring these restrictions were observed.”
Bark also paid tribute to Hazzard “who provided this exemption and allowed for our religious observances to take place”.
JBOD and RCNSW worked closely with rabbis, synagogues and other faith groups in order to make the observations possible.
“We are deeply grateful to those who worked tirelessly to make sure that we would be able to have services on Yom Kippur in the park,” said RCNSW president Rabbi Nochum Schapiro.
“Yom Kippur is the one day a year that we find that many Jews who otherwise don’t come to synagogues make their way to shule and it is extremely important to have given them that possibility of doing so, even for short bursts of time.
“I would also like to thank in particular Rabbi Shua Solomon and Rabbi Ben Elton from the RCNSW executive who also had a major role to play in making it happen.”
Many of the participants commented how beautiful it was to have both the shofar services and Yom Kippur within the field of the trees and the natural environment.
“Gathering on Rosh Hashanah to hear the shofar and on Yom Kippur to pray communally, even for a few minutes, was enormously appreciated and very meaningful for the many people who attended,” Rabbi Elton said.
“JBOD and others worked tirelessly to make it happen. I know the rabbis were very grateful.”
With Succot this week, health orders are still in place as NSW continues to live with COVID-19.
Once the 70 per cent double-vaccinated opening target set by the NSW government is reached many lockdown restrictions will ease, including those on places of worship.