AS Melbourne’s Jewish community hunkers down for what is set to become the second High Holy Days without synagogue worship in as many years, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) is taking the Days of Awe out of the shule walls and into people’s homes, local parks and streets.
There will be some new initiatives this year, according to Chabad Youth director Rabbi Moshe Kahn, who outlined plans to The AJN for special virtual events being held.
On September 12, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Rabbi Yossi Jacobson of New York, a US Chabad leader and former editor of the Yiddish-language Algemeiner Journal, will be joined online by social media expert Michal Oshman, head of company culture, diversity and inclusion at TikTok Europe, and formerly with Facebook. She will talk about her book, What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?
As it did last year, the RCV’s Project High Holy Days hopes again to offer shofar blowing in parks, within earshot of residents, and visits by shofar blowers to local streets, so Jews can fulfil the mitzvah of hearing the shofar sounded. With similar lockdown conditions prevailing as in 2020, Rabbi Kahn said the RCV is in talks with the Department of Health and Human Services to see how events can be staged “to make sure that everything is being done legally and above board, that’s very important”.
Project High Holy Days will deliver care packages to Jewish homes, with shules customising their packages. Rabbi Kahn pointedly observed that a highlight of Daminyan’s care package will be a red heart-shaped stress ball.
Reflecting on the second year in a row of High Holy Days in lockdown, he was philosophical. “The community just needs to know that together we can achieve anything. Yom tov is about community, but it’s also about connecting to your family. There’s really no reason this can’t be achieved. We all just have to pause, take a deep breath, and we can do this.”
For further information, visit phh.org.au.