Not yet, anyway.
The Jewish year of ... checking ... 5781 begins at sundown Friday, and is a reminder that the Chosen People are not newcomers at celebrating holidays during hard times. As grim as the COVID pandemic has been, it doesn’t hold a candle to Babylonian captivity or Roman persecution, the Inquisition or the Holocaust.
The business of maintaining Jewish identity, already under siege by modern life, is complicated in the Plague Year of 2020 as Judaism celebrates Rosh Hashanah — literally, “head of the year” — and then atones for sins in the year to come at Yom Kippur nine days later.
“This is an interesting year, unlike any other,” said Rabbi Steven Lowenstein, whom I called because his synagogue, Am Shalom of Glencoe, is one of many streaming high holiday services.
“We’ve been livestreaming for eight or nine years now,” he said. “We originally did it as part of our outreach to people who were sick or couldn’t come to services. This year is much more complex and more difficult.”
Complex because they can’t just turn one camera on the bima — the raised platform where services are conducted. The clergy are scattered, for their own protection.
“Now we are spread out in four different locations,” said Lowenstein. “Seven or eight different cameras, six different lecterns, socially distanced from everyone. We’re attempting to bring it all together.”
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