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‘Pray outdoors on Yom Kippur’ religious organizations say

CM 14/09/2021

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With corona cases still high and rising, Yom Kippur prayer services in Israel will look different again for a second year in many communities and synagogues.
The Health Ministry has recommended that prayer services be conducted outdoors, but has not made it a requirement.
Synagogues can operate with the Purple Pass with up to 50 worshipers indoors, and with the Green Pass system for over 50 people, meaning that the only worshipers who can enter are those who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from corona, according to the Health Ministry’s new criteria. Children under age 12 can only enter if they have a negative COVID test no more than 24 hours prior.

As has been the case for much of the year, and over the recent Rosh Hashanah holiday, many services will be held outdoors, with several religious groups insisting that this is the only safe way to pray this year.
The religious-Zionist Tzohar rabbinical association and its head, Rabbi David Stav, called for prayer services to be held outdoors, and that only those who have been vaccinated should be allowed inside synagogues.

The national-religious rabbinical association Tzohar 370 (credit: Yossi Zliger)The national-religious rabbinical association Tzohar 370 (credit: Yossi Zliger)

Stav said that since Yom Kippur prayer services are very long and last for large parts of the day, wearing a mask for such long periods would be extremely difficult, and that the public should go beyond the orders of the Health Ministry and avoid indoor spaces altogether.
The Union of Synagogues and Communities in Israel representing dozens of Orthodox congregations around the country has similarly recommended dividing up services into smaller groups outdoors.
The organization said that only those who have been vaccinated should be allowed to pray in communal services, adding that wearing masks and social distancing were also essential.
People in high-risk groups should pray at home, the union added.
It also said that since praying outside in the sun on a fast day would be difficult, prayer services should be started early in the morning, and that those who think praying outside in the heat will cause them to eat or drink should pray individually at home.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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