Israel prepares for Yom Kippur, Sukkot services under COVID-19 restrictions

September 25, 2020 by TPS
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Synagogues across Israel will open in a very limited fashion on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and will be completely closed during the seven-day holiday of Sukkot, one of the most joyous holidays in the Jewish calendar.

Outdoor prayers. (Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS)

Services for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement which is marked with day-long prayers and fasting, will be held in parks, on balconies, and in parking lots, and only a few selected will conduct the prayers in synagogues due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

With the central theme of repentance, Jews often spend most of the day in synagogue services, but not this year, in which the services will be cut short due to the heat outside.

On Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, during which special prayer services are recited while marching with the Four Species, the Lulav, a closed frond from a palm tree,  Hadasim, three boughs from the myrtle tree, Aravot, two branches from the willow tree and Etrog, the fruit of a citron tree, all services will be held outside and in small groups.

The traditional Birkat Kohanim, the special mass priestly blessing, which is usually attended by tens of thousands, will be held in only a very limited fashion and will not be open to the public.


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