Together Never Apart – Connecting Sydney Jewry.

September 2, 2020 by Danielle Salomon
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The upcoming High Holy Days are going to be a very different experience for Jews in Sydney and around the world, and for many, it will be the first time in memory that they will not be attending any shul services.

Rabbi Eli Schlanger and Rabbi Yossi Friedman

In response to this, Sydney’s community rabbis have united, and with the support of the JCA, UIA and JNF and other donors, have spearheaded Together Never Apart – Connecting Sydney Jewry.

This new initiative will address the unique issue we face with the upcoming high holy days, and will also aim to reframe and reinvigorate how we come together and experience our Judaism.

High Holy Day Packs will be distributed in the lead up to Rosh Hashana by local shuls to over 5,000 families with the purpose of evoking a sense of community and solidarity. The packs have been carefully considered to inspire the Sydney Jewish community to celebrate Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in a meaningful and connected way even if we cannot be together physically in shul. There will be something for every family member to enjoy, regardless of their level of religious observance.

The Yizkor service on Yom Kippur is a dedicated time for us to honour and remember loved ones who have departed this world. As many will be unable to attend a Yizkor service, rabbis are calling for a collective, cross-communal moment of silence at 12pm on Yom Kippur Day, Monday 28 September. Whether you are at shul or home alone, we will pause together in spiritual unity and personal prayer.

Rabbi Yossi Friedman of Maroubra Synagogue conceived the idea when thinking about how he could engage his own congregation amidst COVID-19 restrictions. He said: “I was overwhelmed by the positive support of my rabbinic colleagues and Jewish communal organisations who all came together with the aim of empowering families to “keep it from home” and connecting all Jews across Sydney through the power of a united ‘moment’ in honour of our loved ones.”

Mizrachi Synagogue’s Rabbi Shua Solomon added: “I am really excited to see all of the orthodox rabbis coming together to be part of this initiative. We are always stronger when we work together, and I have no doubt that this will be enormously beneficial and inspiring for the entire Jewish community during a difficult year for all of us.”

While COVID has had many devastating consequences, we have also seen countless positive and heart-warming instances where humanity has stepped up to help others. Together Never Apart aims to build on this momentum and inspire hope, unity and kindness in our community.

Each synagogue will reach out to its members when distributing the packs.

 

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