The Shofar holds great significance in the Jewish community. Every year during the holidays, Jews gather around and hear the shofar being blown. This has been done for thousands of years and it is an ancient tradition. This year will go down in history as the year of changing traditions for the health and safety of the community. Due to the global pandemic, many things, including blowing the shofar, are going to change.
For one, people need to wear masks, keep to social distancing regulations and shuls(synagogues) can only hold a certain amount of people at a time. Speaking in a mask, in the hot outdoors, is hard enough as it is, but singing and praying in a mask can be a much bigger challenge. Sweating in a mask for too long makes the mask invalid, since sweat and heat breaks down a chemical barrier that is on the inside of the mask, which makes it unable to protect you against catching the Coronavirus.
Another big challenge that people are facing is the limited amount of people that are allowed in a shul. The ministry of health only allows 20 people to attend shul at the same time (or 30 outside) and they need to all be wearing masks, have good ventilation and stay at least 2 meters away from one another. This means that many people will have to look for alternative minyanim for the holidays.
Blowing the Shofar
Under normal circumstances blowing the Shofar is an innocent activity but due to the current situation – blowing the shofar is actually quite dangerous. By blowing the shofar, the ba'al tokeh is releasing all of his respiratory droplets and spraying them all over the shul (onto people). The OU released the following guidelines for blowing the Shofar safely during the coronavirus:
Communities should consider having shofar blowing in big outdoor parks around the community. People can join in on the streets and social distance from one another. This will allow people who live near the park to hear the shofar being blown while lowering the risk of getting Coronavirus.
The Israeli government is attempting to conduct an initiative in which they are gathering a list of volunteers to blow at street corners across the country. In this way not only will there be less crowds in Shuls during the times when the Shofar is blown and woman and children come, but blowing in an outdoor environment will create a safer situation.
During this time of the year, people are repenting for their sins of this year. It is important to remember that not following the rules is putting others at risk and is a big sin. But if we follow the rules during the holidays we can have a meaningful holiday and not risk anyone's life.
My experience with Ema Care has been so positive that I wanted to share it in case it could help someone else. Eight days ago my daughter, a Shanah Bet student, called to say she wasn’t feeling well and had symptoms of Covid-19. I was put in touch with an Infectious Disease specialist who recommended Ema Care. I reached Dr. Eliana Aaron easily and signed my daughter up. The next morning, Ema Care gave my daughter a telehealth exam and provided her with prescriptions, as well as a list of...
I would like to also add my compliments, you exceeded my already very high expectations. You can certainly send other schools our way for a recommendation.
-Mr. E. Naiman
Dear Dr. Eliana words simply cannot express how much you have done for all of us and so many others in keeping us informed, calming anxieties, and being such a wonderful and patient resource through such a difficult time. Wishing you much bracha and hatzlacha in the merit of all the countless mitzvot u have done to help so many through these trying times; mikol halev, ein milim and thanks so so much .
Gap Year Program Staff
Hello Dr. Aaron. I cannot thank you enough for providing not only crucial information but a framework that gave us stability and allowed us to function (instead of descending into chaos, which undoubtedly would have happened, if not for you). At the risk of waxing dramatic, I will tell you that when I think of what you've done these past couple of months, what comes to mind is Rav Yohanan Ben Zakai asking Vespasian to give him Yavneh ve-Hakhameha, thus saving the entire enterprise of Talmud...
I just wanted to say I think Dr. Eliana is one of the most rationale people providing the public with current information. I have no idea how I came across your Facebook page but I love what you say, just heard the one about reopening shuls, and the way you present it. clear, concise and factual. I work in Toronto on COVID 19 and just wanted to let you know that you are doing a fantastic job. I think here there are community doctors putting out information and I have told them they are too...
I just wanted to thank you very much for that presentation. Very thorough and certainly helped create important and necessary focus. Very much appreciated.
Gap Year Program Staff
First of all, thank you for that incredibly informative call. Really got us thinking about all the issues we need to consider for next year. Thank you in general for being available to all of us on the group. We have benefited so much from your wisdom and advice over the past few weeks.
Head of Gap Year Program
I just wanted to thank you for all your guidance and advice you're are providing the yeshivot and midreshot. I'm the Director of a boys program and although I'm sure you've heard it many times already, your role has been indispensable in getting us all through this.
Head of Gap Year Program