Virtual vehicles, vaccinated – Winnipeg Free Press
Members of the city’s Jewish community can celebrate their New Years next week from the comfort of their vehicles during the second consecutive pandemic-style celebration of the great holy days.
Instead of congregating inside a synagogue, an event dubbed Shofar in My Car allows people to drive to one of four locations to hear the breath of the shofar – a ram’s horn – on Tuesday, said Rena Secter Elbaze, lay clergy member of Congregation Shaarey Zedek.
“It is imperative to listen to the shofar because it is a red flag,” she said of the sound of this ancient instrument on Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year.
“It’s thinking about your behavior and the things you want to sort out in your relationships and the way you treat people, and that takes stock.”
Volunteers will ring the shofar at 2 p.m. in parking lots at Shaarey Zedek, the Asper Jewish Community Campus and two retirement homes in southwest Winnipeg. The shofar will also ring at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Jewish Learning Center parking lot, 1845 Mathers Ave.
Rosh Hashanah begins on Monday at sunset and continues until Wednesday at sunset. Jews celebrate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, 10 days later.
While the focus of the summer vacation is introspection and reflection on the past year, Rabbi Allan Finkel plans to reframe this post to reflect the challenges of today’s pandemic life.
“Let’s come out of weariness and the past and start the world anew,” he said of the theme of his sermons at Shalom Temple.
“The old world is gone. Let’s just look ahead.”
Part of that forward-looking attitude means living with the realities of COVID-19. Finkel and four other Winnipeg rabbis published a letter last week asserting the importance of getting vaccinated because saving or preserving a life is central to Jewish ethics and values.
“Those who are eligible to be vaccinated and refuse to do so endanger the lives of others,” the letter said.
Anyone attending in-person events at Shalom Temple, Etz Chayim Congregation or Adas Yeshurun Herzlia during Great Holy Days must show proof of double vaccination. Etz Chayim will limit attendance to 100 people and more will be able to follow the services live, Rabbi Kliel Rose said.
All services of Congregation Shaarey Zedek will be online again this year and free to anyone who wishes to participate, said administrator Ran Ukashi.
“We want to be there for the community but in the safest way possible,” he said of the High Holiday virtual services on Facebook and YouTube.
The modern Orthodox community in Winnipeg will only organize in-person services, as they do not use electricity or computers on the Sabbath or on holidays, with services outside if weather permits. said Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshuran Herzlia Synagogue.
“When you buy your seat, you must show your proof of vaccination,” Benarroch said, adding that worshipers will be physically distanced and masked.
“We don’t anticipate that anyone would try to cheat us.”
So far, no one has protested to have their vaccination cards scanned before entering services at Shalom Temple, Finkel said.
“Our right to our health is more important than your right to walk in the door,” he said. “There has been no reluctance about it.”
Brenda Suderman has been a columnist for the Saturday Newspaper since 2000, first writing about family entertainment and faith and religion since 2006.
Read the full biography