High Holy Day guidelines: Entry to synagogue only with 3rd vaccine

Written by on August 17, 2021

Only those vaccinated with the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, those who have recovered from the virus and those who were recently tested should be allowed to attend High Holy Day services in synagogues, the World Organization of Orthodox Communities and Synagogues recommended on Tuesday, as the Delta variant continued to spread in Israel and around the world.

All other worshipers should pray in services in open areas, the organization recommended.

Coronavirus regulations are kept at the Western Wall, Jerusalem, 2021 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Coronavirus regulations are kept at the Western Wall, Jerusalem, 2021 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The organization also stressed the importance of wearing masks throughout the entire service, keeping distance between worshippers and avoiding kissing the Torah scroll or shaking hands.

The organization also recommended that sites be set up for outdoor prayer services near synagogues with adequate seating and protection from the sun, adding that prayer services should begin early and be shortened as much as possible.

“Safe prayer with heartfelt intention will come before the Throne of Honor and God willing, ‘This hour will be an hour of compassion and a time of favor before You.’ May we merit a complete healing, good news, salvation and comfort,” said the organization on Tuesday.

Rosh Hashana begins this year on Monday, September 6, in the evening. Yom Kippur takes place this year on the evening of September 15.

Last year, Israel was under lockdown for the High Holy Days, with strict restrictions regulating the size of prayer services. Officials have expressed concerns that if infection rates continue to rise or a new variant enters Israel, Israel could be in lockdown for the holidays again this year.

As of Tuesday morning, 1,052,615 Israelis had received the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Only those 50-years-old and older and those with compromised immune systems can receive the third dose as of yet.

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