Hungarian Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the Danube amid rising COVID infections – jewishpresspinellas

Posted By on September 23, 2020

By ohtadmin | on September 21, 2020

When Rosh Hashanah began Friday, Sept. 18, none of Hungarys 100,000 Jews will be in a synagogue. Instead, they were boarding a boat in the Danube, under tents and atop the deck of a floating hotel locations chosen to allow open-air prayer during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hungary and many other European countries are seeing a surge in coronavirus infections, and their governments are tightening emergency measures meant to stop the diseases spread at exactly the time when Jews are set to celebrate the High Holidays.

The Hungarian government banned all worship activities in churches, synagogues and mosques last week as the country started registering about 1,000 new COVID 19 cases a day.

In Budapest, some 20 open-air locations were set up including a giant tent that was erected outside the Obuda Synagogue, a 200-year-old French Empire-style building that is among the countrys largest Jewish houses of worship.

We have decided to proceed with all the holiday celebrations as planned while taking all the necessary health and safety precautions to protect our community, the synagogues rabbi and head of the EMIH federation of Jewish communities, Shlomo Koves, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Koves also is a prominent emissary of the Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox movement.

The tent will have a smaller capacity than the synagogue, which hosts about 700 people on Rosh Hashanah, but then again we expect fewer people to come to synagogue this year because many people are afraid to get infected, Koves said.

Rabbi Shmulik Glitzenstein of the Zsilip congregation in downtown Budapest made use of his synagogues riverside location: He rented the deck of a floating hotel on the Danube for the eve of Rosh Hashanah to hold prayers in the open air. Worshippers will have their temperatures checked at the entrance to the events, the synagogue association to which both Zsilip and Obuda belong said in a statement. Where light meals will be served, they will be consumed standing and in keeping with distancing protocol.

Koves said shofar-blowing ceremonies are being organized in each of Budapests 23 districts at open-air and accessible locations.

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Hungarian Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the Danube amid rising COVID infections - jewishpresspinellas

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