A week ago, with the new moon on Friday evening, the Jewish year 5781 began. Rosh Hashana marked the start of a 10 day period of introspection culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a solemn fast day beginning this evening and concluding Monday night. Our offices will be closed Monday.
The global response to COVID imposed a most unusual end to the year 5780. The necessary restrictions on gatherings means that many normally crowded synagogues have turned to technology to live stream services to enable members to maintain a semblance of their sense of community. But it feels very, very different.
The Yom Kippur service includes a section describing in detail how the day was observed two thousand years ago in the days of the Temple, providing a chain of continuity linking participants with our ancestors. Historically, responses to plagues led to certain shifts in religious practices. I reflect and wonder what pandemic-influenced changes will be maintained going forward, launching new traditions for future generations.
The past 6 months of online work and learning demonstrate that technology can help to keep us connected. Still, it seems to me there is no substitute for personal face-to-face interaction.
As someone who plays in the world of electronic and digital communications, I appreciate all of the work my industry has done, but I hope the coming year allows a return to increased personal interactions, without masks hiding our facial expressions.
It is my hope that the year 5781 will be marked by good health, by personal and professional growth and a year of peace for all of us.
Did I mention good health?
גמר חתימה טובה