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    Yom-tov with no shule

    The following article by Rabbi Raymond Apple appeared in the Australian Jewish News on 3 September, 2021.

    Jewish population movements once led to synagogues having to scramble for a minyan – first daily, then on Shabbat, and finally on the festivals.

    Now there are parts of Australia which this year will find that festival services will be totally suspended.

    Brought up on the Singer Siddur, I used to wonder what was meant when I read about what to do “when prayers are not said with the congregation”. Later I discovered that this was an elegant English phrase for davening without a minyan.

    At times we all find ourselves doing precisely that – davening on our own or in the presence of less than a minyan. Not until now, however, did people have to face the Yamim Nora’im without communal worship.

    All my rebukes of a congregation for chattering during the service have suddenly become amusing. I am unrepentant about people not gossiping during the service; I am adamant that the only valid type of chattering during tefillah is conversation with Hashem.

    But sadly there will not be community prayer in many places this year, and the deprivation is not only going to take the form of not gossiping but not being spiritually encouraged by communal davening, singing, and deriving strength from each other.

    What do I advise?

    If you have to daven on your own, do it at the regular davening time. Leaf through the Machzor, say the basic prayers – even in English – and slow down and sing when you come to what is familiar.

    Stand or sit on your own in a corner of the garden or in a nook in the house.

    Use the occasion constructively: tell God how you feel, what you hope for, what you dream of.

    Don’t forget to be honest: tell Him of the foolish things you need Him to forgive.

    Pray for other people, pray for the world, ask Him to help us all through this time of terror.

    Eat apple and honey, and go spiritually mechayil el chayil, “from strength to strength.”

    Shanah Tovah! See you in shule next year!

    #coronavirus #corona #covid-19 #covid19 #pandemic

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