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COVID-19 moves Yom Kippur ceremony outdoors for local Chabad

Posted at 10:59 PM, Sep 27, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Shortly before sunset, congregants of the Chabad of Nebraska lit candles, representing the beginning of Yom Kippur.

The holiday is often referred to as the day of atonement, but Rabbi Mendel Katzman says while it may seem like a solemn occasion, with participants fasting from sundown on Sunday night until sundown Monday night, it is also a time to celebrate the opportunity to reconnect with their faith and their community.

“Really it’s about connecting, or reconnecting or reestablishing our connection with the Almighty and with ourselves," Katzman said.

Katzman says this year has offered a lot of opportunities for self reflection and quiet time, something he feels will continue throughout the coming days.

“People are going to be more focused on what’s important," Katzman said. "More focused on their spiritually relationship with one another as well as our Creator.”

This year the congregants are gathering outside for the ceremonies, following guidance from the local health department. The Chabad says they wanted to take part in the holiday in the safest way possible.

“We could do it, therefore we should do it- and yet, taking all health considerations," Katzman said.

Congregants wore masks while saying their prayers and visiting with each other, and some traditions like kissing the Torah had to be omitted for safety.

The Chabad also welcomed congregants who were high risk to take part in the holiday from home, and offered guides for both children and adults to follow along.

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