Rabbi Avi Berman, executive director of the Orthodox Union (OU) in Israel, released a video message Wednesday calling on English speakers in Israel to adhere to Health Ministry guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.
“Shmeni Atzeret is always full of light, full of excitement and full of dancing, everyone together at shul [synagogue].”
“I’m asking myself what’s going to be with Simchas Torah this year. How could it possibly be even close to what Simchas Torah was last year? How are we going to dance? How are we going to hold each other’s hands?”
“The answer is, we’re not going to.”
“How is Simchas Torah going to be Simchas Torah?”
While most years, Berman said, worshippers are “forced” to be happy by the celebrations around them in synagogue, this year, they will have to “connect to the Torah in a much deeper and spiritual place.”
“Maybe the happiness we’ve had every year up until now…is the exact opposite of what we should have this year.”
“It is important that we all continue wearing our masks, continue staying social distanced, keeping to all the rules the Ministry of Health are telling us.”