Local Jewish community congregates online for Yom Kippur

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Most of the time, Yom Kippur is meant to be spent detoxing from digital, or at least distancing from digital. This year, the holiday will be purely digital at Beth Israel Synagogue in Jackson due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The synagogue conducted online services through Zoom. Rabbi Joseph Rosen said it went well.

“We’ve got a fantastic setup in our sanctuary and in our library,” Rabbi Rosen said. “So we have our mini choir in the sanctuary, and I’m set up at the library.”

He added that he’s left the Zoom room open all day so that people can catch up with one another between each service.

One Yom Kippur tradition is fasting all day until sundown as a method of cleansing. Rianna Weil said that the hardest part this year is not being surrounded by friends and family during that time.

“When you get to do it with a community, it’s not as hard,” Weil said. “Everyone’s going through the same thing. Everyone’s tummy is grumbling in the middle of services and you can hear it, and it always makes you feel a little bit better and you’re not as alone.”

But it’s not all bad. Weil said she can still feel the congregation’s energy from Zoom.

Rabbi Rosen added that with each holiday that passes, they are able to work out more and more kinks to provide a smoother online service every time.

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