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‘It’s really sad’: Jewish holy day Yom Kippur to be observed at home

At sunset on Wednesday, the Jewish community starts the 25-hour observance of the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur.

It’s a day of fasting, atoning for sins and abstaining from physical pleasures.

Anton Block with his wife Lana and children Jess, 16, Danny, 14 and Jake, 9.

Anton Block with his wife Lana and children Jess, 16, Danny, 14 and Jake, 9.Credit:Joe Armao

But for the second consecutive year, Jewish Melburnians cannot gather en masse at synagogues, due to COVID-19 restrictions, and Anton Block, of Malvern East, said it was very sad.

“The fact that we’re in the same position this year is very disappointing and very upsetting, and it’s a struggle to think how we can make the day as meaningful as it usually is,” he said.

“Last year we thought, ‘It’ll just be this one-time thing and, please God, next year we’ll all be able to be in the synagogue again and be able to celebrate as a family, a congregation and a community’.”

But it was not to be. Mr Block, 49, said his synagogue, the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, which is modern Orthodox, is not live-streaming services.

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On Yom Kippur before the pandemic, he would go to synagogue for a 90-minute service in the evening and return for most of the next day.

This year, he and his wife, Lana, and their children Jess, 16, Danny 14, and Jake 9 will go for walks, read prayers, “and try and give each other a sense of the occasion by talking through reflections and blessings,” Mr Block said.

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