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.
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.
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.