VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Practising your faith has changed in the last few weeks, and it will certainly look different for major celebrations in the near future because of COVID-19.
The Jewish holiday of Passover begins on Wednesday, which typically involves large gatherings and food.
Temple Sholom in Vancouver is inviting worshippers to join in on a Seder meal via the online platform Zoom Thursday evening.
Rabbi Dan Moskovitz, the senior rabbi at Temple Sholom, says his life has changed dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He describes presiding over a funeral this weekend wearing gloves and a mask, something even the mourners were donning. But he says that wasn’t the most difficult part of the occasion.
“If you go to a funeral, the first you want to do to is hug somebody and let them know you care, and we don’t do that anymore. That’s shocking and striking and difficult to adjust to.”
He says Bat Mitzvahs are still happening, with him relaying his messages to the families via video call, though, he points out he can no longer personally hand-over the important Torah scrolls at the homes where coming-of-age ceremonies are being held.
“We deliver it to their home, with social distancing. We put it on the porch and the family comes and gets it. They read it at their dining room table with their laptop set up. I’m the rabbi on the other end on Zoom.”
And on regular weekends, people are worshipping online, as well.
“This past weekend, we had more than 350 people worshipping with us online. On a typical weekend, we’d see a 100 or so in-person. Part of this is because people need a spiritual connection.”
Rabbi Moskovitz says what’s most important to remember is where some might see this as a test of their faith, he doesn’t. He says the crisis is definitely testing him and people in general.
“It’s not a punishment from God, but God is standing by my side. He’s here with us as a force in our lives to do the most good during these challenging times.”