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Yom Kippur observed via livestream amid pandemic

On the holiest day of the Jewish faith, synagogues sit empty. Yom Kippur has gone virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Temple Shalom’s cantor sings to an empty room in Naples. Torahs remain unopened. Rabbis are forced to lead prayer via livestream.

Bobbie and Eugene Katz are sitting at home observing Yom Kippur through a screen, for the first time in their 26-year membership.

“I miss being there, you know, in the sanctuary, being with everybody and the community of all of us singing together, praying together,” Bobbi said.

There’s a lot to miss, not just the community but their break the fast feast.

“But this year, it’ll just be Gene, and I. That’s it, and a bagel,” Bobbie said.

Bobbie also misses greeting other worshippers. “Everybody says to me it’s not the holiday without Bobbie Katz welcoming us to services!”

As many have done, the Katzes adjusted, atoning and forgiving from behind a screen.

“I’ve been able to manage and click on where I need to click, and it’s been OK,” the couple said.

Rabbi Adam Miller wants members like Eugene and Bobbie to still have their sacred day. He has even invited members to do pre-recorded Torah readings and has even created a virtual choir.

“So that people saw themselves, they saw their friends, they saw their community,” Rabbi Miller said. “They still have that feeling like we are as we like to say one family all connected together.”

The Katzes are impressed with what Miller put together. But they still hope the virtual services aren’t permanent and hope they can get back to seeing their friends.

“I am very anxious so we can go back into the sanctuary,” Bobbie said.

Temple Shalom’s Rabbi does think that during the pandemic their worship services have become accessible to more people than ever before.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Drew Hill
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