Melbourne’s Jewish Community adapts to bring in the new year during Covid-19

This year, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) will be unlike any other for the 50,000+ members of Melbourne’s Jewish community. In lieu of the closure of Synagogues and restrictions on wider family gatherings, the celebrations will continue albeit under a totally unprecedented set of rules. 
Normally over 1,500 Jews join Rabbi Yaakov Glasman at the St Kilda Synagogue, this year it will be closed. The Kallenbach family usually spend the 2-day celebration breaking bread with their wider family, this year they do so among themselves while gathered around the dinner table listening to Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann deliver the Rosh Hashanah Drosha (sermon) live via Zoom. 

On Assignment for the Guardian Australia I worked on this story for this piece titled ‘Everyone wants to hear the shofar’: ringing in Jewish new year in locked-down Melbourne

Rabbi Yaakov Glasman picks up copies of the Torah from the pews at the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation in Melbourne Australia on the 18th of September 2020. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
Rabbi Yaakov Glasman Synagogue at the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation in Melbourne Australia on the 18th of September 2020. Due to Covid-19 stage 4 restrictions, mass gatherings are not allowed, meaning this years Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Years celebrations are not allowed to be conducted at the Synagogue. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
The empty Synagogue at the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation in Melbourne Australia on the 18th of September 2020. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
An Employee at Glicks Bakery picks up a piece of Challah bread to serve to a customer in Melbourne Australia on the 18th of September 2020. Challah bread is baked in a circular fasion during Rosh Hashanah as it symbolize continuity. Glicks Bakery has become an institution amoung the local Jewish Community. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann blows the Rams horn also known as the Shofar at a park in East Hawthorn on the 18th of September 2020. Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann will be blowing the Shofar on Sunday at 50 street corners within a 5km radius of his house, a custom normally conducted at the Synagogue. The Blowing of the Shofar signifies the announcment of significant dates on the Jewish Calendar. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann blows the Rams horn also known as the Shofar at a park in East Hawthorn on the 18th of September 2020. Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann will be blowing the Shofar on Sunday at 50 street corners within a 5km radius of his house, a custom normally conducted at the Synagogue. The Blowing of the Shofar signifies the announcment of significant dates on the Jewish Calendar. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.

Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann blows the Rams horn also known as the Shofar on a street corner on the 18th of September 2020. Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann will be blowing the Shofar on Sunday at 50 street corners within a 5km radius of his house, a custom normally conducted at the Synagogue. The Blowing of the Shofar signifies the announcment of significant dates on the Jewish Calendar. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
The Kallenbach family gathered around the dinner table listen to Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann deliver the Rosh Hashanah Drosha (sermon) live via Zoom on the 18th of September 2020. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
The Kallenbach family eat Apple slices dipped in Honey, a custom during Rosh Hashanah on the 18th of September 2020. Ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties, and the honey signifies the hope that the new year will be sweet. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.
A Silhouette of Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann as he blows the Rams horn also known as the Shofar at a park in East Hawthorn on the 18th of September 2020. Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann will be blowing the Shofar on Sunday at 50 street corners within a 5km radius of his house, a custom normally conducted at the Synagogue. The Blowing of the Shofar signifies the announcment of significant dates on the Jewish Calendar. Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Guardian.

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