Rosh Hashanah services to go on with smaller crowds, COVID-19 safety precautions
The Jewish High Holy Days begin Friday night at sundown, but this year's services will look very different.
Rabbi Yakov Saachs will still be blowing into the shofar, a ceremonial ram's horn used to ring in the Jewish New Year.
But this year, the horn has been outfitted with a mask to fit a pandemic at the Chai Center in Dix Hills.
The temple is also being disinfected using a fog machine that pumps out hospital-grade virucide.
Services will also be smaller and social distancing rules will be enforced.
"We usually join together as a large community. And now we're going to be 50, 60, 70, as opposed to 1,000," says Saachs.
Everyone who comes to the synagogue has to go through a brief health screening before entering, which involves a temperature check and signing off to confirm they don't have any COVID-19 symptoms and haven't been in contact with anyone with the virus. Finally, hand sanitizer and masks are available at the door.
Even with those measures, some say they feel more secure at home. Mitch and Rebecca Feder plan to livestream this year's services from a relative's backyard.
"I like all the safety precautions they put in place at the Chai Center. I just have concerns about being in-person at this time," says Mitch Feder.
Rosh Hashanah continues until Sunday. Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, begins on the evening of Sept. 27.