Manchester Jews can have ‘private socially-distanced shofar blowing’
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Manchester Jews can have ‘private socially-distanced shofar blowing’

L’Chaim Chabad looks to help the community celebrate Rosh Hashanah under Covid-19 restrictions, also offering a special new year package of honey, grape juice, candles and cake

Shofar on top of a prayer book
Shofar on top of a prayer book

Manchester’s Jews have been told that they can request a “private socially-distanced shofar blowing” outside their house or apartment for Rosh Hashanah, as well as a special new year package of honey, grape juice, candles and cake.

The offering from L’Chaim Chabad is being coordinated through a website which also shows the location of public shofar blowing throughout the city on Sunday, events typically taking place in parks or street corners.

“We want to make sure as many Manchester Jews as possible hear the shofar on Sunday, despite coronavirus restrictions,” said organisers of the Shofar Support initiative.

“Anyone who needs to can also request one of 2,000 Rosh Hashanah packages of honey, honey cake, grape juice, candles, booklets about Rosh Hashanah and cards with key Rosh Hashanah prayers.”

Shofar blowers in the north-west have been told that they can volunteer via the website, with L’Chaim having bulk bought shofrot for loaning out, as well as making online courses on the art and halachot of shofar blowing available for free.

In normal years volunteer shofar blowers would visit Jewish patients in hospitals and Jewish residents in care homes, but ever-changing coronavirus restrictions, particularly in Greater Manchester, have led to the charity “making special arrangements to blow outside windows so that patients and residents can hear”.

Participating organisations include Bury, Heaton Park, Hillock and Higher Prestwich Hebrew Congregations, Holy Law Congregation, Meade Hill Shul, Prestwich Hebrew Congregation, Shaare Hayim Synagogue, South Manchester, S&P and Stenecourt Synagogues, Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation, Manchester Chabad organisations, Heathlands, and the Fed.

“This is a massive operation, collaborating with the different shuls and rabbis,” said Rabbi Levi Cohen of L’Chaim.

“Thank God, there is unity between everyone to try and make this Rosh Hashanah not just as similar as possible to a regular Rosh Hashanah, but to make it positively unique and unforgettable, reaching out to every single person. I want to make sure that nobody feels left out. It should be better than every other year.”

Rabbi Daniel Walker of Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation said: “L’Chaim Chabad’s unwavering commitment to every Jew is needed this year even more than usual. Thanks to their unceasing efforts, everyone will still be able to hear the shofar this Rosh Hashanah. That is a true blessing for all the community.”

Rabbi Dovid Lewis of South Manchester Synagogue said: “In this year of doubts and difficulties, listening to the shofar has threatened to become inaccessible to many. “For that reason, I am proud to partner Shofar Support and L’Chaim Chabad to help ensure that Jews across Greater Manchester are all able to hear the shofar wherever they may be, to bring the sound of the shofar to each and every Jew.”

To arrange a private shofar blowing and/or Rosh Hashanah package go to www.shofar.support or call 0161 792 6335 extension 8.

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