A Rabbi blows the ram’s horn at a synagogue in Sydney. (Brook Mitchell)

Behaviour of a minority does not represent values of Jewish tradition

I tried to maintain the traditional sense of an oasis in time for the holy day, so I didn’t look at the news. I didn’t hear until Wednesday morning that a small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews had breached lockdown and barricaded themselves in a synagogue.

Like the overwhelming majority of Jewish people, I am angry and hurt by this selfish behaviour. In no way does it represent the values or beliefs of Jewish tradition and culture.

Most Jews in Melbourne had Rosh Hashanah like I did. Instead of the traditional feast shared around a long, loud table with my extended family, my husband and I ate the round bread and apples and honey alone.

Instead of singing the ancient prayers of reflection and meditation in community, I watched a Zoom service from the sofa.

Instead of feeling the visceral sense of connection which always runs through the congregation at the sound of the shofar, the ram’s horn, I stood on the street, carefully socially distanced from a shofar blower, who had received Department of Health and Human Services permission to perform this important ritual for neighbourhood families.

Read the article by Deborah Stone in the Brisbane Times.