The memory of 2020 will be with us for generations, so too will this High Holidays season of 5781. A year when most of us will not be able to greet each other in person for the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe. If there was ever a year that we needed to be in Shul to hear the blowing of the Shofar and the singing of Kol Nidrei, it is this year. Sadly this will not be possible.
However, thankfully we live in the age of the internet, and we can gather as congregations online. I wish to thank all Rabbonim, lay-leaders and professional staff of our movement who have been enabling us all to be able to practice our Progressive Judaism online these past few months. The High Holidays programme this year will be very different, but I am sure that is will be very meaningful for us all.
We think of all those of our families, our friends, our congregations, our country and our world that have tragically perished from this terrible virus. We pray for all those that are battling to survive, and we continue to remain vigilant in our social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing to ensure that we stop the spread of the pandemic.
The symbols of apples and honey are so necessary at this time. Ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties, and the honey signifies the hope that the new year will be sweet.
May 5781 be a year of healing and sweetness. May we all soon be able to gather and greet each other again, in person, safely.
Shana Tova Umetuka!
Chairperson, South African Union for Progressive Judaism