by: Kate Norman
Friday, 27 March 2020 | With nearly half a million people infected worldwide and over 21,000 dead from the COVID-19 coronavirus, the world is changing as governments across the globe close their borders and restrict people to their homes to curb the spread.
In Israel, people are restricted from going further than 100 meters (328 ft) away from their homes except for essential errands like buying food or going to the pharmacy. Synagogues, churches and other places of work are shut down and seats lie empty.
However, to misquote Dr. Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park: “Humanity always finds a way.”
Though people aren’t allowed to gather or even be in the same room, across the globe they are finding ways to connect using technology and social media.
Israel has closed down its schools and universities—as well as its yeshivot (religious schools)—but that hasn’t stopped students and rabbis from meeting together for prayer, teaching and encouragement. Only instead of meeting in synagogues and classrooms, they are meeting virtually in online venues like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facebook Live and other streaming platforms.
One such meeting featuring chief rabbis from around the world drew half a million viewers, the Jerusalem Post reported. Rabbis from Israel, China, the US, France and other places united to offer prayers, supplications for deliverance and healing for the sick, words of encouragement and to blow the shofar (ram’s horn.)
Though most of the broadcast was conducted in Hebrew, the CEO of the Orthodox Union (OU) in Israel, Rabbi Avi Berman, offered encouragement in English.
“This evening we are looking up to heaven and connecting communities all over the world…Countries’ borders have been shut down,” Berman said. “People are staying at home, and in some wondrous way, this physical distance is connecting our hearts.”
“We are all loving each other more as one man with one heart,” he continued. “A prayer like this brings with it unity in which we are not praying only for ourselves but also for our fellow human beings, has a special power to it. Each community is praying not only for itself but for each and every other community in the world as well.”
“May Hashem our Father in heaven send us and all humanity a full and complete recovery,” he concluded.
The global prayer event was organized by a yeshiva student and a group of his friends partnering with the OU.
“On mad days like these, when everyone is locked inside their homes, and we can’t even get together to pray or learn to help combat the epidemic, we’ve decided that while the situation could separate us physically but not spiritually,” yeshiva student Yarden Leitner told Israel National News. “We decided we could try and unite like the people of Israel have never united before.”
“Through a global prayer, together with other Jews all over the world, we have joined together leading rabbis from around the globe with hundreds of thousands of online viewers in a prayer to combat the virus and for a speedy recovery for the infirm,” Leitner concluded.
Posted on March 27, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 27, 2020)
Photo Credit: Himsan/pixabay.com
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