Safety changes in place for Yom Kippur during pandemic
Sunday night marked the start of the holiest day on the Jewish calendar -- Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is the "day of atonement," but also a time of repentance.
As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the holiday observation is forced to change.
Rabbi Mendy Hurwitz, who heads the Chabad of Yonkers, says he and his congregation are preparing for this year's Yom Kippur celebration with everyone's health and safety in mind.
"As you can see, the seats are spread out, my children went around with measuring tape to make sure each one is 6 feet apart," he says.
For many secular Jews, the High Holy days are the only times of the year when they attend synagogue, causing a surge in attendance.
This year, when the candle lighting began at 6:25 p.m., those celebrating were asked to wear masks in addition to social distancing.
"It is the pandemic and we're trying to do the best we can. No one has all the right answers, but we can do the best we can," says Hurwitz.
Following the candle lighting, fasting for Yom Kippur began at 6:39 p.m. and continues until 7:22 p.m. on Monday.