I never expected to become a fake Rabbi. But this year, on Yom Kippur of all days, it happened. In the middle of the Pandemic, Jews were faced with the problem of marking the holiest day of the year without being able to meet up even for prayer. Communal prayer is a central feature of Judaism, especially on the day when we collectively atone for our sins. As the day approached, my family’s discussions (by FaceTime, of course) increasingly focused on how depressing it was going to be sitting at home alone, not eating.
An idea quietly formed in my mind. What if I could put on some sort of Covid-safe substitute? I enrolled on a three-hour evening course, via Google Hangouts, with a Rabbi in Islington who taught me how to blow the shofar (an instrument made from a ram’s horn, which is sounded at the end of the service).