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20% of COVID cases among Haredim, fueling fears of holiday surge at synagogues

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Some 20 percent of Israel’s active coronavirus cases are among ultra-Orthodox Jews, though the community only accounts for 12 percent of the population.

Members of the community are considered most likely to pray indoors at synagogues — more than Modern Orthodox Jews who have been more open to moving their prayer services outdoors — raising concerns there could be a significant coronavirus spike among Haredim after the long prayer services held on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

Mani Hadad, spokesman for the Health Ministry’s ultra-Orthodox desk, reported the figures to The Times of Israel on Monday hours before Rosh Hashanah begins, expressing fears the festival may lead to further increases in morbidity.

He noted problems with adherence to COVID-19 regulations in the Haredi community, saying: “Sadly there isn’t diligence about the wearing of masks in many synagogues.”

He stressed, however, that “people are vaccinating, there has been good take-up of booster shots, and people are carefully observing quarantine orders when........

© The Times of Israel

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