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A pandemic judgment day: Yom Kippur marked worldwide in shadow of COVID-19

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NEW YORK (JTA) — In synagogues and in their parking lots, in backyard tent services and on Zoom, Jews around the world spent the Yom Kippur holiday offering one last plea to avert death and be inscribed in the book of life for the year to come.

Their prayers came amid a spike in COVID cases in Jewish communities in New York, Israel and around the globe that threatens to drive the pandemic death toll up yet again not long after the United States surpassed 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

As the Jewish world prepared for Yom Kippur, already a day in which matters of life and death are front of mind, the gates were closing not only on repentance but on the opportunity to avert a second wave of infection in Jewish communities around the world.

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In New York City, a deadline to lower the COVID-19 test positivity rate in several Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods loomed as Yom Kippur neared. Israel shattered its daily infection record yet again, with 8,315 new cases in the 24 hours that ended Saturday evening. And in Chicago Friday, Orthodox doctors warned that a “second wave of COVID-19 has begun to spread rapidly throughout our community.”

While most synagogues made........

© The Times of Israel

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