Rob Obler, President


A Different High Holidays in 2021 - Again


This month we celebrate the High Holidays of Judaism, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is a time for us to renew our spirit, ask for forgiveness, and look forward to a new year.

In years past, I recall celebrations with the whole extended family and friends, with a festive meal, and high hopes for the coming year. Last year, this was not possible because of travel restrictions and concerns about COVID-19. We missed the camaraderie of seeing our friend in shul. We hoped that next year would be ’normal’.


Once again, these holidays are coming at a time when we are again in crisis. In early July, we thought we were finally coming out of the 18 month nightmare of Covid-19. By late July, we were beginning to see the surge of the Delta variant and by the fist week of August, it was looking like it did at the height of the pandemic. It moved so quickly we could hardly believe it. Again, we are looking at a year that may not be ‘normal’.


So here we are, wearing masks again, keeping our distance and having reduced capacity in some gatherings, such as services. We thought we would be having a ‘normal’ holiday time. Instead, we are taking nearly the same precautions we were taking before. We must remember that wearing or not wearing masks falls into the “love thy neighbor” category. Wearing a mask not only protects you, but also protects the people with whom you share your life – your family, your friends, your colleagues and even strangers you pass on the street. It’s about all of us being concerned for the people we know and love, and those we only know in passing.


We can only hope the Delta variant is controlled soon and there are no more variants after this; however, viruses need a host to mutate. As long as people are not vaccinated, do not wear masks and keep getting Covid, there are likely to be more variants in never ending cycles of illness and recovery. Please make it a commitment as part of this holiday season to do everything you can to avoid getting and spreading disease.


May we all be sealed in the book of life for the new year.


L’shana tova,


Rob Obler, Naples Jewish Congregation