Wednesday 28 October, 2020

Cayman's Jewish community celebrates the High Holidays

"May this new year of 5781 continue to be a healthy, blessed and meaningful one for the people of the Cayman Islands!"

This is the most recent greeting on the social media of the 500-member Cayman Islands' Jewish Community.

This year, the start of the Jewish New Year, as stated in the Bible (Leviticus 23:23-31) or Rosh Hashanah, began at sunset on Friday, September 18, and ended two days later at sunset on Sunday, September 20. Some years, Rosh Hashanah can start in early September or as late as early October.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, considered to be holiest day of the Jewish year. begins on the evening of Sunday, September 27, and ends the evening of Monday, September 28.

This year, Cayman's Jewish community enjoyed an intimate Rosh Hashanah with over 100 persons participating at either a Prayer Service, blowing of the shofar (ram's horn) or holiday meal.

In addition, 75 people joined for a Rosh Hashanah social at the Wharf.

The fast day of Yom Kippur is the most solemn day on the Jewish Calendar, where Jewish people do not eat, drink or engage in other pleasureful activities and spend the 25 hours of the holiday in prayer and reflection. This Sunday, there will be a service and a Children's program running alongside services.

Message from Berel Pewzner, Director and Rabbi of the Chabad Cayman Jewish Community

The High Holidays have long been an incredibly important time on the Jewish calendar.

These Ten Days of Repentance from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are a somber and momentous period when Jews gather to pray, reflect and ask for blessings not just for their own personal lives, but for the entire world.
Embedded in the prayers of these awesome days is the request for global peace and health, requests that are so prevalent this year as the world buckles under the pressure of an unprecedented virus and its consequences.

More people attend synagogues on Yom Kippur (observed this year from several minutes before sunset on Sunday, Sept. 27, to after nightfall on Monday, Sept. 28) than any day of the year.

This year, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread through much of the world, many will be unable to attend synagogue on the Day of Atonement.

Never have the words “who shall live and who shall die” in the High Holiday prayers, had such resonance.

We are gratified that the concern of Covid-19 has waned here in Cayman and that we are fortunate to be able to gather for in-person High Holiday services and celebrations.

 It is a special privilege and also our solemn duty as we are one of the only Jewish Communities around the world that will be able to gather without much concern for these upcoming High Holidays.

Visit for more info on the High Holidays.

With blessings for a Gmar Chatima Tova, a final sealing for good, health and peace for the coming year.

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