The pandemic has curtailed indoor religious services, leaving so many wondering how to pray, hear the shofar and come together during the Jewish High Holy Days. Rabbi Levi Illulian of One Lev Org, known as The Rabbi of the Flats, decided to do something about it.
“I thought to myself, why don’t I create an opportunity for congregants to observe Rosh Hashana’s most meaningful traditions while keeping with social distancing guidelines?” He also wanted to do something meaningful in honor of those unwell, especially his 11-year- old-student, Rachel, who is currently battling a brain tumor.
After spreading the word to the extended community, the Rabbi took his shofar, a historical Torah scroll provided by community member Jack Khorsandi, along with hand sanitizer and masks, to Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills.
What he saw overwhelmed him. A crowd of over four hundred had gathered there in anticipation.
“The atmosphere was electric with holiday joy as the crowd kept growing and each participant had the opportunity to hear the traditional shofar blowing, make a prayer by the Torah, and join festive holiday song.
A solemn Kaddish ceremony was also held and prayers were made for a peaceful, healing year for all of humanity,” one participant described.
“In a time when most could have excused themselves for foregoing the high holiday observance, so many showed up eager to connect to God in this most meaningful way and with so much Jewish energy and pride. We thank the Beverly Hills Park Rangers for their help in keeping the crowd properly distanced and safe. This definitely will be a Rosh Hashana remembered for a long while,” Rabbi Illulian told the Courier.