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Celebrations in the Times of COVID-19

It has been very disheartening for couples who have planned the perfect wedding, the bar mitzvah boy who has learned his parsha and the parents who had the kiddush and party organised to a tee, excited for their son to enter adulthood.

Just because we are in lockdown and practicing social distancing, doesn’t mean we can’t continue celebrating milestones and special occasions.

We asked Rabbi Daniel Rabin (Rabbi of South Caulfield Hebrew Congregation and former president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria) for his valued input on celebrating during the current pandemic.

“In relation to weddings, members in our community have been happy to postpone celebrations. I actually officiated a wedding with 20 guests during the short period of time when restrictions were eased. The ceremony and small kiddush took place at the shule. Guests were able to link up via zoom and the couple was still able to have a beautiful simcha and share in the celebration with their loved ones. Even though, it was not what the couple had initially planned, it was a really special and intimate occasion.

On the birth of a baby boy, the mohel follows strict guidelines as to how to conduct the bris and often families will delegate honours carried out on a virtual platform

Celebrating a Bar Mitzvah is a bit more of a challenge in that no religious gatherings are currently permitted. Rabbi Rabin mentions that many Bar Mitzvah celebrations in the community have been postponed to next year (so that the same Torah portion can be read). Bar Mitzvah boys can still have an ‘aliyah’ when restrictions are eventually eased.

Shabbat and festivals are an imperative part of Jewish tradition and those who live alone may find it difficult to celebrate. Rabbi Rabin comments that it is important for anyone who may feel isolated and alone to try and connect through their local community organisations. There are various activities available including webinars, guest speakers, online prayer services and even kid’s programs.

Rabbi Rabin notes there are continuous updates and support from the Melbourne Beth Din and various Rabbinic forums to get guidance and advice on these matters.  “The most important thing is to stay connected and tap into a virtual community.”

A new trend has emerged for a virtual celebration, still creating long lasting memories. Here are some ideas to plan a pand-epic celebration!

Go virtual

Invite your guests to celebrate on zoom, facetime or similar platform. Ensure that elderly relatives or friends are still able to join in the fun.

At a recent zoom Bat Mitzvah, Dalia’s parents and siblings threw Hershey’s kisses at her, while guests threw sweets at their computer screens and sent her candy emojis in the Zoom chat!

Drive By’s

To make someone feel special on a birthday or milestone, drive by their house with a banner, music, party horns etc. You could even arrange an entourage / mobile parade of family and friends in cars driving by!

Noah’s family arranged for a surprise parade of cars of friends and family to come by and wish him Mazal Tov. “I feared it would be disappointing for Noah,” said his mother, “I felt a little insecure that it was so untraditional, yet also excited that we were forging new territory.” About 18 cars came by their home and Noah was delighted. “The biggest thing was how Noah felt,” his mother said, “He was on top of the world about the parade. It was huge, it was a really beautiful thing that our friends did.”

Fine Dining at Home

Rather than going out to eat, set up your own romantic restaurant-style date at home not mark the occasion. Options are endless with soft background music, candles and printed menus, your loved ones will truly appreciate your efforts making it a night to remember!

Party Boxes

Create or order a special box delivered to your guests, this can include anything from grazing boxes, afternoon tea, finger food, or even a whole meal!

Roquette Catering’s ‘Simcha Connect’ enables you to share your celebration with food packages, kiddush boxes or hampers to each of your guests. Contact our events team on 9939 3323 / office@roquettecatering.com.au to see how we can help plan your COVID celebrations.

Remember, it is essential to adhere to local government guidelines and restrictions at all times!


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