For half a year now, faith leaders in Baltimore and beyond have summoned new reserves of creativity in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

They’ve mastered Zoom and other communications platforms. They’ve held drive-thru confessions, displayed holy objects from trucks, and sanitized prayer rugs and pews.

And this weekend, as the holiest day on the Jewish calendar arrives, the Baltimore area’s most strictly observant Jewish community will see changes in practice to fit the requirements of their faith.

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which begins at sundown Sunday and lasts through Monday evening, calls for fasting, self-reflection, and in ordinary times, formal services in synagogues.

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Many of Baltimore’s more than 95,000 Jewish residents will attend such services via computer screen this year, thanks to continuing fears around the pandemic.

But the Orthodox won’t have that option. Traditional Jewish law prohibits the use of modern technology during holidays, so if Orthodox Jews are to attend services, they must do so in person.

Rabbis are adapting in a range of ways to make that possible. Some plan to hold outdoor services Sunday night and Monday. Others will work under tents, broadcast across parking lots or hustle among rotating services.

Whatever their methods, one rabbi says, the goal will be the same one Jewish leaders have sought during difficult times throughout history: to keep traditions of the faith alive no matter the conditions. Read more at Baltimore Sun