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{Reposted from the SATIRIC Preoccupied Territory website}

Jerusalem, October 22 – COVID lockdown measures over the last several months have created a dilemma for one local resident, who itches for restoration of some semblance of normal life but realizes that will bring expectations that he resume daily attendance at synagogue services, a prospect he does not relish.

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Avigdor Schenkolewsky, 50, has managed since March to earn his living from home as an organizational consultant, although, over time, he has bristled against the various restrictions keeping him and his family homebound in the interest of public health. He must maintain flexible work hours to facilitate his children’s distance learning, and misses the sit-down restaurant experience, even accounting for budgetary restraints that limited such excursions to the occasional fast food joint. Mr. Schenkolewsky told a reporter Thursday he looks forward to the country opening back up again once the coronavirus health crisis passes, except for the part about going to shul every day.

“I used to be a core member of the six a.m. minyan,” he recalled. “I was always there on time, almost never missed a day. Even when I didn’t have to get the kids up for school, I got out of bed, often when it was cold and dark, and trudged my way over there. Rain or shine, winter or summer. It’s been years since I davened at home on a regular basis. But I’m enjoying the freedom, the getting up later, the not having to venture out in inclement weather. Part of me wants this lockdown to become the permanent state of affairs.”

The father of four voiced relief that at least for the moment, his abstention from synagogue attendance enjoys the pretext of concern for the spread of COVID. “It’s less to do with what my peers will think than my wife,” he admitted. “As long as I can dress up my staying home as adherence to coronavirus guidelines, we’re good. But I’m not looking forward to when things open up and she starts asking why I’m not going to shul. That’ll probably be what tips the scales in favor of resuming my old routine. Ah, well.”

Schenkolewsky’s ambivalence regarding synagogue attendance has not prevented him from pontificating on widespread Haredi defiance of lockdown regulations to participate in such services without distancing or mask precautions, in keeping with the widespread Israeli practice of holding firm opinions on public interest issues about which one knows only a token amount.

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