Jews preparing to celebrate the religious New Year must bring their own ram's horn to synagogue and blow it in the opposite direction from other worshippers, new Government guidelines say.
The Government has issued a detailed checklist for the Jewish community ahead of its most important festivals of the year.
This weekend, Jews observe Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, followed by Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar which marks the Day of Atonement.
Both festivals usually involve packed synagogues and large family gatherings to break the Yom Kippur fast.
However, in accordance with new Government regulations, additional safeguards have been put in place to reduce the possibility of spreading coronavirus. This year, synagogues will have to ensure social distancing and avoid communal prayer shawls and books.
And for the first time, new regulations have been imposed on the blowing of the shofar – or ram's horn – for Rosh Hashanah.
The guidance says: "The shofar should only be handled by the person blowing the shofar. Where possible they should bring their own shofar and take it home with them after the service."
If more than one person needs to touch the shofar, hands should be thoroughly washed before and after the exchange, and the guidance calls for the shofar blower to maintain a two-metre distance from other worshippers.
It adds that "under no circumstances should more than one person blow the same shofar" and that "the shofar should not be blown towards worshippers".
The Torah does not specify why the horn is blown on Rosh Hashanah. However, it has been suggested that its call heralds the exciting event of the Jewish New Year. Jews consider it a good deed to hear the shofar being blown during the prayer service on Rosh Hashanah.
Other directives include that communal prayer books and prayer shawls, normally strewn around synagogues, must be removed, with worshippers told to bring their own prayer books.
Microphones should be used where possible, though these would normally be unacceptable in orthodox synagogues.
Mask-wearing is also advised, and people should not mix in groups of more than six in line with the new limits on social gatherings.