Hundreds of Jewish worshippers were spotted celebrating Yom Kippur after they were granted an exemption to mark the religious holiday during lockdown in Sydney.
Worshippers were seen participating in the celebrations at Bellevue Hill, in the ritzy eastern suburbs, on Wednesday.
Minister for health Brad Hazzard had provided an exemption for celebrants to gather outdoors and celebrate the most important holiday in the Jewish faith.
A photo taken by a bystander showed celebrants gathered at a park and wearing face masks. At least two police officers were spotted monitoring the celebrations.
More crowds were also spotted around Sydney with worshippers turning out in the dozens to observe the religious holiday.
The photos paint a very different picture to celebrations in Melbourne with residents banned from gathering outdoors and forced to mark the religious holiday in their homes.
The widespread ban came after up to 30 followers were caught attending a series of Jewish New Year services in breach of lockdown orders at Ripponlea on September 7.
Six people were fined $5,452 each following an intense standoff between worshippers and police.
While NSW residents were granted an exemption they still had to follow the rules on outdoor gatherings, which differ slightly inside and outside the 12 local government areas of concern in western and south-western Sydney.
Worshippers outside of the 12 LGAs were not allowed to travel further than the 5km radius and could only gather in groups of five people. They were also required to carry proof of vaccination.
Residents living in the areas of concern were only allowed to leave their homes with members of the same household. They also had to carry a vaccination certificate and follow the 5km travel radius.
They were also only allowed outdoors for two hours to mark the religious occasion.
A NSW Police spokesperson said the worshippers had followed the rules of the exemptions and nobody was caught in breach of public health orders.
The illegal gathering in Melbourne last week was condemned by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.
‘The actions of a few do not represent the vast majority of our community who have celebrated Rosh Hashanah at home only with the people with whom they live, and just like the wider community, continue to follow the rules,’ they said in a statement.
A television cameraman was injured during the stand-off between those illegally gathering and police.
Footage later emerged showing worshippers climbing over a roof to attend an illegal gathering.
The footage had been widely circulating in WhatsApp groups across the city before going viral.
The video showed a man in traditional dress climbing onto a roof before scaling down a ladder and into another building.
The condemnation by the Jewish community was welcomed by Premier Daniel Andrews.
‘I understand this has been a difficult year for lots of people … if you break the rules we will be in lockdown longer,’ he said at the time.
‘I have not seen the footage and I do not want to cast aspersions on any groups or any section of our community.
‘The Jewish community called out that behaviour and were very quick to do it and I am very grateful to Jewish leaders for doing that.’
Daily Mail Australia has been told sections of the Jewish community contacted Victoria’s health department in the hope of being granted an exemption to the lockdown to gather for Yom Kippur.
It is understood a who’s who of Melbourne’s business community reached out to the Andrews Government, including several doctors, who have backed the request.
Daily Mail Australia contacted the Department of Health and Victoria Police for comment.Internet Explorer Channel Network