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High Holidays at Home FAQ

What will our High Holidays feel like?
Our services will be a hybrid of live-stream davening and pre-recorded content from congregants. There will be a one-way stream from the Sanctuary, and we will ensure that you have the link in advance in order to connect to our services.

How long will services be?
We don’t know the exact length, but services will be shorter than usual. We know that everyone’s capacity to be in front of a screen is shorter than sitting in shul, so services will be tightened and shortened, as will the rabbi’s sermon.

How will I log in?
Before Rosh Hashanah, we will be sending out a link for you to click on. It will take you directly to our stream.

Will there be Kaddish?
We’re exploring the possibilities of safely having a minyan (and no more) of people present so that we can include all of the prayers in the service, like Kaddish.

Hearing the blast of the shofar is one of my favorite parts of Rosh Hashanah. Will I be able to hear the shofar?
Yes! This year the first day of Rosh Hashanah is on Shabbat, and we don’t blow shofar when that’s the case. We’ll only blow Shofar on Sunday, the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah. There’s an interesting ruling that states the shofar has to be heard in its truest form – not through a recording or a microphone. This year, we’ll be taking shofar outside, and we will have two afternoon shofar services in the parking lot of the shul. We hope you will come to shul to hear the shofar on Sunday afternoon. We will, of course, get you more details in the coming weeks for you to register.

If I’m at home, how will I follow along with the service? Will I be able to borrow a machzor?
Yes! For Beth Sholom members, we are working to create a borrowing system so that each of you can be a part of the davening at home. You will also receive a copy of the Book of Remembrance.  For non-members, you can purchase a machzor here.

Will there still be honors, or other ways to have congregant participation?
We know that seeing other people in services is a highlight of the holiday experience. While the nature of congregant participation will be different, we are working hard to incorporate voices of others into our services through pre-recorded content.

Did you explore other options of how we could be in-person?
Yes. This was not the choice we wanted to make, but the one we made for everyone’s health and safety. We explored possibilities of having smaller groups in the Sanctuary for multiple shorter services, having services in the parking lot, or renting out other outdoor locations. Unfortunately, given security needs, the need to enforce social distancing (thus increasing the needed space), and the dangers of singing around others in this pandemic, none of these options were viable to maximize the High Holiday experience.

Will there be children’s programming?
Yes! Danny Kraft, our Director of Education and Youth Engagement, will be putting together programming for our youth. These will likely vary by age and will be a combination of digital content and engagement, and guided conversations, study, and prayer for children to do with their adults at home.

I love standing in front of the open ark at the end of Yom Kippur to have a personal moment of prayer. I’m sad to miss that this year.
We don’t want you to miss that! We’ll be creating a sign-up with short slots during the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (10 days of Repentance), the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The ark will be open and folks will be able to come into the Sanctuary during their designated slot and have their own moments of prayer. Stay tuned.

Will the service be recorded?
We are hoping to incorporate elements of pre-recorded content so that we can infuse our service with many people’s voices, even though they won’t be in the sanctuary at shul. The service itself, the live-streamed content of davening and speaking, will not be recorded out of halakhic concerns. If you’re interested in learning more, please talk to Rabbi Sarit.

With so many synagogues holding virtual services, I may try and bounce around a bit. Will you be able to give us exact times of when certain things will happen?
Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide exact times. We are cutting the service down, but we haven’t done this before so we don’t know exactly when certain parts of the service will happen.

Should I still wear the new outfit I got?
Absolutely! We hope you will still engage with our services in the way that you would in person. Wear that new outfit, put on your tallit and kippah, and set yourself up in a space that is comfortable and conducive to a spiritual experience.

How will I get more information?
We will continue to send out information, and you can also see the High Holiday section on our website that will continue to be updated as we move toward the holidays.

Tue, April 13 2021 1 Iyyar 5781