High Holidays 5781
Rosh Hashanah Day 1
Rosh Hashanah Day 2
TBS High Holidays 5781 Pre-Registration FormPlease complete this form in its entirety in order to receive your personal Vimeo and Zoom links to access our online High Holiday services. All forms must be completed in full not later than Tuesday, September 15, 2020 in order to insure that you get the access information in a timely manner. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or requests for assistance. Thank you and Shana Tova!
High Holiday Planning
As we count down the waning days of summer, we look ahead to High Holidays 5781, which promise to be different, but no less meaningful, than in years past. This will be the first of several communications that you will receive in the coming weeks that will outline our plans for this year’s High Holiday services and events. It is very important that you read this note in its entirety, as you will need this information in order to participate in High Holiday services. Please note that the High Holiday procedures differ from those for weekday Minyan and Shabbat, so do not assume that since you read the email related to those services that you can skip reading this one that is specific to the High Holidays.
1. High Holiday Services will be an Online Experience for this Year
Our professional and lay leadership has been engaged in detailed discussions regarding how to handle the High Holidays in light of the COVID-19 pandemic since last spring. We consulted with medical experts on best practices; we enlisted architects and engineers to evaluate our physical plant to determine how to best equip our facility to re-open safely; we consulted with our sister Congregations and their respective leadership on their High Holiday plans; we spoke with many of you personally and we conducted a reopening survey to better appreciate your feelings and desires. After all of this work, we were forced to conclude that there is no “right” answer, nor a “one size fits all” solution to a problem with so many dimensions.
Ultimately, we decided to focus on what our best judgment told us we should do in the best interests of our congregants and professional staff, as opposed to what we might be allowed to do by law. With this as our guiding principle, we decided that High Holiday services this year will be an online experience for the vast majority of the Congregation. We will have a small in person presence in our Sanctuary composed nearly entirely of participants in the Services themselves. Our reasoning was based on the significant restrictions that we would have to have in place to safely run indoor services, the ability to properly enforce those restrictions and the impracticality of allocating what would still be a very limited number of available seats to our congregants, even with the restrictions in place. Significantly, this decision is consistent with the sentiment of more than 70% of the respondents to our reopening survey (to which we received in excess of 250 responses).
2. Structure for our High Holiday Services
Our clergy has developed a structure for our High Holiday Services for this year centered on two central components, as follows:
Experiential Morning Services: The first component of services, which will commence at approximately 9:00-9:30 AM on each day of the High Holidays, will consist of several different services that you can elect to attend based on your preference of experience. There will be a traditional service that will closely track our normal early morning and High Holiday Shacharit services, a youth service, a teen service and more. Other than the traditional service, these Experiential Morning Services will be accessible via Zoom. The traditional service will be live streamed from the Main Sanctuary (more on this below). You can expect that these services will last from 45-90 minutes depending upon the particular service, and a specific schedule will be emailed prior to the High Holidays.
Core Service: The second component of services will be a single, core service that will be live streamed from the Main Sanctuary. This core service will generally consist of the Torah service and reading, Shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah, Yizkor on Yom Kippur, the Rabbi’s Sermon and selections from the Musaf service. You can expect that this service will last approximately 2 hours on Rosh Hashanah and likely somewhat longer on Yom Kippur.
On Yom Kippur for both Kol Nidre and Mincha, we will have a single, live streamed service from the Main Sanctuary. For Ne’ilah, we will have both an Experiential service that will be similar to the Chapel Ne’ilah service in years past, as well as the Main Sanctuary live streamed service.
Limited “In-Person” Outdoor Experiences: Our “re-opening” survey indicated that a large number of our congregants were interested in attending outdoor High Holiday events. Therefore, we are planning the following limited “in person” experiences as well:
● On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, we will be having “public” Shofar blowing at various locations throughout our community. Most of the locations will be in front of people’s homes or in the TBS parking lot. We will send out a schedule of locations and times, and we only ask that you maintain social distancing and wear your masks if you choose to join in person to hear the Shofar. Note, we are not doing this on the first day of Rosh Hashanah since it is Shabbat and the Shofar is not used.
● We will be providing everyone with instructions on how to do Tashlich, the symbolic casting away of our sins by throwing bread crumbs into a body of water, and some suggested locations where you can perform this ritual with your family and friends (socially distanced, of course).
● On Yom Kippur afternoon, we will be having “in person” outdoor Yizkor services under tents at TBS. Depending on demand, we may have several of such services running concurrently that will be led by clergy members and qualified lay leaders. Yizkor will also be recited as part of the online services, so you do not need to attend in person to recite Yizkor.
We are considering other in person outdoor opportunities that we may announce closer to the High Holidays.
3. How do I access High Holiday Services?
Over the summer months, we invested in a significant upgrade to our live streaming capabilities from the Main Sanctuary. This upgrade will allow us to utilize multiple cameras and better sound equipment to create a production quality experience for you at home. We will also be able to incorporate pre-recorded segments and videos that will help us re-create some of the warmth of our normal in person services. This past Shabbat, we used our live streaming system for the first time and it was well received. We encourage you to join our Shabbat morning services in the weeks leading up to the High Holidays so that you can see the experience for yourself.
The Main Sanctuary live streaming will be done through Vimeo, and the Experiential services will be available through Zoom. Not to worry if you are unfamiliar with Vimeo, because just like with Zoom, all you will have to do to access the services will be to click a link that you will receive by email closer to the High Holidays.
In order to receive the Vimeo/Zoom links to our High Holiday services, you must pre-register by completing the High Holiday Pre-Registration Form by clicking the “High Holiday Pre-Registration Form” button on this page beginning on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. The High Holiday Pre-Registration Form will require you to include your name(s), email address(es), and screen name(s) (if different from the name(s) you register) for you and your family member(s) for whom you would normally purchase guest tickets. Please do not register the emails of anyone other than someone for whom you would ordinarily purchase guest tickets. Due to the unusual circumstances, we are not charging for guest tickets this year, but we would appreciate a voluntary donation to help offset the loss of revenue from guest tickets this year.
Only pre-registered email addresses of Members in good standing and the pre-registered emails of their usual guests will be emailed their personal High Holiday service Vimeo/Zoom links. PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THE LOGIN INFORMATION WITH ANYONE ELSE TO INSURE THE SECURITY OF OUR SERVICES. Only those people properly pre-registered will be admitted to Services.
We will be sending the Schedule of Services for Rosh Hashanah and the Vimeo/Zoom links via email to the registered email addresses on or about Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Similar information for Yom Kippur will be sent separately on or about Thursday, September 24, 2020. Please watch your email for this important information, as it will not be sent by regular mail.
4. How Do I Get a Prayer Book, Tallit, etc.?
We will be providing all Members in good standing with a “High Holidays at Home” bag that will contain everything you will need to participate in online services and celebrate the holidays at home. Bags will be available for pick up at TBS or, if you are unable to pick up your bag, we will arrange to drop it off at your home. Pick up at TBS will be contactless – just drive in and one of our volunteers will put your bag in your car. You will have the opportunity to borrow High Holiday prayer books and taleisim if you wish to have them included in your bag. More information will follow soon on pick up times and procedures.
5. Questions? We have (most) answers!
We know that this is a lot of information to process so if you have any questions, please send an email to email@example.com and someone will respond to you as soon as possible. This includes any difficulties filling out the High Holiday Pre-Registration Form. If filling out the form presents a challenge for you, let us know and we will help. If for some reason you are unable to email or if your question requires immediate attention, please call the office at 516-621-2288. We would ask, however, that you try if at all possible to email your questions, as the office is very busy at this time of year.
6. We Need Your Help Too
If you have not renewed your membership as of yet by returning your Fair Share card for 2020-21, please do so now. You can also renew your membership by visiting our website at www.tbsroslyn.org and clicking on the “Renew” tab in the upper right hand corner of our home page. This time of year is most vital to TBS’ finances for the upcoming year, so please help us continue to be here for you not just for the High Holidays but all year around. If you can, please consider increasing your financial commitment by joining the Rabbi’s Circle or the Joshua Society. Thank you!