Dear Bet Torah Family,

 

As our vision for the High Holy Days becomes more clear, we would like to share details on how the Bet Torah community can be together spiritually, while apart physically, to celebrate the High Holy Days season that begins in late August. We are using your responses to the previous survey regarding Bet Torah’s virtual programming to guide High Holy Days planning. This email includes a lot of details and links, so please read through to the end and click each link.

Importantly, all services during Rosh Hashanah (September 19 & 20) and Yom Kippur (September 28) will be virtual and with no congregants or clergy onsite at Bet Torah. This decision was determined based on months of planning and under the recommendation of our medical advisory group – singing poses a particular risk because it creates aerosols and we want to protect the health of all congregants. Being together as one community virtually allows us to pray together and experience the richness of the full congregation.

 

You will have a choice of two separate virtual morning services – Sanctuary-style and Tent-style. The Sanctuary-style virtual service will be led by Rabbi Brusso and Cantor Ezring and will follow the more traditional liturgy in a webinar (large group) format to accommodate the broad membership. The Tent-style virtual service, led by Rabbi Sacks and Cantor Bletstein, will be interactive, engaging, and appropriate for members of all ages. It will be offered in a participatory and immersive format to allow for more engagement and discussion.

 

New this year, the entire congregation will come together in a webinar format for the Torah service and Rabbi Brusso’s sermon and then separate to conclude the morning service in either the “Sanctuary” or the “Tent”. The choice will be yours. Evening services, including Kol Nidre, will be offered in webinar format. We will also offer opportunities for congegants to join a virtual ‘hallway’ chat at certain times in the morning.

Because we will not be together in person, the High Holy Day service structure will have fewer spots for honors. Help us to recognize the dedication of our congregants who work on the front lines against COVID-19 as healthcare and other workers – yourself, a family member, a friend – by recommending that person for one of the limited honors. Please Click here.

 

To help us utilize technology to make your High Holy Days as meaningful as possible, please let us know via this short questionnaire if you plan on attending the Sanctuary service, Tent service or both, and the number of devices that will connect from your home. You are not obligated to stay within one or the other, but this will help guide us as we prepare for both services. We need an approximate headcount (well, actually a screen count!) to make sure the technology is set up to accommodate everyone.

 

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur afternoons and evenings will include even more time for discussion, more space for ideas, and more places to be, all virtually – a Young Family Service, holiday activities for children K-7th grade, small group discussions, shared meals, evening services, and more!

High Holy Days Mahzors will be readily available to use in your home. Click here for information on how to borrow, download, or purchase one or more Mahzor.

 

Embrace what is different this year

Embrace Elul, the month leading up to the High Holy Days and a time to explore the core High Holy Days themes of tefillah (prayer), tzedakah (social justice) and teshuvah (repentance). Watch for more information on the full menu of opportunities to participate. Here are just a few of the activities that are already planned:

 

 

 

 

Remote Learning

 

Classes on liturgy and melody, meditation, journaling, shofar blowing instruction, film and book discussions, new traditions.

 

Technology solutions make virtual services possible.

 

You will receive technology instructions, including links to the various services and other options, via email and on the website well before the holidays. Please email technologychair@bettorah.org  if you would like assistance or do not have the technology to access services.

 

We are excited about the opportunities to embrace what is different this year and look forward to sharing our High Holy Days plans with you as they continue to evolve.

 

Sincerely,

Amy Horowitz, President

Rabbi Aaron Brusso

Rabbi Lisa Sacks

Cantor Gil Ezring

High Holy Days 5781 Task Force