Frequently Asked Questions for the High Holy Days
Frequently Asked Questions:
What will services look like this year? How many different kinds of services will there be?
In many ways services will feel familiar, like those we’re accustomed to, but there will be some creative additions thanks to the hard work of our team of klei kodesh and staff. Services will be livestreamed to our portal directly from the Aaron Family Main Sanctuary—where there will be a small choir!—and the Beck Family Sanctuary. Crews will be brought in to ensure a high quality broadcast and capable backup systems in the event of a power or internet outage. We’ll also offer ReNew, our second day alternative service, in our video library on Rosh Hashanah Day 2.
How will people participate in services if they can’t come into the building?
We’ll provide many opportunities for members to participate through a combination of pre-recorded videos and live Zoom calls integrated in our services.
Why aren’t services on Zoom or Facebook Live like our other virtual services this year?
Services on our new, beautifully-designed, custom site, will provide exclusive access for our members and guests who have purchased seats. The Portal customization features will allow each of you to experience something unique and special, just for our Shearith family. (Zoom will be used for some gatherings.)
Will there be Family Services this year? What about Youth Services and High Holiday Camp?
Of course! Not only will there be Family Services and Youth Services, but there will be twice the number of services—two for Rosh Hashanah and two for Yom Kippur. These services will be pre-recorded and available in an Online Video Library so families can access them when the moment is right.
High Holiday Camp will meet in small groups over Zoom. Families will get details and materials when they pre-register. (See form in this mailing.)
What if I don’t have access to a computer or need help figuring out how to connect to our portal?
We’re committed to making sure every single member of our community has the ability to access our services this year. We’ve put together a team of volunteers, our Torah Tech Squad, who will be on call to assist those needing extra help. If you need assistance or loaner equipment, contact Katie Babin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will we gather for rituals like Tashlich?
While we encourage everyone to visit a natural water source and fulfill the mitzvah of Tashlich, we will not gather in larger groups as we have in previous years. We hope you will join us for one of our Shofar in the Parking Lot services, which will give us a chance to gather safely and hear the ancient call of the ram’s horn.
What’s the best way to stream services? On my computer? On my TV?
We highly recommend you participate in our services by connecting your computer to a large screen, like a widescreen television. Many laptops have an HDMI output that allows you to plug your computer directly into the TV. Additionally, devices like Apple TV and Roku also make it possible for you to “beam” the image and sound from your computer to the TV depending on your computer. Closer to Rosh Hashanah we will send out Tech Tips demonstration videos to help!
We discourage watching services from a laptop, tablet, or a phone. These devices are often used for work, school, and other stressful activities that might make it difficult to connect spiritually with the experience on the screen. We’re confident you will find it worth the time to figure out how to watch from a comfortable chair or couch!
How can I get a copy of the Digital Mahzor?
Digital copies of the Mahzor are available for download: issuu.com/store/code
Enter code: SN5ZEM4CYou can login with Facebook or Google, or create a new, free account. Once you access the mahzor, it may default to a left-to-right display. To make the mahzor readable in the correct direction, just drag the slider bar at the bottom of the display all the way to the right. Also, check out the Digital Mahzor FAQ here.
What are my membership dollars going to this year? Why am I being asked to pay for additional seats in the sanctuaries when they are not physically open to the community?
Shearith Israel has been sustained for 136 years by the generous support of our members. Membership dues reflect a commitment to ensuring that our spiritual, educational, and communal offerings fulfill our mission, vision, and values 365 days a year. Services, lifecycle events, classes, the Weitzman Family Religious School, and the Family Center continue to operate (and in some cases with greater frequency!) despite the pandemic. Over these past challenging months, our outstanding klei kodesh and staff have doubled their efforts to keep our community engaged and we are proud of the work we have done to bring people together in creative and meaningful ways during this period of separation.
Like you, we treasure the sanctity of the High Holy Days as a powerful point of connection between the community and the synagogue. Significant investment in technology and talent has been made to ensure that our online experience is of the highest quality, what our community has come to expect. The Portal
Access fee for additional logins for family members and non-members reflects this investment.