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Let the Shofar Sound: Our Hybrid and Hopeful Approach to the High Holidays

Dear Friends: 

We are now weeks away from the Days of Awe. We will pray. We will sing. We will gather…yet it must largely be a virtual gathering. These Days of Awe may be unlike anything you have experienced in the past—but they will be. So in this positive spirit, we want to begin to share the planning and vision that are guiding your Synagogue Emanu-El team.

First, the Re-opening Task Force has been hard at work assessing health trends to help shape the synagogue's plans. The principles guiding our discussions have been an uncompromising need to protect health. We have worked hard to carefully craft protocols that enable us to be among the first to conduct limited in-person services. As an update, these are the guiding principles:

  • We remain at Level 4 Response to Covid 19. At this level, any events inside or outside the building are now limited to 15 participants, and safety precautions must be followed by all attendees and staff. The staff are returning back to work in a managed and careful way to ensure everyone’s safety. To review the complete Covid 19 Response Levels click here.
  • The Task Force has stressed the importance of following the protocols for safety of participants. There will be signage at the building, and staff/lay leaders will require all participants to follow the protocols at any event. There will be no exceptions made to these rules.
  • Specific events are reviewed by the staff and Task Force Chairs, and when needed reviewed by the full committee. Our plans will be updated regularly based on information from healthcare professionals and our experience conducting limited programming.

So the good news is that we will be here for you over the Holidays, seeking the prayer, music, and connections as we do every year. It may be harder to connect, but the depth and meaning of the Holidays can be as powerful as ever. Here is what you can expect:

  • High Holiday Services: We will be maintaining a full schedule of Holiday services using our streaming and zoom services, and individualized/small group programs. You can now get in the streaming spirit each Shabbat by checking out the broadcast on our website. A full High Holiday schedule will be posted later this week.
  • High Holiday Prayer Books: We are offering to all congregants the opportunity to check out a Holiday Machzor. Please email Leah Bowzard so that we can set aside a prayer book for you, and have a record of books that have been borrowed.
  • Getting Involved: Attendance on-site will be limited to those who are participating (having an Aliya, reading a prayer, leading a service). If you are comfortable being in the building as a participant, please email Daphne Hubara. As feasible, from Rosh Hashanah to Simchat Torah, we hope many can participate on site as service participants despite the limited attendance. We will work to honor all requests.
  • Other Good Stuff In the Middle: We are working to find blessings in the topsy turviness of the current pandemic.   One way will be to offer you new paths to engage in Jewish meaning and tradition. An example is the current Tashlich experience offered by the Rabbi.  We are preparing High Holiday bags for every family, with items that will invite you to engage from home in each holiday. Details will be shared in the High Holiday scroll on this, and much more.

We are excited to be slowly, carefully re-opening and re-engaging. We are committed to doing so safely. We are hungry to get back together spiritually with our community…whether virtually or in-person. And it bears repeating early and often—we wish for you all a l’shana Tova Umeteka, a sweet New Year. 

Sun, May 16 2021 5 Sivan 5781