After careful planning and consultation with our Covid Taskforce and the KE Board, I am pleased to announce our High Holidays schedule. We have worked hard to be safe while also creating connection. We want to follow all guidelines and offer something that is rich, memorable and impactful. This email will summarize our offerings. Please also watch for a separate KE email, with signups and more in-depth details on times and links.
In preparation for the holidays, we will be offering a chance to sign up in advance to spend 10 minutes on Sept 6th with your household in the Sanctuary at the Ark, so you can have a spiritual moment in person and a chance to be in our new Sanctuary. Then, please come to KE on Sept 13th to pick up our interactive bags to help you bring the holidays home with you. The bags will include a loaner copy of our mahzor, a Yizkor book, a special booklet for Rosh Hashanah eve and Tashlikh, among other gifts to make the holidays at home more meaningful.
Selichot this year will be part of a national effort with the Rabbinical Assembly. They are offering programs for 7 hours on that night. We will send you links as they become available for learning and services from a variety of Conservative congregations.
As Rosh Hashanah arrives, all but one of our offerings this year will be virtual. In addition to Zoom, many of our offerings will also be streamed from our website on a YouTube Live link. If you have friends or family who want the Zoom link, please use our High Holidays registration form (which will be distributed shortly). We are offering our services to all this year with no charge.
Services on Rosh Hashanah will be from 9am-12:30pm with units for morning prayers, Torah reading, and Musaf. We will also offer a full set of family and children’s services both days from 10:30am-12pm. Family programs will require registration. We will have options both days, including a special gratitude and Torah service led by Rabbi Graff, as well as a contemplative service with Rabbi Eilberg second day.
Rosh Hashanah second day we are offering two identical in-person services, one at 4pm and one at 5:30, to gather to hear the Shofar, pray together, and to release butterflies in celebration of the New Year. Each session will have no more than 60 people observing social distancing protocols. The Shofar will be sounded in the Sanctuary with the doors closed to avoid risk. This service will require pre-registration for contact tracing, and one of the services will also be streamed if you want to participate virtually. We are also participating in a community-wide endeavor to have people sound the Shofar at 3pm on 2nd Day Rosh Hashanah from their driveway everywhere.
Yom Kippur services will follow a similar template, running throughout the day with Kol Nidre at 6:15pm and then Neilah the following night at 6:15pm. Rabbi Graff will speak Sunday night, Kol Nidre, and I will speak Monday morning after the Torah service. Yizkor will immediately follow my sermon around 11:15 or so. I will be offering an alternative Musaf that day. And again we will have family and children’s services throughout.
Finally, Yom Kippur ends at 7:30pm on Sept 28th. We are hoping the entire community will join us for Havdalah together. We cannot join in person- but we need each other more than ever. Your Rosh Hashanah bag will include a Havdalah set to share this beautiful service together as a congregation.
I never would have imagined that this month of Jewish holidays would look like this; and yet, I am getting excited about what we are offering. I believe it will have real beauty and meaning and will help us feel connected and enlivened as we enter the new Jewish year, with profound hopes for a year of healing, peace, and respect for human dignity.
Rabbi David Booth