Since Southborough doesn’t have its own synagogue, I occasionally share news from Congregation B’nai Shalom in neighboring Westborough.
The Congregation asked me to share their announcement on how they are handling upcoming high holy days.
Congregation B’nai Shalom reimagines the Jewish New Year
In an effort to foster inclusivity and community and retain a sense of normalcy during this widespread pandemic, Congregation B’nai Shalom will be hosting “reimagined” High Holy Days services this September. The programming is open to everyone, including members, families and friends of members, or those not previously or officially affiliated with the synagogue. The services will be broadcast digitally and there will be components that will take place in person while adhering to all guidelines related to social distancing.
Rabbis Rachel Gurevitz and Joe Eiduson and their team have been working all summer to prepare for the Jewish New Year which begins on the evening of September 18 this year. To redesign a meaningful High Holy Day experience, they began by asking the members of the congregation, now entering its 42nd year, what was most important to them.
“The feeling of community and of Jews coming together at the same time to celebrate was the most important of all,” Rabbi Gurevitz reflected. “In our reimagined services and offerings, we have created ways, even online, to see and connect with each other during these holy days. Additionally, hearing the special melodies of the season, the chanting of Torah, and a spiritually-uplifting and inspiring message from the Rabbis, were important to congregants. Hearing the sounding of the shofar – the ancient instrument made from a ram’s horn – to announce the New Year. These are all components that people can expect to experience with us this year,” she continued.
Rabbi Eiduson, who has also been developing a reboot of the congregation’s successful Religious School program, Eitz Chayim, has brought the same creativity to engaging youth in the New Year celebrations. “We are offering short, interactive online gatherings with movement, song, activities and more for our children. We’ve also created an interactive online page full of stories, videos, and activities for families to do at times that work for them.” And, subject to the presence of Covid-19 in the community remaining low, we are also offering some in-person physically-distanced outdoor gatherings to help bring the experience of community and the message of the New Year to life for families with children.”
The reimagined services will include an online link, enabling remote participation, regardless of where they are located, to join the community. The congregation, just as they do in other years, is welcoming all who are seeking to celebrate the Jewish New Year to join them. “Grandparents, aunts and uncles, young adult children and college kids – wherever they are they can share an experience together this year with us.”
You can learn more and register to participate in these High Holy Day experiences at https://www.cbnaishalom.org/hhd
To learn more about Congregation B’nai Shalom, click here.