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What are some of the similarities and differences between this year’s High Holy Days and a typical year at Congregation B’nai Shalom?

This year, all of our main services will be available on livestream, with some also available on Zoom. Our clergy and soloists are preparing to safely lead several main services together from our B’nai Shalom sanctuary.

  • •    Some of our services will be streamed on a special High Holy Day web page. Others will take place on Zoom, where additional opportunities for participation and interaction will be offered to create the community connections that we all thirst for.
  • •    While many services will follow a familiar format (our morning services, Kol Nidre, and Yizkor), other ritual gathering times have been redesigned to emphasize community connection. For example, instead of an Erev Rosh Hashanah service, we will invite all to light candles together and participate in a 30 minute ‘Seder’ with symbolic foods, timed to take place before your Rosh Hashanah evening meal at home.
  • •    We will provide a special guide to help you create a mikdash me’at – a holy space – in your home to enhance your experience of our online worship. 
  • •    For those who have been to our services before, we have kept the essence of our services, but most will last 1-1.5 hours online. This year, we will not offer multiple adult-oriented services. Whether you prefer our more musically-driven choral services or our more traditional a capella services, both styles are equally represented throughout the High Holy Days, but on different days.
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How will I get all of the links and information that I need to participate?

Congregants will automatically receive all the links needed to participate in will receive the links that they need to participate in services, both online and those taking place on Zoom. Guests who have registered prior to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will receive them a day before the holidays.
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Do I need anything special to participate?

For some ritual gatherings, we encourage you to set up ritual items or symbolic foods in your home space to more fully join us in the experiences we are creating.Keep an eye out for important information that will help you to prepare for each ritual event.
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Will we hear the Shofar this year?

Yes! There will be several opportunities to hear the shofar. Shofar calls will be included in our online services. Our Shofar team will also be providing live shofar calls from a safe distance during our outdoor experiences. If you own a shofar, please join with us during the online services from your own home. Additionally, we will be providing a toy shofar to all of our Eitz Chayyim students.
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When will I hear the Rabbis’ sermons this year?

This year, our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur morning sermons will be ‘premiered’ a short time after the end of morning services. Those who would like to hear our messages after morning services will have the opportunity to stretch their legs first. Once premiered, the sermons will be available to watch on our CBS Youtube Channel at any time, so if you would prefer to take a longer break, you can listen at a time that is convenient to you.
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Will I hear Torah chanted this year?

Yes! We have invited all of our lay leaders who regularly chant Torah and Haftarah for us to do so this year. Some will be pre-recorded chanting from our scroll in the sanctuary. Others may be chanted live when we are together on Zoom (e.g., Second Day Rosh Hashanah).
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What will we use as a prayer book?


We will share all of the liturgy that you need to participate in our services online. The CCAR Press (Central Conference of American Rabbis) has made a complete set of Visual Tefilah (online slides) of our High Holy Day Prayer Book, Mishkan HaNefesh, available to congregations this year.

We will also provide our congregants with the opportunity to sign out a set of our books (one per household). Pick-up dates will be scheduled in the week prior to Rosh Hashanah. This will enable you to explore the richness of the liturgy, the reflective essays and beautiful poetry that we can only dip into during our communal prayer services.
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What are you providing to engage our children?


A lot! On the morning of both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, prior to the main congregational services beginning, our Youth team will be providing a program of multiple 15-30 minute interactive activities, including movement, singing, crafts, and more. We have also created interactive online resources that you can explore at any time. Check out this one for Rosh Hashanah! 

We know that watching a service online is not the most effective way to engage children. That is why we have created a special outdoor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur experience, subject to continually low covid numbers in our area. These experiences will be approximately 30 minutes and will include stories, blessings, shofar, and opportunities to reflect as a family. Rabbi Gurevitz and Rabbi Eiduson will be present at these gatherings.

On Rosh Hashanah an outdoor ritual gathering will take place. On Yom Kippur, we have designed an interactive self-guided walking trail. We are controlling group size with advance sign ups and teams of ushers to help maintain social distancing before, during, and after these ritual gatherings. This enables us to gather in a safe way and provide families with children the opportunity to see each other, which many of our families told us was such an important component of their High Holy Day experiences.
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Are there any in-person opportunities for those who don’t have children?


Yes. Due to capacity limits, the following in-person opportunities will only be available to congregants:

  • •    We will provide a short gathering opportunity at the end of the Rosh Hashanah family experiences to hear shofar. You will be able to hear shofar live either from your car in the B’nai Shalom or Hastings parking lot, or by standing in the field.
  • •    We are also providing an opportunity to visit the temple sanctuary on Yom Kippur afternoon. You will be invited to sign up in 15-minute time slots. During this time, you may have a brief moment of prayer before the open ark and/or sit for silent meditation. Ushers will help maintain physical distancing, and all choosing this option are required to wear a face mask at all times.
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Will there be a Tashlich ritual this year?


Tashlich (“cast off”) is the gathering by moving waters where we toss out crumbs (we use ecologically-friendly birdseed) to symbolically release our sins from the past year and commit to trying to do better in the year to come. 

This year we are providing the resources to enable you to do tashlich in your own time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. You might choose to connect with a small number of families or friends to go on an outing together. 

We will provide a ritual sheet and accompanying video/audio recording that includes several suggested locations in local towns. A pdf of the sheet and link to the video will be sent to all of our guests via email. B’nai Shalom congregants will receive this, along with some bird seed, as part of a special CBS Cares High Holy Day package that will be delivered to your home. 
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Tue, April 13 2021 1 Iyar 5781