Rabbi's Update 12/6/2021
This morning I want to share with you just a couple of quick notes.
On Wednesday I sent you a very brief outline of my understanding of Jewish teaching on abortion, given the Supreme Court case which was being heard that morning. Last year during my “Contemporary Jewish Controversies” class we had two sessions on the question of abortion. All of my classes are recorded and uploaded to YouTube so if you are interested in learning more on this issue, please check out the two videos:
Contemporary Jewish Controversies: Abortion Part I
Contemporary Jewish Controversies: Abortion, Part II
In my email on Friday morning I explained that for the next several weeks with Shabbat ending much earlier than our 7 pm Havdalah service, we would be shutting off our Zoom after the end of Shabbat morning services rather than letting it run until the end of Shabbat. It’s been brought to my attention that my explanation was unclear so I’ll try to be clearer.
In essence, the current guidance from the Conservative Movement says that we should make it possible for people to participate in our Zoom Shabbat services without touching or interacting with their computer on Shabbat. If I start our Zoom meeting before Shabbat begins, someone who wants to follow this guidance can log in to the Zoom before Shabbat, keep their computer running for all of Shabbat, and not have to interact with it. While I do not believe that we have any congregants who actually follow this practice, and I believe that this guidance is more stringent than necessary, I want to make it possible to do so if someone wishes.
The complication comes from the fact that a Zoom meeting will shut down after 40 minutes unless there are two devices logged into it. From Friday afternoon through the end of Shabbat morning services this is not an issue as we have two devices logged on in our Sanctuary to enable our hybrid service. The problem comes when Shabbat morning services end -- because we have a church group renting our Sanctuary from late Saturday afternoon, it’s necessary for us to remove our Zoom equipment from the Sanctuary at the end of the service and this, of course, means shutting down those two devices.
In order for the Zoom to keep running it’s necessary for two other devices to remain logged in to the meeting and we have to rely on congregants to keep their computers running through the end of Shabbat. But when Shabbat ends at 5:30 or 6 pm and Havdalah is at 7, this step is not necessary. Even if you wish to follow Conservative Movement guidance and not touch your computer at all during Shabbat, the fact that the Zoom meeting is shut down does not prevent you from following this guidance. You can still leave your computer running and then log back in to the meeting for Havdalah at 7 pm.
We send our condolences to Lynn, Danny, and Melanie Anton on the passing of their husband and father Bob Anton. Funeral services are this morning at 11 at King David Memorial Gardens in Falls Church and a hybrid shiva minyan is at 7:45 tonight with participation on Zoom or in person at the Anton residence, 20061 Doolittle St. in Montgomery Village. In person participants must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask.
May Bob’s memory be a blessing and may God comfort all who mourn.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at email@example.com or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. Although I am working primarily from home, I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian