On Friday some of you may have tried to sign up to attend Shabbat morning services in person and found that you couldn’t get to the registration form. Many of you were unable to get to our Zoom for Friday night services. I know this because in both cases a number of you contacted me for assistance.
The problems were not with Zoom or with Google Forms but rather with Vertical Response, the service we use to send out mass emails. What I learned on Friday is that if you click on a link that is contained in an email we send you via Vertical Response (even if it is forwarded to you by the office or by someone else), you are not actually going directly to that web address. You are first going to Vertical Response which is then sending you to the actual web address. When everything is working this takes place so quickly that you are unlikely to notice it. But if Vertical Response is down, you’ll get an error message and if you look at the web address of the error message, you will see that you are at Vertical Response (vresp.com) and getting a message that they are working on it and it will be back up soon. (“Soon” in this case meant several hours.)
If this happens again -- and some of you figured this out -- you can still get to the desired website by cutting and pasting the link and putting it directly in your browser. You can also “bookmark” our Zoom address: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6450339344?pwd=cW9WMzI0OGp0bzdqdmVvTGFzVHRGUT09
but this won’t work for our Shabbat morning registration forms which change from week to week.
I actually knew about this problem by late Friday morning but of course with our bulk email provider being down, could not send out an email letting you know of the problem and of the workaround. If you wanted to participate in services Friday evening but were unable to do so, I apologize and hope the information above will prevent a recurrence of the problem.
Because Vertical Response was down you also did not receive your usual Friday afternoon email with announcements and the weekend schedule.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. I have been spending more time in the synagogue recently but if you want to speak with me it’s best to make an appointment rather than assuming I will be there when you stop by.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian