We are looking forward to our Rosh Hashanah services beginning this coming Monday night. We are still planning on having a hybrid service which means that you can participate either in person or on Zoom.
This morning I want to let you know what to expect and what we, in turn, expect from you to make these services a good experience for everyone.
If you are participating by Zoom please make sure that you have obtained a copy of the High Holiday Machzor. They can be obtained in the synagogue during office hours or from a bin outside the office door at any time.
When you sign in to our Zoom meeting you will be sent to a waiting room until you are admitted by one of our hosts (if you participated last year this will be familiar). In order to make sure that you are admitted without difficulty, it is very helpful that your “Zoom name” be your actual name, first and last, and not something generic like “Galaxy S9” or “Zayde’s IPad.” If you don’t know how to do this, ask a teenager or college student who you know, or if you absolutely cannot figure this out, send me an email with the name you will be using and I will make sure our ushers know to let you in.
When you are admitted your microphone will be muted. Because we will have people with speaking parts over Zoom, you will have the ability to unmute yourself but please do not do so unless you are actively doing a reading, saying Kaddish, etc. Remember that anything you say while your microphone is on will be broadcast on Zoom and in the sanctuary, so we will have no choice but to mute you.
If you’ve not participated in one of our hybrid services since we began in June, please understand that a hybrid service presents many technical challenges. You may hear a slight echo while listening to the sound coming from the sanctuary. This is due to the acoustics of the sanctuary and the fact that we can only have one microphone operating there without creating massive feedback. We’ve worked hard to get the sound as good as we can and we have a final tech rehearsal later today but it simply will not be as good as if the service was entirely on Zoom.
If you are attending services in person:
We expect that you are fully vaccinated and we will take your word that you are. Someone who is willing to lie to get into a High Holiday service has bigger issues.
You are required to wear a mask at all times in the building. The only exceptions to the mask requirement are for service leaders while actively leading, who will be several feet away from everyone else.
Seating will be socially distant. We will use only every other row in the sanctuary. In the Sisterhood Hall, chairs will be set up in socially distanced pods. You can also help yourself to a chair and place it where you like.
There will be no Torah processional. If you have an aliyah and are doing it in person, please do it standing at your seat. In order to minimize contact, the gabbai will not be adjacent to the Torah scroll. The Torah scroll will be used for the main reading but the Maftir reading will be read from a printed Chumash.
Please respect social distancing while in the building. Your fellow congregants may not wish to shake hands, etc. If you wish to chat with your fellow congregants, please do so outside and not in the lobby.
If you are one of our shofar blowers and are doing it in the sanctuary, please attach a surgical mask to the large end of your shofar. Studies indicate that this reduces the emission of droplets which may spread the virus.
Thank you for helping us to make this year’s High Holiday services sacred and meaningful. Keleigh and I wish all of you a year of health, happiness, and peace.
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.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian