Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Cohen - Virtual High Holidays

Posted by RabbiCohen on Aug. 7, 2020  /   0

The High Holidays focus on introspection.  Still, on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we come together as a community because we recognize that we can support one another and bolster each other’s individual journeys together.   As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, explains,  “Community is society with a human face – the place where we know we’re not alone.”

Yet, this year at Beth Chai, instead of the beautiful, light-filled sanctuary at RRUUC, we will be gathering online for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.   Can we make these holidays still meaningful if we are not together?   Can we support each other as a community from our separate living rooms and offices?  I think so. 

It will not be a perfect substitute, but High Holiday chair Hillary Fitilis, liturgy chair Brandon Hemel, president Jake Stenzler, several other community members and I have been working this summer on developing a plan for an uplifting, meaningful, virtual High Holiday experience.   And, we are going to need the whole communities help to make it happen.    So, what can you do?

Both the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services will be prerecorded and edited to be engaging, with multiple voices and participants.  We need members of the congregation to volunteer to record themselves reading small parts of the service, so it can be edited into the larger presentation.  We also plan to include virtual musical clips, with musicians recording from their homes.

Please volunteer to be part of this High Holiday endeavor!  Both kids and adults can participate, and some parts will include parents and children together.   To participate:

  1. Visit and choose a spot for you and your family.  Please feel free to register multiple family members, including kids.  You will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on  And, does not share your email.
  2. A member of the High Holiday committee or I will be in touch soon with your part and instructions for recording your part.
  3. Record your part using your phone, tablet or computer and send it back to us. 
  4. Participate in High Holidays along with other members of the Beth Chai community!

Thank you for taking a part.   It will really add to the community’s High Holiday experience.   

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