Mass gatherings go hand-in-hand with holiday celebrations, but not this year. Religious services move online, families gather via webcams, and the coronavirus pandemic has all but ensured nothing will be traditional — a sad realization the Jewish community soon faces as the High Holy Days begin Friday at sundown. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate during these times.
First, about those services: although we’re used to gathering during these time, this year is looking digital. You can even tap into Shabbat services in Israel during the pandemic or tuning in to a temple in whatever time zone better fits the time of day you want to pray. Most temples already opted to broadcast services virtually, though, having been accustomed to doing so since COVID-19 halted in-person gatherings.
Many people are also feeling a loss of a connection, many have already expressed sadness and concern to the rabbis that these sacred traditions must be done at home this year — and for some, completely alone. But be encouraged to still dress as one would going to temple even if you’ll be watching services from the living room. Replicate the synagogue: Silence the cell phone, put out a tablecloth, placing pictures on it of the family you might normally be with this time of year, sing along to the hymns, light candles!
Look at it as a wider community! Virtual ceremonies do offer a blessing in disguise, though. People across the nation can share and participate in the same online service, bringing friends and family together to celebrate the High Holy Days despite being physically apart. We’ve been looking on the bright side for months, this is another way to continue doing just that!
This is not the way anyone would want to celebrate the upcoming holidays, but think of them as intimate holiday with the close people around you, and hopefully we look back on this setback with memories of how we still celebrated in a meaningful way.
Posts written by the Team ELM family!