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This year we’ll be home for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. As we set aside our annual feelings about going to the synagogue for the High Holy Days, we realize we need to think differently about what it can mean to welcome the new Jewish year. This year we will reflect on the course and meaning of our lives and celebrate our Jewish heritage by ourselves, or perhaps with our families, or maybe even gathered with a few friends. 

Some of us may feel a sense of loss. We can’t join together in our customary ways. Other of us may feel a sense of excitement. We can create the mood and moments that will fill our High Holy Day season with delight. Many of us are also wondering. How are we going to do this? What are we going to do?

Here’s how we can help you, and how we’ll connect as a synagogue family to begin the New Year.


Come to our Congregation Beth El campus to say “Shanah Tovah” in person and receive your High Holy Day Home Haven package. On the three Sundays before Rosh HaShanah we invite you to drive to the synagogue to receive your materials, to visit briefly and, among other holiday preparations, to hear the Shofar sound.
We request you make a reservation here for when you’d like to come so we can honor all appropriate health and distance protocols.
Please check the date and hour (10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 noon, or 1 p.m.) you plan to come by.  A confirmation email will be sent to you to confirm the
High Holy Day Home Haven package date/time availability. 
Sunday August 30 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday September 6 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday September 13* | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
*VTS families, please note: on September 13 our VTS staff looks forward to seeing you and your children as your family comes to pick up your package.
If you are not able to come to the synagogue, don’t worry. Volunteers will deliver your High Holy Day Home Haven package to you.
If you’d like to be one of our delivery volunteers,  please let us know when you make your personal reservation.


1. We will provide you with some of the things you’ll need to share in High Holy Day services with us, and to celebrate the themes and spirit of these special days at home. Each Congregation Beth El member household will receive a package that includes:
• Mahzor, the High Holy Day prayer book we use at the synagogue.
• Schedule of Online Services and Experiences.
• Enrichment Materials to use along with us during services, and at home as you may choose.
• Book of Remembrance for Yizkor on Yom Kippur.
• Holiday ritual and symbolic items and treats to enjoy.
• Guide materials for home discussions, activities, and thought – appropriate for adults, families, and children.
• Instructions for conducting a “Rosh HaShanah Seder.”

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2. We encourage you to decide in which part of your home you will attend High Holy Day services with us. 
• Where will you be most comfortable? 
• Where will your internet connection work best? 
• Where can you set up a chair or two or more to sit like you do in synagogue? 
• In addition to what we provide, how can you decorate and make this prayer space attractive and sacred?
• What distractions might you remove? What other personal items or ritual symbols in your home might you bring into this space?

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3. We suggest you dress appropriately for this occasion, just as you do when attending High Holy Day services in person. 
• Plan to spend your time participating in our services as “real” not only virtual, seeking for yourself meaning and impact.
• If appropriate to you, have your Kippah and Tallit available and ready.
Jewish mystics speak of a mysterious, compelling bond connecting us as Jews and human beings. These Days of Awe, our synagogue will not be a physical location but a spiritual, transcendent bond embracing us all as a virtual and vital community. 
As the Talmud explains, “Even a barrier of iron cannot separate the Jewish people and God.” In other words, it’s always better to be together. We will miss everyone. We will miss our greeting, our talking, our singing together, and simply seeing each other. But, since all of this isn’t possible right now, we learn from the wisdom of our tradition.
Technology isn’t a barrier nor is isolation. Nothing separates us from God, which means nothing separates us from each other as a synagogue community celebrating a New Year in prayer, reflection, and fondness for one another. We welcome you to your High Holy Day Home Haven, the miniature sanctuary we hope you will establish for this unique season.

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Tue, December 1 2020 15 Kislev 5781