How to Celebrate the Jewish High Holidays During COVID-19
It seems COVID-19 plans to hang around for a while, which means that the way we’ve done things in the past may not be the way we do things this year. The upcoming Jewish holidays are no exception. COVID-19 is forcing many people to take ownership of their own High Holiday experience.
Let’s look at new ways to celebrate the High Holidays – ways that might be different, yet exciting, too. The days that fall between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – the Days of Awe – are spent in prayer, reflection and self-judgment. We reflect upon our lives and make renewed commitments to become better people. Every year at this time, we stand before G-d. We ask Him to grant us forgiveness for our shortcomings. We ask Him to look upon us with favor. We ask Him to provide another year so that we may improve and grow. Every year we do these things just like we did them last year and the year before that and the year before that. It can almost feel like we’re running on autopilot, doing what we’ve always done without proper reverence. This year will be different. This year, you may have more choices to make about how you can best observe the High Holidays.
Enjoy a Slower Paced Journey
In shul, you may find that you’re often forced to hurry through the various prayers, working hard to keep up. This year, you can recite the prayers at your pace, taking in and savoring the words as you read them, not feeling like you need to rush. Take your time, and draw close to G-d.
Toot Your Own Horn
If you don’t have a shofar, consider ordering one from your local Judaica store. At $19.99, this shofar is accessible to most budgets. And, if you have concerns about being able to blow your shofar, this book, EZ Shofar, will help you become an expert. You can also watch YouTube videos to learn how to blow the shofar by clicking here, here and here. Or learn about the different shofar blasts. Begin practicing early so that by Rosh Hashanah, you’ll be ready to crown the King! Here’s an article to help you choose a shofar.
Read and Study
Because you won’t be able to spend time with friends and family as you normally would, consider spending more time reading and studying uplifting Jewish books. You probably already have some on your shelves you can read that will bring some of the greatest Jewish minds into the room with you. You can also find lots of applicable reading on the internet, such as Chabad.org’s Rosh Hashanah Study.
Online Resources to Help You Celebrate the High Holidays
Many online resources are available to help you determine the best way for you to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
- Chabad.org provides lots of practical Rosh Hashanah Information, including many of the prayers you want to recite during your observance of the High Holidays and insights into selected prayers
- Chabad.org provides High Holiday Songs and Music with selected songs from the prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and High Holiday Cantorial Classics with a cantor singing traditional compositions from the Machzor
- YouTube provides High Holiday music and recitation of prayers
- My Jewish Learning provides a Guide to Hewish Holiday Prayers which includes links to various resources
- Unetanah Tokef in English and Hebrew
- The well-known Leonard Cohen song, “Who By Fire?”
- Avinu Malkeinu sung by the Valley Outreach Synagogue and Barbra Streisand
- The Tashlich Prayer in Hebrew and English
- Information about Yom Kippur Eve service, morning service, Musaf service, afternoon service and Neilah service
- Chabad.org provides an Overview of Yom Kippur Prayers
- Kol Nidrei in Hebrew and English, canted by Carlebach
- Rabbi Moshe Spalter discusses the Yizkor Prayer
- First Blessing of the Amidah in Hebrew and English
- The Avodah Service
- The Priestly Blessing in English and Hebrew
- The entire Book of Jonah
Your local synagogue may provide an online service that you can access on your computer. If not, here are additional online services you might want to check out:
- Join My Jewish Learning Live Online for the High Holiday Season. Many of their services can be accessed on their Facebook page.
- Sim Shalom High Holidays Online
With these resources and your past experiences of how you and your family have celebrated the High Holidays in the previous years, you should have the information you need to create meaningful High Holiday services for you or you and a group of friends. You may not be able to spend time with your family as you have in past holidays, but you can build closer relationships with your neighbors within the community during this High Holiday season by sharing the holiday with them.
High Holidays 2020 at The Atrium at Boca Raton
This year, our High Holidays at the Atrium at Boca Raton may look different than they usually do, but we remain committed to offering services to residents. We’ll offer the following ceremonies and gatherings for the High Holidays:
Rosh Hashana, September 18: A rabbi will offer a small phone ceremony for residents.
Yom Kipur, September 27: A rabbi will offer a small phone ceremony for residents.
Hanukkah, December 10 – 18: We are optimistic and hoping for the best! We are planning a big celebration each night of Hanukkah.
In addition, Rabbi Karen will do Shabbat Service each Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. over the phone, and Rabbi Moshe comes to do window visits once or twice each week.
The Atrium at Boca Raton Honors You and Your Beliefs
We hope to soon return to our regular weekly services and programs that help us stay connected to who we are and to each other. Each Thursday afternoon at 1:30, Rabbi Moshe leads a program called The Wisdom Circle, which offers an in-depth study from the Written Torah, followed by a small ceremony in Hebrew. On Friday afternoons at 3:00, Rabbi Karen does a Shabbat service. In addition, she leads a bi-monthly seminar called Let’s Talk Rabbi, which addresses topics suggested by residents. We also have a Mazel Tov Jewish Club that meets Thursday afternoons after The Wisdom Circle.
If you want to learn more about an assisted living neighborhood and dedicated memory care community that honors you, your beliefs and your traditions, please give us a call at (561) 750-7555 or contact our team today.
We understand that this is a rough time for you during the High Holidays. This is a time when you would have enjoyed synagogue services and spending time with your family. Those of us at The Atrium at Boca Raton welcome you to be part of our family and wish you, “Shanah Tovah Umetukah!” May G-d grant you a good and sweet year! Next year may we be in Jerusalem.