Welcome to High Holy Days at Beth Israel. This is a time for personal and collective reflection and renewal. We are pleased to have you be a part of these important days and honored to have you here to worship with us virtually.
We are well aware that our High Holy Days will look and feel different this year. This is unfortunate, but as Jews, our spiritual practice of gratitude has prepared us for this moment. As a collective, we are blessed to have new technology by which we can build a bridge from our spiritual home on Towne Centre Drive to all individual homes across San Diego County and beyond.
As you move through the Hebrew month of Elul (the month prior to Rosh Hashanah), we encourage you to prepare your mind, body, and soul for the New Year. The High Holy Days is your opportunity for reflection and preparation.
Use the holidays as an opportunity to cultivate flexibility, curiosity, creativity, and above all, gratitude. This year, you won’t have to face the busy parking lot, the traffic or worry about forgetting your tickets, but you can still prepare to transform your home into a sacred place of holiness. And if we all prepare our homes and hearts for holiness, we are confident our prayers will be transformed into the lives and the world we wish to see. Make peace with your loved ones and with the Sacred. Use the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah to write letters or call those who you would like to repair relationships with.
Clear your calendar of work obligations for the High Holy Days. Turn off notifications on your computer and phone. Make sure you have what you need in the way of technology/devices to participate in our programming and prayer services and consider how to truly transform your home into a sanctuary— a mikdash me’at. Treat your space where you’ll attend services as if it were a part of our communal sanctuary.
Dress comfortably! You can probably do without the usual formal attire, but we encourage you to wear something befitting of the holiness of the day.
Lastly, while we can facilitate services, you are ultimately in charge of how you engage with them. When you tune in, try to participate in the same way you would if we were physically together.
Follow along with our prayer book (the machzor) in your hands. Don’t have one? Request one! Sing! Read responsively! Stand and sit with the congregation! Just like we all did for Passover, we can make the High Holidays special and meaningful within our own homes. Together, we will make these High Holidays beautiful so that we can enter into a sweet new year.
Community is very important to us at Beth Israel. Missing connecting with your chavurah or other friends? Set up a virtual gathering! Share a meal over Zoom or use the 10Q program (www.doyou10q.com/) as a discussion starter. Share how you’re going to make these High Holidays special, and perhaps try something outside your normal holiday observance. In addition, there will be opportunities to Zoom with each other at our Virtual Café Beth Israel, Food for Thought sessions and Sermon Talk-Backs with the rabbis.