As the end of summer nears, we turn toward the fall with anticipation and hope. Temple Emanu-El is looking forward to meaningful celebration of the High Holy Days with all of you. We are, now as always, committed to the safety of our congregants, clergy, and staff. We are also deeply sensitive to our responsibility to our New York City community and doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. After careful consideration and advice from expert medical counsel, the Board of Trustees has decided to offer robust, virtual services to the majority of the congregation. Unfortunately, with health and safety as our highest priority, Emanu-El is unable to welcome all, or even a large portion, of congregants back into the building for in-person worship.
Socially Distant and Virtual Offerings:
This year, High Holy Day worship will take place online with the collaboration of an innovative production company to bring the warmth and majesty of our Fifth Avenue sanctuary into our members’ homes, wherever they currently reside. The online experience will feature our formal, Shir Chadash and family services with Emanu-El’s clergy up close, our unparalleled choir and musicians, as well as unique moments that a custom virtual platform will afford the congregation. We will invite members and those closest to them to gather in Zoom chat rooms so that worship, meals and holiday times can be enjoyed together. We will share tashlich in several locations throughout New York City with masks and social distancing. And we will invite members and their families to receive virtual honors to bring familiar faces to our screens. We will make the very best of these times together. More details on these exciting offerings will be available soon.
Special In-Person Offering:
For 175 years, Temple Emanu-El has been open for the High Holy Days and we want 5781 to be no exception. Therefore, under the advice of medical counsel, we can invite a smaller segment of our membership, up to 100 individuals, to join us for services during the High Holy Days. In a special gesture to honor members most profoundly affected by the pandemic — assuming conditions remain safe for a smaller gathering — we will invite those who are:
Front-line workers, first responders and medical professionals — those who had to work to provide essential services at the height of this pandemic
Members who lost loved ones since last year’s Yom Kippur
Members who had to cancel spring and summer life-cycle events due to quarantine
If you are within this cohort, we ask that you fill out this quick survey to express your interest in joining us for an in-person service during the holidays.
Personal Prayer Books:
So that we might lift our voices together in hope, we are mailing to you a soft-cover edition of our new High Holy Day prayer book with which we will worship on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This beautiful machzor, resplendent with motifs and designs that grace our sanctuaries, was made possible through a generous donation from the family of Kim and Alan Hartman, in honor of Temple Emanu-El’s 175th Anniversary. All member families will receive a copy. Please provide an alternate or updated mailing address by clicking on this link.
Together, we will pray for a better year — one of health and happiness in our homes, one of justice and peace in our country and the world. We look forward to greeting you online, or perhaps in person, soon.