High Holidays

With the current health pandemic, and restrictions on group gatherings, our kitchens have become our classroom, our basements are our yoga studios, and the dining room has become our office. Where then, is our synagogue?

The rabbis asked this same question right after the destruction of the Temple. Without a centralized place of worship, how could we pray together? The answer that they devised then is the same answer we return to today: our home would become our “mikdash m’at,” a small sanctuary, a holy place. Our current challenge is to create a sacred space at home while we are in front of our computers, on Zoom or live-streaming services. What can help us create both a spiritual mindset and a spiritual refuge?

The board, after careful deliberation, made the decision not to gather in the Sinai Temple building for the High Holidays. We will all certainly miss being in person together as we welcome the New Year; miss the closeness of our communal gathering; and miss the familiar furnishings of our sanctuary space. But we will be “together” safely— in our own homes.  This year, we have a unique opportunity to create a sacred space in our home— a mikdash m’at—for the High Holidays and beyond. These suggestions are meant to help you enhance the High Holiday experience at home, while creating a communal atmosphere for us all.

All Zoom services and programs can also be joined via phone by calling 1 312 626 6799 and entering the meeting ID number listed.  The password for all services was sent to congregation members in a separate email.  You are invited and encouraged to join each service in advance; all “rooms” will open at least ten minutes before the posted service start time.  For Reform services, we will offer a brief break at the midpoint of each service, including contemplative music and questions for reflection.  We are grateful to Celia Arnold for graciously providing the music.