Jewish community finds innovative ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah during pandemic

COVID-19 has changed the way many will be able to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah this year. But some local Rabbis are finding innovative ways to bring the holiday services to their congregants.

News 12 Staff

Sep 18, 2020, 2:19 AM

Updated 1,304 days ago

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COVID-19 has changed the way many will be able to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah this year. But some local Rabbis are finding innovative ways to bring the holiday services to their congregants.
One way is through virtual services. Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner has prerecorded Saturday’s Rosh Hashanah service for the nearly 700 families in his congregation.
“They’ll have the comfort of seeing the synagogue. They’ll have the comfort of seeing familiar faces, but they’ll be doing this form their home,’ he says.
Like many synagogues, Kirschner says that Temple Emanu-El is offering both virtual and outdoor socially distant services this year. To accommodate remote attendees, he worked with producers over the course of two days to film the high holiday services in advance.
“They used five different cameras and a jib [camera]…The entire experience was surreal,” Kirshner says.
In Hudson County, Rabbi Moshe Schapiro says his congregants have the option of attending socially-distant indoor or outdoor services. And they're getting creative when it comes to the sounding of the shofar - holding mini shofar services in parks throughout Hoboken and Jersey City.
"The proper way to do it is to actually hear the shofar in person,” Schapiro says. "It's a simple ram's horn. It really represents us, the plead of the heart, the cry of the heart, asking God, please accept us and give us a good year."
And although this Jewish New Year will be unlike any other, with many separated from loved ones, Rabbi Kirshner says it's important to focus on the positives.
“I would tell everyone to lean in towards the blessings and hope,” he says.
Rosh Hashanah begins Friday at sundown.


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