Rabbi’s August 2020 Column

Shalom All,

It has been a truly unique and difficult few months for all of us. So much of our normal daily life has changed that it’s starting to feel like this is our new normal. I know, eventually, we will get through this pandemic. We’ll either reach “herd immunity” or develop a vaccine that lets us congregate again, interact again, hug again. But for now, the safest course of action is still the one we’ve been following for the past five months: no in-person, in-door gatherings or services at Temple Judah for the foreseeable future.

This week the Religious School committee decided to only hold Religious School and Hebrew School classes over Zoom for the fall semester. We’ll make a decision regarding spring at a later date. There will be more information coming in the next few weeks, but know that there will be some kind of Religious School over Zoom as well as Hebrew School on Sundays and during the week. It’ll be a combination of family activities, classroom programs, individual instruction, art, story time, Torah, online games, and maybe even some cooking. We have scheduled one outside gathering in October, for grounds day and Sukkah decorating, but we will also require masks and social distancing during our time together. On an upbeat note, we will again be able to offer a Confirmation class this year, over Zoom, because we again have the right age group for one. 

Additionally, the Temple Board, this week, decided to continue holding Zoom services through December. This not only includes our regular Shabbat worship and 2nd Saturday of the month service, but also our holiday observances. This means, most prominently, that the High Holy Days will be over Zoom and not in our building. We will offer evening and morning services for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur along with an Afternoon/Concluding service at the end. But there won’t be a Rosh Hashanah oneg at Temple or a luncheon at my house or even a Break-the-Fast celebration as one community.

We are, however, going to expand our two outdoor services that regularly occur during the High Holy Days. The first is Tashlich on Rosh Hashanah. Though we will still meet at the Sac and Fox Trail and cast our sins away into the water, we are also going to include the Rosh Hashanah Shofar service here, so we can all fulfill the mitzvah to hear it’s sound. Likewise, we will still be holding a Cemetery service on Sunday, September 27th, but this year we are going to expand it to include Yizkor, so that we can remember our loved ones and our past community appropriately and safely. Again, masks and social distancing will be required, but we’ll still be together.

Soon enough, this will all be a distant memory.  But for now, stay vigilant and healthy, and be safe.

Rabbi Todd