As we approach the High Holidays, many of us may look back on the last five months with a sense of loss - being unable to meet in person since mid-March and greatly missing being together. In spite of this, we are grateful for the many ways our TBC family has risen to the challenge of supporting one another and recreating our community virtually. Now more than ever it is important to be part of a warm and loving community that can help us stay connected even while we remain physically apart. Participation in online events has been strong, and as we continue to work our way through the impact of COVID-19, we are exploring creative, new opportunities to connect online.
While our building remains closed, we continue to welcome Shabbat every Friday evening and study Torah on Saturday mornings. We are also busy planning for the upcoming Religious School year with an exciting, new virtual curriculum. We will be adding new programming in Adult Ed; the Men's Club and Sisterhood are working on engaging events and, of course, we are very busy planning and creating our High Holiday experience to welcome 5781 as one loving TBC family.
To ensure the health and safety of our entire community, in line with recommendations from the URJ, ACC and CCAR, and with the full endorsement of the TBC Board of Trustees, we have made the difficult choice to hold our High Holiday services virtually this year. We are discussing a myriad of ways to help ensure a sense of connection and to create a meaningful High Holy Day experience for everyone. We hope you have taken the opportunity to share your thoughts with the TBC Board Member who called you. If you haven't responded, it's not too late to do so. Or if you prefer, you can contact Cantor Dunkerley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
To deliver this experience, we will use a combination of Livestream and Zoom platforms. All services will be conducted by Cantor Dunkerley from our beautiful sanctuary and will be accessible online. For Livestream services, pieces with our High Holiday quartet, Torah readings and blessings, English translations and candle lighting will be pre-recorded and woven into the Livestream. Members in good standing will have the opportunity to pick up copies of our High Holiday Machzor (High Holiday prayer book), Mishkan Hanefesh, on one of two days in the temple parking lot. This will allow each of our families to have a tangible piece of TBC at home for use during these sacred Days of Awe. We will also be providing upon registration for services, a downloadable PDF version of the pages from the Machzor we will be using for each service.
Though the experience will be different this year, please know that your Clergy and leadership team are fully committed to making these High Holidays special in their own right. As a community, we are seeking connections, comfort and healing, opportunities to reflect, refresh and even mourn; and yes, we all feel a strong need right now to experience joy and hope! To that end, this year's services will be shorter, more personal, more reflective and creative, while preserving those elements of the services that are most meaningful to all of us.
We will have opportunities for those comfortable doing so, to participate in in-person, socially distanced events including a shortened "drive-up Shofar Service" on Rosh Hashanah followed by a safely distanced Tashlich ritual at our normal location.
For Rosh Hashanah Day 2, we will have a socially distanced, participatory contemplative walk with poetry, readings and reflection built upon the themes of Rosh Hashanah including rebirth and renewal. Masks will be required, as will pre-registration. More information about this and all our High Holiday events, as well as the list of services and times will be provided in the coming weeks.
Our community is one of our greatest blessings. We are so fortunate to have one another and to be part of such a resilient, committed congregation. We look forward as one loving TBC family, to welcoming in strength, all the sweetness 5781 brings.