As we approach the High Holy Days in this time of COVID-19, how do we reimagine our celebration of PJTC’s spiritual and social peak experience of the year?
Over the last two months, the clergy, staff, and lay leaders collaborated to answer these questions, with the goal of making this High Holy Day season the best it can be with holy moments of connection, reflection, growth, mourning, uplift, and joy that we all need right now. During the last few weeks you shared your voices with us, letting us know your concerns about gathering and plans for keeping you and your family safe.

With the recent surges in infection and accompanying municipal restrictions that change on a daily basis, it’s highly possible that all the planning, preparation, organization, and expectation we invest in any indoor or outdoor venue could be canceled at the last minute if the venue is mandated to shut down.
The survey results, the public health data, and recent government orders guided us make the following decisions:
  • All holiday services will be live streamed from our beautiful Galpert Sanctuary, led by our clergy and davening team, following best practices of health and safety, without congregational seating.

  • In addition to live services, there will be several services and programs available on a recorded basis and some interactive (Zoom) sessions, as well as congregation-wide initiatives that encourage us all to collaborate through art, thought-provoking discussion, and home ritual.  
In the coming weeks, we will create and share these resources so that you may be fully prepared to immerse in this unique spiritual opportunity. While we cannot all physically be together, we insist that how we celebrate our High Holy Days at PJTC reminds us that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves, and we are all in this together.
We mourn, too, for the moments we look forward to each year. We recognize that it will be a challenge to translate the quintessential experiences of the holiday season into this new medium. Nevertheless, we have the dedication, the chutzpah, and the faith to meet this challenge and connect with this holy season. 

For the past four months, we have been inspired by the resilience, ingenuity, and creativity evidenced throughout the Jewish world and the PJTC community. Our ongoing services, study sessions, and meaningful programs online reassure us that this year, we will all find ways to connect with the Holy One and with each other differently than in our history. We are committed to creating those opportunities with the same high quality and delight that you deserve and have come to expect from PJTC.
We will continue to answer your questions, incorporate your feedback, and  be in touch with updates. We are excited to share our plans with you as we embark on this meaningful journey together.


PJTC Clergy, Staff and Lay Leaders

Summary Findings of Congregational Surveys

 As we shared above, our decision was driven in part by valuable feedback from the congregation. Below are some of the numbers we used to guide us. 

In general our membership is not inclined to gather in large (or small) numbers in the near future, and many would prefer to attend services virtually, whether we open or not. Overall the membership appears satisfied with our pivot to virtual services and gatherings so far.

Further, while respondents appear evenly split on the question of attending services at a large outdoor venue, the governor shared new guidelines and restrictions after this survey went out that make planning an outdoor gathering appear unwise.
Opening Up Surveys Recap
Please note: Most respondents gave their answers before Governor Newsom announced new measures further restricting even outdoor gatherings in general and religious services involving singing specifically.