Dear Shir Chadash Community,
Our High Holidays Task Force has been working hard over the summer to plan services and experiences that are meaningful and fulfilling. We are excited to share a summary of our ambitious plans for the season that will make it unique and memorable. Hopefully, we have struck a good balance between the requirements of our tradition and these unprecedented times, enabling us to be innovative and creative while retaining those aspects that make Shir Chadash special. In early September, we will send out complete details of how to access all the holiday offerings.
To prepare us for the season, we will provide a daily inspirational email and some special learning sessions during the month of Elul.
We will hold our Selichot service over Zoom. It will include a panel who will share their favorite High Holyday melodies followed by our traditional service adapted for a virtual medium.
To provide variety and to accommodate the needs of our service leaders and for an abbreviated liturgy, Rosh Hashanah services will be broadcast from two different locations. Shaharit will be broadcast from an outdoor location, and the Torah and Musaf services will be broadcast from our Sanctuary. The Shofar will be sounded in the afternoon of the second day of Rosh Hashanah in a combined Tashlich/Shofar service from the levee. Recordings of the Shofar will be available too.
Yom Kippur services will follow the same model as Rosh Hashanah with the addition of Kol Nidrei and Neilah.
We will be seeking volunteers to form a small “holding minyan” for each service. This will enable us to fulfill our halachic obligations, keeping the key prayers in their traditional format, while guarding the health and well-being of our community, clergy, and staff. Volunteers must follow all guidelines from our Health Committee and will need to register in advance to attend services. More information on how to register for the “holding minyan” will be provided in the coming weeks.
Children’s/family services will be broadcast from the synagogue on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur morning. Meryl Zimmerman will lead services for our younger children and Rabbi Michael Cohen will lead services for our older children.
Beginning Labor Day, we will deliver a High Holidays gift bag to your home that contains a machzor (prayer book), Yizkor book and High Holydays program book. Families with children also will receive a child/family pack for each child. Please let the synagogue office know if you do not want to receive a gift bag.
Special programs will take place between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, including a musical family program based on the book of Jonah.
There will be adult and family services for Shabbat Shuvah.
Yizkor will be held over Zoom on the Sunday morning between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and include a special additional service, Ele Ezkerah, that commemorates those who gave up their lives for their faith.
Weather permitting, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah services will take place outdoors.
Sermons and speeches will be pre-recorded and available electronically and in hard copy. Services will include shortened offerings.
Please keep in mind that as we continue to work on the many details and logistics of our holiday season planning, we will monitor local conditions, updates from Gov. John Bel Edwards, and guidance from the CDC and Louisiana Department of Health. We will make adjustments if necessary.
We intend to provide a most uplifting, beautiful and spiritually satisfying High Holydays for you and your family. Albeit under different circumstances this year, we want all our members to enjoy the same high-quality services that have been the hallmark of our congregation for almost 60 years.
With warm wishes for health and happiness,
Ken Klein, President
Rabbi Deborah Silver
Ricardo Totah, Executive Director