Dear Shir Chadash Community,
In mid-June, we communicated to you about a new legal ruling (teshuvah) from the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards which, with certain limitations, permits the use of technology to broadcast Shabbat and Yomtov services. We indicated that moving to such technology on Shabbat and Yomtov would represent a significant departure for Shir Chadash from its current practices. The risk to our health and safety from gathering in person during the COVID-19 pandemic required us to explore this option thoroughly and carefully, especially in light of the upcoming High Holydays.
Last night, the synagogue’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors fully considered a recommendation from the Ritual Committee, which was developed by a Ritual Committee working group and in part from ideas and opinions you shared with us.
In accordance with the teshuvah, the Executive Committee and Board of Directors approved:
- Using both Livestream and Zoom technology for this year’s High Holydays.
- Using Livestream technology for Shabbat services as soon as practicable for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
Livestream technology is the remote operation of non-intrusive cameras in the prayer space. Zoom is more interactive and allows religious services to be conducted from multiple locations.
We firmly believe these recommendations fulfill the mandate of Conservative Judaism to strike the right balance between tradition and change. They provide the greatest access to our services for the greatest number of our community during the COVID-19 emergency while preserving the culture of our sacred spaces and the lay leadership who make our services special and meaningful.
It will take a number of weeks to obtain, install and test the technology infrastructure to ensure it delivers the highest quality experience possible. Please be patient during this process.
We are grateful to the Ritual Committee, the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors for their wisdom, dedication, guidance and support, helping us to reach this turning point and milestone in our synagogue’s history. We hope and trust that this decision will consolidate and strengthen our relationships with each other and across the Shir Chadash community, enabling us to come together in prayer during these unprecedented and challenging circumstances.
As always, please reach out to us with your input. We value your feedback.
Be well and stay safe,
Ken Klein, President
Rabbi Deborah Silver
Ricardo Totah, Executive Director