Nineteen years ago I received a call: "Rabbi, turn on your television set." For the remainder of that morning I watched as a second plane hit the second tower and then both towers collapsed in sequence. And that was the end of life as we knew it and beginning of a new set of rules for social interaction. In the past, we could assume that the people around us were safe and had no evil intent towards us. Now, one had to be cautious and wonder what was a person's ulterior motive.

This past spring something similar happened, albeit in slow motion. Whereas in the past it was perfectly acceptable to shake someone's hand, give them a hug, group together for a photo, now one had to be cautious. There is illness in the air, and if you are not being socially distant, you could become very sick, and possibly even die. This changed everything. Now we have to be socially distant. Now we have to wear masks. Now we look at every person we encounter as if they carry the potential to kill us.

Which is why, as we approach the High Holidays, I am feeling such a desperate need to be together with other people. Human beings need other people. We are social creatures. And the High Holidays are traditionally a time when the entire community has gathered together. And this year - for everyone's safety - we cannot.

But we can always do the best we can, with necessary accommodations. This year, there will be a service in the sanctuary, with as many people present as regulations will allow. This service will be streamed over this link, and anyone who watches it will be able to participate fully as if they were there, even saying Kaddish and "amen" to the prayers.

In the event that there are more than ten people who wish to join us in person, we have arranged for outdoor seating on the South Patio to watch the service together at a social distance. To register to attend one of these socially distant services, or to indicate your desire to attend services inside, please follow the links below.

Next week, many of you will be receiving care packages from the synagogue, including prayer books (Shabbat and High Holiday) that you can use in your home while services are being streamed (or at any other time). I encourage you to take up the synagogue on this offer, with the prayer that you will be able to return the books to the synagogue when you are once again able to attend services in person.

On this day when we remember the tragedy of the past which brought us all together, and the tragedy of the present which is pushing ourselves apart, I look forward to the day when we can gather again under the Sukkah of Peace and safety.
Slichot Services - Tomorrow Night 
To the Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 875 2279 9227
One tap mobile
+16699009128,,87522799227# US (San Jose)

Slichot as the Secret to Understanding the High Holidays
This Sunday, September 13, 2020, at 10:00 AM I will be offering a class on the upcoming Slichot services - not the service that was celebrated just the night before at 8:00 PM (see above flyer) but the Slichot services that occur over the course of Yom Kippur. I believe that having an understanding of the concepts upon which Slichot is based enables one to more fully appreciate - in the moment - what the prayers at the end of each service during Yom Kippur are trying to achieve. No advance preparation/registration necessary, just join me via the following link:  
Meeting ID: 827 3039 2560  
Passcode: 613  
One tap mobile +16699006833,,82730392560#,,,,,,0#,,613# US (San Jose) 
Courage and hope, 

Rabbi David Cantor
Temple Beth Shalom
3635 Elm Ave
Long Beach, CA 90807
direct line:  (562) 726-4116