Though the pandemic has nixed in-person ceremonies for the forseeable future, Temple Emanu-El has no intentions of stopping its many religious ceremonies and observances during the High Holy Day services.
While the traditional forms of observance and worship aren't meant to be this year, the organization has been busy setting up a a number of online High Holy Day worship services as well as some special events to add to the celebration.
"Traditionally we gather and have hundreds and hundreds of people gather at our sanctuary for services but we're not going to be able to have any of that," said Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman. "We are preparing a really beautiful, meaningful virtual services that will be available to the entire community."
Glickman and temple staff have prepared a few events and services to be streamed on the Temple Emanuel website
Temple Emanu-El Rocks!
Following the vandalization of Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sinai in July, Youth Group Advisor Savannah Sandberg thought up the "Temple Emanu-El Rocks!" project she and volunteers are painting rocks with vibrant colors and inspirational messages to distribute to people before the High Holy Days.
Community members have been able to pick up the rocks at the temple.
Second Chance -Last Opportunity Collection Drive and High Holy Day gift bag pickup
Glickman prides her temple and community for its successful food drives —their most recent drive collected 3,300 pounds of food and $3,500 that led to 2,750 meals — and likes to think the High Holy Day Food Drive on Sept. 13 and 14 was another successful initiative. The organization hosted a collection drive with the Second Chance, Last Opportunity nonprofit to help families in Newtown. The temple also collected checks for All Faiths Food Bank.
"Even though people will be observing the holidays in their own homes, we want to still be able to come together as a community as much as possible," Glickman said. "Especially to help people in need."
The temple also hosted a contactless pickup for gift bags containing prayer books, special foods, painted rocks and more, following the success of the temple's distribution of Seder Kits during Passover.
Five days after the High Holy Days celebrations ends, the harvest festival of Sukkot will begin. Also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, the celebration is defined by people celebrating with friends and family in a temporary, outdoor space. In lieu of that, the temple will planning a drive-through sukkah service.
"Depending what the case load is like, we might be able to have some small, distanced in-person gatherings but for larger gatherings we're going to have a drive-through sukkah in our parking lot," Glickman said. "People can observe the holiday and be in the sukkah in a safe format."
Sept. 18 - Rosh Hashanah Evening Service
Sept. 19 - Rosh Hashanah Morning Service
Sept. 27 -Kol Nidre Evening Service
Sept. 28 - Yom Kippur Morning Service
Sept. 28 - Yizkor Memorial Service