SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Next week is the start of the High Holy Days, the biggest Jewish holidays, and many synagogues continue to adapt since in-person services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were canceled last year.
For the first time in two years, Congregation Beth El is opening the Jacobs Family Community Hall for High Holy Days.
Inside the sanctuary you hear David Lipsitz singing the ancient Jewish prayer, Avinu Malkeinu, which asks God to treat people with righteousness, love and kindness.
Rosh Hashanah starts on Monday evening and goes until Wednesday night. Yom Kippur is on September 15 until the following evening.
“We see the largest number of our members come together for our new year,” said Rabbi Ron Shulman, senior rabbi at Congregation Beth El.
He says once there was a spike in COVID cases, they had to switch gears and did a survey with its members to find out how they would celebrate the holidays which is a time for personal introspection, change and growth for the new year.
"I do not know what to expect on Monday and that is what is a little nerve wracking and very exciting,” said Shulman.
Congregation Beth El is offering three ways to observe the holidays.
If you want to observe inside the community hall, you will need to show proof of full vaccination.
The room seats a thousand people but now it will be at half capacity.
You can also be outside under a tent where you can watch the service on a monitor, or you can stream the service from home or anywhere from smart device.
“Really it was understanding how best we could be responsive to a community when they themselves won't actually don't know what they need or want when the holiday gets here,” said Shulman.
The rabbi says no matter how you honor the holiday you can find a way to self-reflect on your own with a walk, a few quite moments to yourself, journal or having a conversation with someone to make amends.
“My prayer for this new year would be as a result not only of this holiday but all of the experiences through this very disruptive pandemic that we have gone through that really humanity will find its way toward a better year, better relationships, toward respect toward dignity and toward goodness," said Shulman.
Not only will there be an outdoor space for adults but there will be a tent for children as well.
For the Congregation Beth El High Holy Days schedule click here.
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