Dear WJC Family,
When we gathered to welcome the Jewish year 5780 one-year ago, we could not have imagined what the year would bring. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to remain physically apart, we have witnessed remarkable creativity, energy, and effort that has brought our community together in new and powerful ways. We have proven that we can be connected in spirit, activity, and purpose even when we cannot physically be in the same location. As the call of the shofar can be heard by people far apart, uniting them in awareness, so too will we be connected this Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur by the call—the call of the shofar, the call to care for one another, our collective calling out to God and the call to support the WJC community.
As 5781 approaches, safety is our first concern. With safety foremost in mind, we are committed to creating new formats and protocols to ensure that the High Holidays provide a meaningful and spiritually uplifting experience for our entire community. To achieve this goal, our High Holiday Task Force, under the leadership of Susan Miller and Beth Jaret, has been working tirelessly to create diverse and evocative opportunities for prayer, learning, and spiritual growth both on the holidays themselves and throughout the holiday season. We have developed a hybrid model of in-person and live-streamed holiday services (described below), along with a variety of programs provided by the congregation to our members. The High Holiday Task Force’s work has been done in close consultation with medical experts on WJC’s Covid-19 Task Force, clergy and other synagogue staff, and members of the congregation through survey results and private conversations. If you have questions or additional suggestions, please direct them to David Goldstein at David@wjcenter.org.
What follows is our plan as of today, the first week in August, but the health situation is dynamic and unpredictable. These plans may be subject to change at any time right up until the start of High Holiday services. As always, we will do our best to be transparent in our decision-making and timely in our communication.
We recognize that this will not be the High Holiday season that anyone wanted or expected. But we are excited about the plans we have made and confident that they will provide everyone in our community with the opportunity to have a very meaningful and spiritually uplifting High Holiday experience.
Connected while apart—connected by the call,
Rabbi Jeffrey M. Arnowitz
WJC’s High Holiday Task Force