Creating connections over the High Holidays

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Tashlich at Sunrise beach

Despite the pandemic, Temple Israel was able to pull off an incredible season of meaningful holiday celebrations and observances!

S’lichot kicked off our online offerings with a powerful evening of watching Acts of Defiance together in Zoom, followed by a discussion on race-relations today, before the S’lichot service at midnight.

Rosh Hashanah itself proved that our community could successfully blend ancient rituals with modern technology and dynamic, creative and in-depth online worship, culminating in an amazing shofar-medley video. Click here to watch.

In small groups, we gathered in three locations for Tashlich and it was wonderful to see one another off-screen. The rabbis also provided a do-it-yourself guide for those who did not want to gather and an at-home ritual for those who are unable to leave their homes right now due to the pandemic.

Yom Kippur was touted as one of the most meaningful ever by many of our members. Online Kol Nidrei included spiritual music and an amazing video about our incredible community. We were online throughout the day on Yom Kippur with morning, afternoon, Yizkor and Neilah services as well as afternoon Limmud-style shiur sessions in partnership with the other South African Progressive shuls. 

For Sukkot, our online services continued, evening and morning, as well as a fun and delicious Pannakoeke in die Sukkah cooking class with Gill Saks. 

On Simchat Torah, our evening service was followed by a Torah Dance Party with Gabriel Shai and some of our recent Bnai Mitzvah students returned to reprise their maftir readings as we read selections from each of the books of the Torah. 

Overall, the chaggim were a huge success and we are amazed by how many people joined us throughout, both from Cape Town, all over South Africa and abroad! We are very proud and grateful to all our rabbis, service leaders, musicians, technicians, video-editors and everyone else who made it possible for us to be both together and apart. We are hopeful for what 5781 will bring and pray that next year it will be safe to gather in shul once more, but we know that this holiday season will not soon be forgotten.

Temple Israel www.templeisrael.co.za

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