High Holy Days online in your words

When we debated how to go online for the High Holy Days, one of the biggest fears was whether people would want to spend hours of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in front of a screen. Would they come? Would they stay? Would anyone find it meaningful? The answer was yes to all – they came, they stayed and we all were astounded by how powerful the services turned out to be. 

Here is a taste of some of the feedback we got from you:

“Thank you for the amazing services – they were inspiring, caring and keeping a community together during this time.”  (JA – Constantia)

“Something good has come from the disastrous Covid Pandemic” (ES – Observatory)

Thank you so much – although we weren’t “in” the shul, we certainly felt part of the community. (RS – Wynberg)

One of the blessings of Zoom and Facebook was how families who usually could not come to shul together could:

“Even though we were all physically separated, the Ruach was definitely present throughout. Thank you so much again from my Mom and I. Truly special…I’m so proud of being a Jew and being part of Temple Israel.” (KJ – Noordhoek)

“My extended family were all online, some in London, some in America and were so impressed by all that you have done.”  (KR – Camps Bay)

And indeed, they came from all over the world:

“I stayed up just to watch” (SB – Melbourne, Australia)

“We thought the service was superb!! A meaningful and memorable experience for us. (HA -Canada)

“We could have watched anywhere in the world and we loved that we could come to Temple Israel” (DR, London, England)

And what about Yom Kippur?  Would people stay on from Kol Nidrei to Neilah?

“The three renditions of Kol Nidrei moved me deeply.  I loved seeing each of our three sanctuaries and hearing the voices of all our singers.” (SL – Oranjezicht)

“One of the most meaningful Yom Kippurs I’ve ever experienced. Thoughtful, deep connections (despite it being virtual), and pretty much seamless to boot!” (LS – Kommetjie)

“I was online for almost the whole day and had one of the best fast days of my life being engaged and involved the entire day.”  (MS – Port Elizabeth)

Months of work went into creating videos, visual liturgy and music especially for online services (now available on our YouTube channel):

“I can’t believe how much work it must have taken to get all those singers together.  And the video-making and the music and everything.  Kol Hakavod.”  (MS – Herzliya, Israel)

“I keep watching the “We are Jewish” video – it gives me goosebumps every time.” (JS – Bishopscourt)

And for so many, the chance to say kaddish together was deeply appreciated:

“Thank you, from me and my children, thank you for the chance to remember my husband at Yizkor.” (TR – Sea Point)

“It was very gratifying to be able to send in the names of my late parents, and to see their names displayed during the Yizkor service.”  (SA – Johannesburg)

Looking back, we are overjoyed with how we were able to connect at the time that we all needed it most.  All the services, music and sermons are available through our Facebook page and YouTube channel. Our biggest question now is what will next year look like?

Temple Israel www.templeisrael.co.za

Published in the print edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue.
Download the Dec/Jan issue PDF here.

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