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Committing To Hold Virtual High Holiday Services - 5781/2020

                                                                                                                                                                 June 9, 2020/17 Sivan 5780

Dear Friends,
We hope you are healthy and as safe as possible during this challenging time. Over three months ago, we moved out of our physical building and created an on-line sanctuary, committed to continuing opportunities for prayer, learning and gathering as community. We have welcomed new life and rejoiced in celebration, said goodbye to beloved individuals and comforted the mourners in our community. Together, we have embraced best practices of zoom and engaged with one another from physical distance while deepening our spiritual connection. While the doors to our building are closed for the time being, we are available and in action, thriving as we build connections and sustain community.

As we enter the summer months still in the presence of COVID19, it is clear that the most responsible way to welcome the High Holy Days of 5781 will be in a virtual platform (like many other synagogues in our area) for all of our prayer services – including our German Service. As synagogue community, our decision is guided by core Jewish values.
Preservation of Life/Pikuach Nefesh. Our tradition calls us to honor life first, so much so that saving a life overrides observance of Shabbat. We must do what is necessary to keep our community safe and healthy as we welcome the new year.
Community/K'hillah. Judaism honors the importance of the individual within community. As Jews, we are never alone. We are called to step forward, support and be present for one another. Gathering on-line this High Holy Days allows us to honor the commitment to inclusivity we hold dear at Habonim. 
Responsibility/Achrayut. As community members, we have a duty to keep one another safe. COVID19 manifests as an invisible force long before it reveals itself. Opening our doors on-line demonstrates commitment to the wellbeing of all.

Respect/Kavod.We honor the humanity of everyone who comes to join us at Habonim. Welcoming the new year in an on-line platform enables us to hold up our most essential Jewish values and embrace the humanity of our community face to face/screen to screen.
Sanctity/K'dushah. Judaism calls on us to keep the holy at the center, in our hearts in the midst of community. We will bring that sense of sanctity with us wherever we gather this High Holy Days, whether from our table in NYC or a couch somewhere else in the world.     
Courage/Ometz. It takes courage to step away from the most familiar practice and step towards something new. We will be courageous in creating prayer services and experiences that welcome the new year with joy, purpose, meaning and resonance.

The High Holy Day Prayerbook/Mahzor calls us to write ourselves into the book of life. We look forward to doing that together this High Holy Days and in all the days leading up to that time and beyond. We are grateful for the commitment, tenacity and love that is the bedrock of our Habonim community throughout time. We look forward to continuing to build together.

In friendship/B’yididut,
Rabbi Lisa Gelber
Cantor Bruce Halev
Rich Verner, President
Board of Trustees

Mon, October 26 2020 8 Cheshvan 5781