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High Holidays FAQs

To view our main High Holiday page, please click here.


Please read through this entire page to learn how our Temple Aliyah community will be celebrating the High Holidays this year, including how to register for in-person services, how to access services remotely, and much, much more. 

When are the High Holidays this year and when are services going to take place?

Rosh Hashanah begins on Monday evening, September 6 and concludes on Wednesday evening, September 8.  Yom Kippur begins on Wednesday evening, September 15 and concludes on Thursday, September 16. A schedule of services will be included in the High Holiday Survival Kit, in ComingUp issues close to the High Holidays, and on the temple website.

Where will High Holiday services take place this year and what will they be like?

Barring extenuating circumstances, all High Holiday services will take place in the main sanctuary, with both Rabbi Perkins and Cantor Gloth officiating.  All services will be offered both as an in-person experience and a virtual experience.  Worship services will be similar to last year’s.  And, like last year, they will be shorter than those held pre-pandemic in order to reduce the amount of time that our in-person participants are sitting in the sanctuary and, for those connecting remotely, to reduce “screen fatigue.”

In-Person Services

What will in-person services be like?

Barring extenuating circumstances, Rabbi Perkins and Cantor Gloth will both officiate in-person from the bimah in the main sanctuary.  Many lay daveners and Torah readers will also be in-person.  There will be a screen in the main sanctuary to enable congregants attending services in-person to see and hear any remotely led services.  The sanctuary will be open through the back of the social hall, with seating available throughout the entire space to allow for social distancing.   

What safety protocols will be in effect for in-person services?

In-person services will be open only to those who are fully vaccinated (more than two weeks after the last shot) and who have provided proof of vaccination to the Temple Aliyah office by Tuesday, August 24. 

All those attending in-person services must wear a well-fitted mask, although service leaders – the Rabbi, the Cantor, and lay daveners – may be unmasked on the bimah if they have tested negative on a series of COVID-19 tests in the days leading up to the service.  No one will be permitted to attend in-person services if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, are feeling ill, are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or have tested positive for COVID-19 without having subsequently received a negative COVID-19 test result.  Thus, if the Rabbi or Cantor, or any of the lay daveners have any COVID-19 symptoms, they will lead remotely.

There will be a limit on the number of those who can attend services in person.  We will determine this number based on prevailing safety guidelines and local COVID-19 incidences approximately two weeks prior to the beginning of the High Holidays.  In any event, there will be adequate space for social distancing.

Can I show up to in-person services without pre-registering?

No. Except for Tashlich, which is held outdoors, pre-registration, including prior submission of proof of vaccination, is required to attend all in-person services. For the safety of all, we cannot make any exceptions to this requirement. 

Virtual Services

What will virtual services be like?

All services will be accessible virtually via livestream or Zoom. 

Like a television program, livestream is a one-way broadcast with no interaction between viewers and those being viewed. Livestream is open to the public, without the need for registration or a password. 

Zoom services will allow you to view the service in a virtual community setting and to see others during services. You will be muted during the service but will be unmuted by the Zoom host at the conclusion of services for a period of time to allow you to speak with your friends in our community who are on Zoom.

The Zoom option will be available only to members of the congregation and guests who have pre-registered (proof of vaccination is not required). We will send the password for Zoom services shortly before Erev Rosh Hashanah. 

Other Services

Will there be children’s, youth, and family services this year?

We will be offering children’s services for all ages ranging from preschool to high school, all led by experienced teachers and staff.  Children’s services for unvaccinated children will be offered in tents located in the synagogue parking lot. Services for older children who are vaccinated may be offered inside. All children will be permitted to enter the school wing to use the children’s bathroom but will not be permitted in the areas of the synagogue building in which the adult services are held. 

Children’s services will require advance registration. To register for preschool services, visit https://www.templealiyah.com/form/YoungFamilyHighHolidays5782

To register for youth services, visit https://www.templealiyah.com/form/hh-youth-program.html.

Children’s services will take place as follows:

Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur Morning:

9 to 10 am

  • In-person Family Service for families with children ages 0-5 years (in the tent)
  • In-person Family Service for families with children in grades K-5 (in the tent)

10 am (Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Only)

Young Family Tashlich

10:15 to noon

  • In-person service for children in grades 4-7 (in the tent)
  • In-person service for vaccinated children in grades 8-12 (in the Chapel)
  • Virtual service for children in grades K-5
  • Virtual service for children in grades 4-7
  • Virtual service for children in grades 8-12

Rosh Hashanah Day 2:

9 to 10 am

  • In-person Family Service for families with children ages 0-5 years (in the tent)
  • In-person Family Service for families with children in grades K-5 (in the tent)

10:15 to noon

  • In-person service for children in grades 4-7 (in the tent)
  • In-person service for vaccinated children in grades 8-12 (in the Chapel)

Will there be a Yizkor service?

Yes.  Yizkor will take place on Yom Kippur afternoon, right before the Mincha service.  Make sure to ask for a Yizkor booklet when you pick up your High Holiday Survival Kit (see below), as we will not be sharing the text of the service online this year. 

Will there be a Tashlich service?

Yes!  As is customary, we will conduct Tashlich services at Walker Pond on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.  Young Family Tashlich services will take place at 10 am.  Community-wide Tashlich services will take place at 3 pm and at 5 pm, meeting at Walker Pond.  Registration is not necessary:  come to either service!  

Will there be a Meditation Service?

Yes!  A virtual meditation service, led by Naomi Litrownik, MSW, will take place on the morning of second day of Rosh Hashanah from 8:15 to 9 am.  For the Zoom link, email Naomi at naomi.litrownikmsw@gmail.com by Sunday, September 5 (by 6 pm). 

Guests

Can I bring a non-member guest to in-person services? 

Due to concerns about capacity, we are unable to welcome guests to our in-person services this year.  In-person services will be open only to members and their immediate family members.

Can guests attend virtual services?

Yes!  Guests may access virtual services by livestream or Zoom.  If guests wish to access services by Zoom, we ask that they register by visiting https://forms.gle/VFSXgERVyqtPTApp7, which will give them access to the password.  For our online safety, we ask that you not share the temple password with others.

Registration Process

How do I register to attend in-person services?

Registration forms will be sent soon by email.  The registration form will allow you to register online for up to six members of your immediate family to attend in-person services.  As a reminder, registration will only be accepted if you have submitted your proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

If the number of registrants for attendance in the sanctuary exceeds the capacity limit, admission to those services will be determined by lottery.  If there is a lottery, we will give you plenty of notice of your service assignment(s).  You will not be eligible for the lottery if the synagogue office has not received your proof of vaccination form.

How do I submit my proof of COVID-19 vaccination?

There are four ways to provide Temple Aliyah with the proof of vaccination required for in-person High Holiday services (as well as Shabbat and all other services).  The deadline for submitting your proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend High Holiday services is Tuesday, August 24.

  • Scan your vaccination card and e-mail it to Melissa Rudman at melissa@templealiyah.com;
  • Make a copy of your vaccination card and mail it to Melissa Rudman, Temple Aliyah, 1664 Central Avenue, Needham, MA  02492; or, 
  • Bring your card to the Temple Aliyah main office during office hours, ring the office door buzzer, and wait for a member of the office staff to make a copy of your card.  
  • Upload your vaccination card in the "Registration Form" to attend High Holiday Services.

All hard copies of your COVID-19 vaccination card will be shredded and all electronic copies will be permanently deleted. 

Additional Information

Will the synagogue be distributing High Holiday Survival Kits this year and do I need one? 

The synagogue will again be distributing High Holiday Survival Kits and all members should plan to pick one up, regardless of whether they plan to attend services in person or remotely.  High Holiday Survival Kits will include a schedule of services, programming booklets, and other information for the upcoming year.  For those who plan to attend services virtually and need them, we will also include Mahzorim, Tallitot, and Yizkor booklets to borrow.   (When you pick up your kit, please let us know what you need to borrow.)

Please plan to pick up a kit even if you do not need to borrow Mahzorim,Tallitot, or Yizkor booklets.

High Holiday Survival Kits will be available for pick up on:

  • Wednesday, August 25 through Thursday, August 26, from 8:30 am to 2 pm
  • Friday, August 27, 8:30 - 1:00
  • Sunday, August 29, from 9 to 11 am
  • Monday, August 30, from 8:30 am to 2 pm
  • Tuesday, August 31 and Thursday, September 2, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Friday, September 3, from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm

A team of volunteers has generously offered to deliver the kits to those who are home-bound and unable to pick up their bags.  If you need a home delivery, please contact Melissa Rudman at melissa@templealiyah.com by Monday, August 30, indicating the number of Mahzorim and/or Tallitot you will need, your contact information, and your address.

Can I hear the blasts of the Shofar live this year? 

To comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, we will not be blowing the Shofar inside the synagogue building.  Weather permitting, we will blow the Shofar outside of the building. We will do our best to make the sounds of the Shofar audible to those attending remotely.

To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to hear the Shofar blasts, we are repeating our Shofar Blowers at Your Home program.  Through this program, fellow congregants who are proficient Shofar blowers will come to your home to blow Shofar for you outside, at a safe distance.   To sign up for a Shofar blower to come to your home, click here.  Deadline for sign up is Thursday, September 2. If you are having difficulty signing up for this form, please call the office.

Will I be offered an honor this year? 

Given the need for social distancing and the many uncertainties surrounding in-person gatherings, we are limiting honors this year, focusing primarily on the honors of Torah reading and leading services. 

I would like to connect to other community members but do not wish to gather with others this year.  What can I do to feel connected to other members of my community?

During this time, it is difficult for many of us to feel connected to one another.  There are several ways our community can support you.

Watch Services on Zoom.  Zoom services enable you to see others during the service and to speak with others at the conclusion of services. 

Submit a video greeting to Temple Aliyah:  Community Greetings and Stories 5782.  We encourage you to participate in creating this synagogue-wide video where you can wish other members High Holiday greetings.  As you may recall from last year, the video is easy to make and is a nice way to say hello to – and hear from - fellow congregants.  To make a video, visit https://www.tribute.co/aliyah-5782.  The deadline for submitting your video is Thursday, August 26.

Zoom Party.  If you are technologically savvy, we encourage you to set up a “Zoom Party” during services.  This “party” enables you to invite your friends to a Zoom call and “share” your screen with them.  By sharing the screen of livestream of services, you can watch services together while interacting with one another. 

Reach out to our Hesed Committee or Clergy.  If you are feeling isolated during this difficult High Holiday season, or would appreciate having a member of our community discretely reach out to you, please feel free to contact either of the Hesed committee chairs:  Sharon Katz at Sharon.katz@templealiyah.com or 781-400-5740, or Nicole Rudolph at nicole.rudolph@templealiyah.com.  Of course, you are always welcome to speak with Rabbi Perkins at rabbi@templealiyah.com or Cantor Gloth at cantor@templealiyah.com or by calling the synagogue office at 781-444-8522.

I enjoyed the Elul Celebration last year.  Will this be repeated?

Yes!  Elul Celebration is a home-grown Temple Aliyah newsletter to help you prepare for the High Holidays and to give you information pertinent to High Holiday services and attendant programming.  Given that the High Holidays begin at the tail end of summer, this year’s Elul Celebration will be an “easy read” to help you ease from summer days to the heavier themes of the High Holidays.  Make sure to check your inbox in the next few days and weeks.

I am planning to attend services virtually but am confused by all of this technology.  Is there any way that I can get help?

Yes!  Members of our community have agreed to staff a “help desk” to help you connect to services.  The help desk will be open immediately preceding and during the first part of services.  Help desk hours will be as follows:

  • Erev Rosh Hashanah, September 6, from 6:00 to 6:30 pm
  • Rosh Hashanah Day 1, September 7, from 8:00 to 9:30 am
  • Rosh Hashanah Day 2, September 8, from 8:00 to 9:30 am
  • Erev Yom Kippur, September 15, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm
  • Yom Kippur Day, September 16, from 8:00 to 9:30 am

Questions or concerns?

Come to a virtual information session with Rabbi Perkins, Cantor Gloth and co-chairs Peter Seresky and Aviva Jezer on August 24 at 8:00 pm by clicking here. Additionally, feel free to contact either Peter or Aviva with questions or concerns at peterseresky@gmail.com or aviva.jezer@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 26 2021 20 Tishrei 5782