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High Holy Days 2020

We are now in July, and as you know, the State of Illinois has entered Phase Four of our Covid-19 response for public gatherings. We recognize that many of you are wondering how these new rules might specifically apply to our plans for worship, especially during the High Holy Days. After much thought and consideration, we have determined that we will not hold in-person worship during these Holidays. Rather, we will continue to offer online worship and learning opportunities.
 
While we would love to be able to gather in-person to worship and be together in community, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot do this safely. This was not an easy decision, but we recognize that, even with social distancing and required masks, communal worship poses a significant danger to our members. According to experts, singing and group singing are among the most dangerous activities of all. From an aesthetic and spiritual point of view, we cannot imagine joining in meaningful prayer without group singing and readings.
 
Please go to our website, Facebook Page, or YouTube Channel and you can see what we have already been offering for each Shabbat since March. We have heard from many of you that these have been very meaningful prayer experiences. We are very excited to be working with professional video, audio, and graphic design companies to further enhance our virtual offerings for the High Holy Days. 
 
We realize that online worship is different from worshipping together in person, therefore, we are not planning to recreate our typical High Holy Day services online. Rather, we plan to provide worship experiences that contain the warmth and majesty of the High Holy Days, but do not require you to sit in front of a screen for two hours. Within this time frame, we plan to create beautiful musical offerings and provide context for the key prayers and moments, with far less repetition of prayers. In addition to shortened services, there will be many opportunities to gather virtually as a community in more informal settings as we learn together and experience the spiritual drama of the Days of Awe.

For much of its history, Sukkat Shalom created a holy congregation outside of the walls of a synagogue building. We also know that our homes are sacred places in which we welcome the Divine presence. We very much look forward to sharing these High Holy Days with you. In the midst of these challenging times, our congregation remains our spiritual home, and we will find new meaning and inspiration as we creatively respond to this unique moment.
 
We hope you are staying safe and healthy. Please feel free to share with us your own thoughts about how to make this upcoming season most meaningful to you and to your loved ones.

-Rabbi Gordon

Sat, July 4 2020 12 Tammuz 5780