Is it safe to come to in-person services? How will you keep everyone healthy?
Our medical advisory committee has worked with our clergy and staff to develop a low-risk plan for in-person services. In addition to our masking and vaccination requirements, social distancing, and attendance cap, our clergy and musicians will be tested for COVID prior to services. Each person’s risk tolerance will be different based on individual factors, but we have worked hard to find a responsible way to come together in-person. We think it will be so joyful to be together!
Will services be available virtually?
All of our services this year (except for Tot) will be available virtually on Zoom and Facebook Live. Both the virtual sanctuary services and the outdoor services will be professionally filmed and streamed to Zoom to ensure production quality and minimize the risks of any technical issues.
What happens to outdoor services if it rains?
In case of rain, in-person services will be held on Zoom.
Who can come to services? Can I buy guest tickets?
Virtual services are open to everyone! You are welcome to invite friends and family by sending them the link to register for Zoom services. In-person outdoor services are capped at 150 attendees and require reservations, which you can do online here. Reservations for in-person morning services and Kol Nidrei are currently limited to members, but we hope to have room for guests as well. If you would like to purchase guest tickets, which are $150 per guest, please contact Dena at email@example.com with the number of guest tickets you would like to purchase, and which services your guests plan to attend, and we will contact you on September 3 to confirm availability. In-person Family services, Tot services, and Yom Kippur afternoon/concluding services require reservations, but not purchasing tickets.
Will the Zoom services be similar to last year’s services? Why is the morning service being split into two parts?
Last year, when our clergy were not yet vaccinated, they led services from their homes. This year, they will lead Zoom services from the sanctuary with live musical accompaniment, except on Rosh Hashanah Evening, when they will lead an informal service from their homes. We had to get creative with the structure of the morning service because of a few factors, including the limited capacity of our outdoor space and the timing of the day. For those of you joining only on Zoom, we hope that the split in the morning service will give you a chance for a break and allow you to be more fully present at each part. The two services will not overlap, so you can join for both or either one, depending on which elements of the service are most meaningful to you.
What if I’m not vaccinated? Can I still come in-person?
We encourage all our members who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If you cannot or choose not to be vaccinated, we hope you will join us online for services.
How do I show proof of vaccination?
When you arrive at in-person services, you will need to show your vaccination card. You can also show us a copy, or a photo on your phone of your vaccination card. Unfortunately, if you forget your vaccination card at home, we’ll need to ask you to go back and get it or locate a picture of it before we can admit you.
What kind of masks can I wear?
You can find the CDC’s updated guidance on masks here. Masks with an exhalation valve, which allows virus particles to escape, and face shields worn without a mask, are not acceptable.
How can I participate in services?
We’re so glad you asked! Like last year, we will be including the voices, faces, and words of our community in videos that will be part of the Zoom-only and Kol Nidrei services. Please click here to submit photos and greetings by Sunday, August 29th..
Are services accessible for people with disabilities?
Making sure that everyone in our community can participate is an important value for our community, but the changes necessary for COVID have made some aspects of accessibility challenging. Accessing the backyard requires walking around the building. We will have seats on the top level of the back patio that we will prioritize for those with limited mobility. For virtual services, we will use auto-captioning on Facebook Live, and we are hoping to offer auto-captioning on Zoom as well. We do have large-print prayerbooks available for members to borrow for home or synagogue use. If you need additional accommodations to join services either in-person or online, please reach out to us.
Are children and babies welcome at services?
We hope to see many children and babies at family and tot services, and at the Yom Kippur concluding service (Ne’ilah)! We regret that we cannot allow unvaccinated children to attend other in-person services this year. We will have chairs set up for families to sit in socially distanced pods, or you can also bring a picnic blanket and spread out on the grass with your family. You are welcome to nurse or feed babies during these services. Children under the age of 2, who cannot wear masks, are still welcome to attend the Family, Tot, and Ne’ilah services, and we ask that other participants be mindful of giving these unmasked young children plenty of space.
Will the building be open? Can I go to the bathroom, or visit the sanctuary?
The building will be open only for attendees to use the bathroom. Please note that going to the bathroom during services will require walking around the building to the front entrance. During the Yom Kippur afternoon and concluding (Ne’ilah) services, attendees will be invited to spend a few private minutes in the sanctuary or before the open ark, either alone or as a family. Only one individual/household will be allowed in at a time, masks required.
Why are you suggesting that we wear white to certain Yom Kippur services?
We’re trying out a new tradition at Beth David this year! For hundreds of years, many communities have had the custom of wearing white on Yom Kippur. There are many different explanations for this custom, but one medieval author explains it by quoting a verse from Isaiah meaning that no matter what we have done wrong this past year, forgiveness is always possible: even if our mistakes are crimson, they can turn as white as snow. Wearing white is of course not required, but we hope it will be beautiful to see the white across the backyard and the Zoom screens. If you have the custom of wearing a tallit (prayer shawl), we also encourage you to wear it on the High Holy Days, whether you are praying in person or at home. Traditionally, the tallit is worn only in the morning, not in the evening, but the evening of Kol Nidrei is the exception to that rule.