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Here’s Where to Go for Streaming High Holiday Services
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Here’s Where to Go for Streaming High Holiday Services

A New Yorker's guide to authentic, powerful, uplifting -- and safe -- worship on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, the  senior rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, leads a recent virtual Shabbat service. (YouTube)
Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, the senior rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, leads a recent virtual Shabbat service. (YouTube)

(This guide is in formation. If you have a synagogue or service to add, please email information to editor@jewishweek.org.)

For this Jewish New Year like no other, synagogues will be offering Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services meant to capture the spirit of the Holidays from the safety of worshippers’ homes. While few if any Orthodox synagogues will be using the technology that allows services to be streamed live, the Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and independent communities below will be streaming services via Zoom, YouTube, Facebook and other platforms.

Some synagogues will be hosting hybrid models, with limited-seating and outdoor services augmenting the virtual offerings; others will be digital only. Some are encouraging congregants to tune into their live feeds before the start of the holy days, in line with their Shabbat practice.

All have been working all summer to make their services, however virtual, an authentic, powerful, uplifting — and safe — spiritual experience.

(Streaming services are free unless otherwise indicated.)   

Synagogues

B’nai Jeshurun (independent) will publicly livestream, at no cost, all prayer services, including its traditional family, young family and mindfulness services, to all who would like to join. BJ has employed its livestream platform, VirtuShul, since the beginning of the pandemic. All accompanying resources, a schedule of services, a link to livestream prayer services, and a list of frequently asked questions about BJ’s plans for the High Holy Days can be found at bj.org/waze.

Park Avenue Synagogue’s (Conservative) High Holiday services are only online this year, and open to everyone with internet access. You do not need to be a member to participate. Services will be livestreamed on Erev Rosh Hashanah, both days of Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidrei and Yom Kippur. The main community service can be streamed on the synagogue website. You can find the full schedule here. Youth services and select Yom Kippur learning services will be open only to members.

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (Reform) is livestreaming services at www.swfs.org/live. All of its virtual offerings are listed in the schedule here.

Selichot services are broadcast live from the sanctuary at Temple Emanu-El in New York on Sept.12, 2020. (emanuelnyc-hhdlive.org)

Temple Emanu-El (Reform) is launching a custom-made virtual platform, with services that will be interactive, available worldwide, accessible for children and families, and free. They will include traditional prayers, the shofar blowing and contributions from Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, Ambassador Ido Aharoni and The Carpenters, a trio of violinists. The virtual platform will stream a hybrid of pre-produced and live services, and include specialized break out rooms designed to help extended families connect privately, a chat module where attendees can converse, and special services meant for children and parents. The platform also includes a digital version of the prayer book, as well as video captioning. The schedule of services and highlighted features are online.

Sutton Place Synagogue (Conservative) is streaming services created exclusively for these High Holidays,with simple navigation through the live service, as well as additional pre-recorded videos, audio files, written texts and a virtual lobby/chat room. Non-members must click here to register and see the full schedule. Registration comes with acccess to a digital mahzor (prayerbook).

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, which welcomes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, queer and straight individuals and families, invites all to share its Days of Awe services online, free of charge. Participants must register here for access to all High Holy Days services.

Bet Am Shalom (Reconstructionist) welcomes individuals from all generations and religious backgrounds as well as interfaith families, empty nesters, singles, LGBTQ, the scholarly and observant, and those new to Judaism as it livestreams in a virtual environment of “inspiration, spirituality, community, and song.” To enter its “Virtual Open Tent,” advanced registration is required.

SAJ-Judaism That Stands for All (Reconstructionist) will stream main sanctuary services live with the exception of a few pre-recorded videos featuring choir members and the Hiddur band. Register here to receive the Zoom service link the morning of each service; SAJ is asking for a donation of any size.

Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale is offering a livestream service for those who must remain at home in the hope that it will decrease the sense of isolation of this time. Click here to watch the livestream and find the livestream schedule here.

East End Temple (Reform) is sharing its services and High Holy Days programs online with friends, family, and prospective members, though registration is required and all gifts are welcome. The synagogue is promising services that will “feel organic and authentic, creating a sense of shared time and purpose, even when we cannot be in the same physical space.”

Temple Israel of Northern Westchester (Reform) welcomes non-members to join them on Rosh Hashanah by registering here in advance. Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted.

The Community Synagogue (Reform) in Port Washington will be offering worship services (on Rosh Hashanah, all will be an hour or less), family services, study sessions, guided meditations and more on line. A full schedule of all offerings here, with links to the livestream on that home page. Non-members are welcome, but must preregister here. Individual prayer books for services are available for download here

Metropolitan Synagogue of Murray Hill (Reform) invites all guests to join its musical High Holidays Zoom services. Register here. Also featured: three informal 30-minute creative outdoor  in-person celebrations (masks and social distancing required) at East 35th Street on the East River Promenade in Murray Hill. RSVP for outdoor rituals. Donations welcomed, but not required.

Alternative Venues

Jewish New Year greetings from Lab/Shul. (Courtesy)

Lab/Shul invites the public for its “everybody-friendly, multi-faith, multi-racial, artist-driven, God-optional” Days of Awe. Register for up to three logins for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (same login for both) here. Watch this video for information on how the digital platform will function — with four choices for interaction at any given time, including a schmooze lounge, meditation, yoga and kids programming.

Because Jewish will host a suite of musically and spiritually driven High Holiday services. All four events will be broadcast for free live from New Yorks Brooklyn Bowl, without an audience, and will be led by Rabbi Daniel Brenner and musical director Jordan McLean, founder of the Afrobeat band Antibalas. A house band includes members of Antibalas as well as drummer John Bollinger (Barbez/Antony and the Johnsons/Sway Machinery) and cantorial soloist Yula Beeri (The Hive/Hyrda). Sydney Rose of Dharma Punks will also lead a guided meditation at each event and a variety of musical guests from the Jewish and secular world will appear throughout the services, both live and through exclusive pre-recorded performances. Find the schedule here.

JewBelong presents a virtual Rosh Hashanah event, “Sins, Stars and Shofars!”, on Erev Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 18 , at 7:30 pm. The one-hour interactive event features Sen. Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Jill Kargman, Sela Ward, Lisa Loeb, Steven Weber, Alysia Reiner, Melissa Rivers, and more. The program will be a service of learning, community, meaning, music, and stories. The event is a fundraiser for GlobalJews.org which focuses on Jews of Color and racial equality in the Jewish community. Tickets are free.

Hillel and Reboot’s Higher Holidays (free; registration required) online spectacular features both a service and a series of talks on Rosh Hashanah from folks including master baker Jake Cohen and former Obama speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz. On Yom Kippur, the celebrity factor ramps up even more, with Kol Nidre performed by Broadway star Adam Kantor and a service featuring the Milk Carton Kids to end the holiday.

Kveller has rounded up 10 services that are appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, including Kveller’s own erev Rosh Hashanah singalong with Alicia Jo Rabins, today at 5:30 p.m.

Jews in ALL Hues and the Jews of Color Initiative have brought together 40 Jews of color and multiple organizations to produce a series of services for the holidays. Those who register in advance will get a special prayer book compiled for the service. It will also be streamed on Facebook.

My Jewish Learning is offering a one-hour, greatest-hits speed service on Rosh Hashanah morning (and again on Yom Kippur). Register here to get the Zoom link.

Mishkan Chicago, a Jewish spiritual community, will offer livestreaming services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, tapping the theater makers, visual artists and musicians on its staff and a professional film crew. The services will feature live music, asynchronously recorded prayers and songs from over 200 community members, sermons, guest speakers, family services and interactive chat features. Register at www.mishkanchicago.org/shabbat-holidays/high-holidays. Tickets cost $60 per individual ($36 for members) or $120 per household ($72 for members) for all services.

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