Keep an eye on this page for updates and the latest High Holy Days information.
Why did Central decide to make its High Holy Days virtual this year?
Pikuach Nefesh, the Jewish principle of “saving a life,” is paramount in our tradition. With the explosion of COVID-19 cases in New York and our country, it is no exaggeration to say that what we do as a community may be a matter of life or death. Working with a team of healthcare experts, and based on guidance from local and state government, our leadership team made the very difficult decision that Central’s High Holy Days services will be completely virtual this year. We know the future is uncertain and we made this decision in the early summer so that we could plan the best virtual worship experience possible for our congregation and community. As we’ve done for many years, we will livestream our main worship services to the global Jewish community via our website, Facebook, and JBS cable channel—no password, payment, or registration needed. For our members, we will also have special exclusive programming and events with our Clergy to create connections between friends old and new.
How will services be different this year?
The Jewish people have had hurdles far greater than COVID, but we have never failed to atone exactly as our tradition requires: together. Central Synagogue will uphold that commandment and tradition in 2020. Participants can still expect to experience the magnificent prayers and settings of our holidays, moments to feel a greater connection with the Jewish community, and meaningful sermons that address the biggest questions of our day. There will also be opportunities for members to come together virtually before and after services, as well as opportunities for study and meditation (see here for more details).
How can I view the services?
All of Central’s worship services will be held virtually and are available and open to all. You can view services on the JBS cable TV network, on our website, on Facebook, on our YouTube channel, or via phone. You can find more details here.
Which clergy will be giving sermons at which service?
This information is not shared ahead of time. We encourage you to join all services that you’re able. We will share videos of all the sermons after the holidays via email to our members, as well as via our Facebook page, YouTube Channel and through Central’s podcast.
When is Yizkor and when are names being read?
The Yizkor service will be during our Yom Kippur Afternoon service, beginning at approximately 4:00 PM on Monday, September 28. The names remembered by Central members will be read aloud at this time, while the names remembered by our livestream community will be scrolled on screen. Please note that Yom Kippur afternoon service will air on JBS from 4 PM-6 PM, so the Yizkor service on JBS will begin approximately at 4:30 PM.
How do I get the prayer book so that I can participate in worship services?
A hard copy of our newly revised machzor will be mailed to all congregants and their guests at the end of August. An online version of the prayerbook is also available here and on our Livestream page here.
Will there be special events or programs available only to Central members this year?
Yes. There are a number of additional programs that are only available to Central members. These include special Zoom “schmoozes” with fellow members, virtual Onegs with clergy, special speaker series, clergy-led study sessions, and a variety of learning programs (see Programming/Engagement opportunities for more details).
I am a member. When will I receive my tickets?
Virtual tickets will be emailed to members in good standing the night before and morning of the holidays — Thursday, September 17 and Friday, September 18 for Rosh HaShanah; and Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27 for Yom Kippur. The schedule and all Zoom links for members-only programs will be listed on the ticket.
How is the Memory Book going to be sent out this year?
The Memory Book will be available to digital format both by email for our members and on our website. For those members who do not have access to email or the website, a hard copy version will be sent via U.S. mail.
Information for Non-Members
I’m not a member—can I get a High Holy Days gift box / copy of the prayer book / or access to one of the members-only programs?
These offerings are designed as benefits for Central members. We’ve made our High Holy Days prayer book available to download as a PDF and is available online here. We are not accepting new members before the holidays, but you can find more about membership and how to join on our website here.
I’m not a member—is there a fee or registration required for watching Central’s livestream?
There are no registrations or fees to watch our livestream; our services are open to all on our website, Facebook, YouTube Channel and via the JBS cable channel. While we of course appreciate donations, there is no charge or registration required.
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