Jews at Congregation Beth Emek in Pleasanton will be meeting online for the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, Rabbi Dr. Laurence Elis Milder has announced.
"We may be praying in a Zoom room, but it won't be 'virtual' prayer," Milder noted. "The prayers will be as real as ever. In fact, people who could never make it to the synagogue, or who live across the country, will be part of our High Holy Day worship this year."
The High Holy Days consist of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year; and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
On the Jewish calendar, this month marks the beginning of the year 5781. Jews around the world will be celebrating the New Year on Friday evening (Sept 18) and the following day.
Yom Kippur is observed by Jews as a day of fasting, prayer and reconciliation. Yom Kippur begins on the evening of Sept. 27 and continues until sundown the following evening.
Because of the pandemic, many Jews will be observing these holy days online.
"Judaism has always adapted to the challenges of the moment," Rabbi Milder said. "Recognizing the preeminent Jewish value of protecting one's health, we are proud to move our worship services online."
Congregation Beth Emek, a Reform synagogue in Pleasanton, will host evening and morning services online this year.
"We love the age-old prayers and melodies of this season," Milder explained. "Being online brings us into a new dimension of worship, which allows for connection and creativity that we might never have otherwise explored."
A link to High Holy Day services at Congregation Beth Emek can be found at www.bethemek.org. The congregation extends a welcome to the community to join in its observance of these sacred days.