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Sinai Temple Stitches Together a Virtual High Holiday Experience

SPRINGFIELD — Sinai Temple in Springfield will open its virtual doors to the community with a unique High Holiday experience.

For Rosh Hashanah, the evening of Sept. 18 and the day of Sept. 19, and for Yom Kippur, the evening of Sept. 27 and the day of Sept. 28, more than 310 individual sequences, involving 45 different people, are being stitched together into a multi-day holiday observance that includes pre-recorded video as well as some interactive Zoom sessions.

“In late Spring, we created a Covid-19 Task force to survey our membership about their comfort level with a variety of observance options,” explained Rabbi Jeremy Master. “The response was clearly virtual, so we got to work coordinating it.”

Thanks to a technology grant from the Jewish Federation of Western Mass., Sinai was able to hire a production company to produce the project and purchase new video recording equipment, which Master has already been using to stream weekly services on social media. In a letter to the Temple membership recently, about the virtual service, Master wrote, “We must do our best to find God in other places. I invite you to make the space you are in a mini-sanctuary.”

“The fascinating thing about this is the variety of options we have. For example, we can film looking down at the Torah, so people can see the beautiful Hebrew script as the reading is taking place,” says Rich Alpert, President of Sinai. In addition to Torah reading, the multi-dimensional High Holiday presentation will include choral performances, individuals reading poetry and stories, a photographic memorial of loved ones, a musical interlude via Zoom with a pair of Springfield Symphony musicians and an interactive discussion on forgiveness.

Sinai’s virtual holiday observance will be available to the public. To receive links to the virtual services, email high-holidays@sinai-temple.org. For more information, visit www.sinai-temple.org. 

Main Photo: Rabbi Jeremy Master

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