UWS Synagogue Takes Rosh Hashanah Services Online Amid Pandemic

Rosh Hashanah
Photo credit iStock/Getty Images
By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Jewish New Year begins at sundown and this holiday will be different from celebrations in years past as many synagogues still have their doors closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Not being together will be a challenge, but Congregation Rodeph Sholom on the Upper West Side wants congregants to feel connected and will have multiple services available online for Rosh Hashanah.

Rabbi Robert Levine said they had a production crew in for days to record and edit their service.

"It's in reaction to the fact that people want to have an authentic experience even though, sadly, we're not on site together," Levine said. 

There are traditional services, but also an a la carte element.

"Each rabbi gave a sermon for the service and a longer sermon that can be accessed online," Levine said.

His sermon is titled "Dare to Hope."

"Part of my message is we have to bring hope to people who are far less blessed than we are," said Levine.

Other synagogues have also opted to stream their services online, including the Upper East Side's Park Avenue Synagogue.

Meanwhile, the Chabad of Wall Street and the Jewish Learning Experiencing will be hosting an outdoor rooftop service on Friday evening that will adhere to CDC guidelines including social distancing and mask wearing.

The Chabad of Battery Park City will also hold outdoor services in a large tent at the Esplanade Plaza. Seats will be spread apart, masks are mandatory and the area will be sanitized between services.

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