Because of the ongoing devastation of COVID-19 and the various health measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus, High Holiday services will need to be online this year.
The Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, will need to be celebrated outside of synagogue walls this year, according to a statement from the Michigan Board of Rabbis released July 20.
Relying on expert medical advice and the Jewish values of pikuach nefesh, safeguarding life, and sakanat nefeshot, the prohibition of endangering life, the Board has decided that celebrations during the High Holy Days of 5781/2020 “must take place beyond the physical walls of our congregational buildings.”
The decision was made based on the Board’s commitment to Jewish values to keep the community safe and “a preponderance of the best scientific and medical advice that we have,” the statement read.
Because of the ongoing devastation of COVID-19 and the various health measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus, such as social distancing, High Holiday services will need to be online this year, the statement said, although some synagogues may have a small number of members present on site for ritual purposes and/or to help lead elements of various services.
“We know that this will make these High Holy Days different than any we have celebrated before,” the statement said. “Each of our congregations are diligently working on ways to engage our communities in meaningful ways. We look forward to celebrating these awesome days together beyond the walls of our congregations and to a time when we can all safely gather together in our sacred spaces.”