Home Sanctuary

Posted on September 16, 2020

As a new Jewish year approaches, the ways in which we will celebrate it will undoubtedly look a little unfamiliar.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of us will be unable to gather in the ways we do every year, to both welcome the arrival of the new year on Rosh Hashanah, and to break the Yom Kippur fast with our fellow congregants at Temple Beth-El.

None of this, however, means that we can’t take steps to make the arrival of 5781 extra special and meaningful, whether you are celebrating as a single person or as a large family.

In fact, there are a number of ways you can make your home as special and welcoming as your synagogue, according to the article “How to Celebrate the High Holidays At Home” on MyJewishLearning.com.

Set the mood

Choose an area of your home to designate for prayer. Make it inviting and conducive to spirituality. Consider placing pictures of family and Jewish books in the space, or covering items that could be distracting during worship.

Dress up, just as you would to attend synagogue for High Holy Days services. This reinforces the importance of the season and lends itself to making an area of your home extra special. You may be surprised by how wonderful you feel looking your best to welcome the new year.

Prepare the nosh

As with all Jewish holidays, food is essential to the celebration.

If you’re separated from family because of the pandemic, you can still cook together – online. Do a video cooking session with loved ones preparing the same dish as you, or try out a new recipe. This is also a great opportunity to reminisce with others on the video call about past holiday cooking sessions, or to share your hopes for the coming year.

Close the miles

Don’t fret about the distance from loved ones and your fellow congregants. Use the time before services to call or text someone you love or miss. Take a few moments to write a short note or card to someone and send it in the mail – it’s a lovely surprise and an opportunity to personalize your sentiments. Or, do a video call to send good wishes for a sweet year. Join any or all of TBE’s scheduled Zoom services. TBE’s clergy and administrative teams have worked hard to prepare a slate of services that consider our new normal, while also being spiritual and inviting.

Having a new perspective on old traditions can go a long way toward making this holiday season meaningful, while keeping us all safe. For additional ideas on how to celebrate the holidays during the pandemic, visit MyJewishLearning.com.

Originally published in the September-October 2020 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives.