It is amazing that it took a global pandemic to bring us closer together than ever before. Prior to our physical separation, everyone had a schedule to keep, activities to attend, sports to watch and play, and responsibilities from work. When it came to getting together with people who were far away or out of town, the excuse was always, “sorry, but I really don’t have time right now.” Now we say to ourselves, “I haven’t seen some of these family or friends in decades and now we ‘zoom’ every week.”
As community spaces close their doors for the sake of public health, a number of wildly diverse Jewish offerings have started appearing online. Finally, Judaism is accessible for all. As you know, here at Temple Israel we have created multiple ways to stay involved and informed in order to connect with each other. Isolation is difficult under most circumstances, and now it is exacerbated due to the confines of the pandemic rules. The good news is that there are so many ways to stay connected to each other. From learning about prayer to listening to beautiful prayers set to song, staying connected could not be easier. With our various online programs, the ability to watch and learn is available for everyone.
Now that we are going back to our original form of livestream (Boxcast) through our website for Friday evening Shabbat services, we have added the bonus of also watching on Facebook live. This medium gives us the ability to chat live with each other while we watch, to type in names of those who need healing, and to feel like we are all together once again. During the summer months of July and August, we are introducing a few changes to our online platform. Musical Meditation will now be on Tuesday mornings at 10am, replacing the Morning Message. Lunch and Learns will be every other Wednesday, taught by a variety of teachers. The classes I will teach involve the use of the Prayer Packet on our website. Finally, the Coffee and Conversation with the Congregation will be replaced with a virtual Oneg (from your home) on Fridays at 5:30pm, before the Shabbat evening service.