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3 Previously Banned Behaviors to Embrace these Home High Holy Days

The new normal of distanced coronavirus kehilla tefillah (communal prayer) offers new ways to enhance your Home High Holy Days. Consider these 3 previously banned behaviors to warm up your worship. They just might enhance your experience.

Just please think twice before sharing them with your clergy. They might not be completely kosher.

Set up a second stream for family

When the challenges of coronavirus keep you apart, allow the benefits of the internet bring you back together. Stream High Holy Day services on one device, while simultaneously streaming family or close friends on another. With Zoom, FaceTime, Duo, Hangouts or another app, your loved ones can still enjoy services in each other’s company. And with no one nearby to shush you, you can even whisper your way through the joys of the cantor’s chanting, the wisdom of the rabbi’s sermon, or your frustrations at your separation from the sanctuary of your youth.

Pajama bottoms are Perfectly Proper

Worshipping at home means you don’t have to dress up in uncomfortable or new clothes. God has gotta be more interested in the intensity of our introspection than the fanciness of our fashion. So if you want, wear pajama bottoms or your favorite sweats to home shul, perhaps pairing them with a nicer top or a white shirt. Wrapped in a Tallit, you are dressing down to dive deep. Bodies that are more comfortable might allow minds and hearts to more seriously search our souls during the vidui (confession), leading to more authentic teshuva (repentance).

[Of course, don’t forget when you rise while zooming to angle the camera up when you stand up, or the conversation in next week’s break out room oneg might just be about your Tommy the Train Engine pajamas.]

Sing It Out Loudly

Do you sing off key? No one else is around to care.

Do you like to sing loudly? Who is going to shush you now?

Since we silence ourselves on zoom, or are unheard during pre-recorded service streams, we can and should sing out more loudly than we ever have before. Don’t worry about keeping the “meditations of your heart” quietly acceptable. Belt out your brachot (blessings) because the Holy One surely accepts the awesomeness of your al chets no matter the volume of your vidui.

While you are at it, do you want to deepen your davening by mixing in movement while you chant the prayers? Be like Miriam and her timbrels. Jump up and do some divine davening dancing!

These Holy Days are unique

They invite us to break through certain barriers of behavior to enhance our experiences.

So simultaneously stream your family (and friends), dress comfortably, and sing loudly. Then these Holy Days will be remembered both for the clarity of the cantor’s call to prayer as well as the creativity of your personal and spiritual connection.

Just please think twice before telling your clergy. With all their overwhelming sacred work preparing and leading services this year, they don’t need to be sidetracked to contemplate the questions about whether your creativity is quite kosher.


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