Dear Temple B’nai Israel Members,
We are writing to update you on our plans for High Holy Days 5781 (September and October 2020).
After much consideration, the TBI Board of Trustees has decided that we will not hold our usual in-person High Holy Days services this year. Instead, we will provide a variety of other ways for us to come together and celebrate the holidays. We are making this decision now to give us time to plan.
We did not arrive at this decision lightly. We know how important it is to each and every member to see one another and celebrate the holidays together. We also know that we cannot gather in our usual numbers this year. It would be a logistic puzzle for the ages to figure out which members could attend in person, and which could not. One tenant of our Reform movement is egalitarianism, if even one of our members could not participate fully in the holidays our entire community would suffer. As a simple matter of fairness, we cannot have
in-person High Holy Days services.
We have taken into consideration the guidance and requirements from the CDC, the State of Michigan, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Michigan Board of Rabbis. There is no way to predict what September and October will look like, but until there is a vaccine, we know that large indoor gatherings, especially those that include singing, are not safe.
Our COVID-19 Taskforce will continue working to make decisions about when and how our building will open. Many factors are being taken into consideration, and it is the hope of the Taskforce to give guidance which would allow small gatherings of our community. We will continue to be guided by our Jewish values, top of which is Pikuach Nefesh (saving a life) as we make all of our decisions.
We do not yet know what our High Holy Days services will look like, but we do know that congregant participation is an important and valued aspect of our services. You will be receiving a phone call from a member of the Religious Activities Committee (RAC) in July, during which you will be asked if you would like to participate, and if so, how you would like to participate. Rabbi Schicker also welcomes your call or email in order to share how you would like to be involved. At this moment, Rabbi Schicker is thinking that many of the parts will be pre-recorded but this could change.
Rabbi Schicker, the RAC, and the Board of TBI are working together as a team to bring High Holy Days to fruition. It is the hope to have: recorded and live-streamed elements of the service; resources for those who would prefer not to engage online; and some other possible ways in which the community can gather to celebrate.
We will all miss being in the same space, in our sanctuary, singing and praying (and talking) together. Please know that we all hope to be back together soon, and that we place each and every member’s health and well-being as a top priority.
If you have any questions, please reach out to members of the TBI Board or to Rabbi Schicker.
Jenn Odza, President
Terra Eash, VP of Membership
Rose Kirsch, VP of Operations and Programs
Brandt Lubratich, Treasurer
Members at Large: Marlene Denenfeld, Brian Horvitz, Robert Manson, Rebecca Pollens, Raye Ziring
Shanah Tovah – Happy New Year!
During the High Holy Days, we Jews look inward at our own souls and deeds.
Strengthened by our community, we strive to make the changes that will enable us to become better people in the New Year.
We offer a season of prayer and programs for congregants of all ages and backgrounds to learn and grow spiritually. We look forward to starting the year with you in the warm, welcoming community that is Temple B’nai Israel. May your New Year be filled with sweet blessings!
During the High Holidays we are joined by WMU professor of voice Carl Ratner, he serves as cantorial soloist.
Ratner has performed in 10 states and four European countries and has sung in 14 languages! He comes to us after serving as a member of a High Holiday choir at a congregation in Chicago for many years and we are blessed to have him with us!
Admission to High Holiday services is free to current TBI members, all area college and university students, and current members of other Reform congregations.