by Rabbi Michael Farbman
Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven; Chair, New Haven Board of Rabbis and Cantors
The New Haven Board of Rabbis and Cantors brings together a diverse group of professionals serving the Jewish community of Greater New Haven, as well as retired colleagues. Our members serve the local synagogues of various denominations, serve as chaplains at the local hospitals and universities, run educational programs, summer camps, and other nonprofits. As diverse as our group is, we are all united in our love of the Jewish people and our dedication to serving and strengthening the New Haven Jewish community.
This year, we are facing an unprecedented High Holy Day season. While our individual communities may choose different ways of responding to the realities of 2020 based on our halachic standards and the character/circumstances of the communities we serve, all of us know that this year's Yamim Noraim, Days of Awe, will be dramatically different from anything most of us have experienced in our lifetime. Over the past few months, we have convened as the Board of Rabbis and Cantors to explore the issues facing us this year, and discussed our plans and solutions. While every community's solution will be different, two major trends have emerged in our conversations.
I am grateful to Rabbis Scolnic and Ellenson for offering us food for thought for this upcoming festival season in this year of upheaval; one argues for thinking about our rituals completely out of the box and one suggests we double down on traditional rituals. I hope you find this debate meaningful as you begin to prepare for your personal High Holy Days experience this year.
I wish you all Shanah Tovah u'metukkah, a healthy, fulfilling and peaceful new year 5781 ahead.