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2020 High Holy Days


To all of our Temple Beth El friends

Our Families Wish You a Healthy Year Full of New Beginnings,

New Horizons and Much Joy!


L’ Shanah Tova 5781!


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Dear Temple Beth El Family:


We want to take this opportunity to personally wish all of you a healthy, happy and safe New Year, and to update you on this year’s virtual High Holiday services. Services are being carefully planned to be as creative, beautiful, inspirational and meaningful as possible in this unique and challenging time, where we are all yearning to pray and experience High Holiday services together.  As a symbol of our togetherness and desire to start the New Year with a “clean slate,” although physically apart, please consider wearing your favorite white dress shirt or blouse for services. Wearing white on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a traditional way of not only making the holiday more beautiful, but reminding us of the purpose of this penitential season.


In general, services will be conducted and davened by Rabbi Re’em and Shari Spark and will be live-streamed from the sanctuary, with a limited number of congregants physically present (service participants and their spouses), wearing masks and social distancing. The Torah will be read and live sermons will be delivered. Services will be complemented by Rabbi Re’em’s guitar accompaniment. Haftorot, chanted by our congregants and teens, will be pre-recorded and posted on our website. Our services will be enhanced by the live chanting of Shacharit by the very talented Dr. Larry Glaser on the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah, and the beautiful voice of Maia Gould chanting Shacharit on Yom Kippur morning. The live-streamed services will also be recorded and available for viewing at a later time. You will be able to access and link directly to all High Holiday services from the Temple’s website, www.bethelallentown.orgWHILE WE ARE DOING OUR UTMOST TO ENSURE THAT THE VIRTUAL SERVICES WILL RUN SMOOTHLY, PLEASE BE AWARE THAT INTERNET TECHNOLOGY IS NOT FOOLPROOF, AND TECHNOLOGICAL PROBLEMS WHICH ARE BEYOND OUR CONTROL CAN OCCUR.


Every Sunday during the month of Elul, the season of return, we will be posting 7 new virtual kavannot, designed to help us set our minds and hearts to the important task of preparing ourselves spiritually for the High Holidays.  They will be sent to your e-mail, and also available on the Beth El webpage and Facebook page. These will range from messages from your fellow congregants to guitar and songs with Rabbi Re’em, YouTube videos, blog postings, a virtual sing-along choir, games to play with your families, prayers to write, and advice on creating personal prayer spaces in your homes.  In addition, we encourage you to take advantage of the free courses offered online by the Jewish Theological Seminary during the month of Elul (we have previously emailed you a link to register for those courses). Rabbi Re’em will be taking one of those courses, entitled “What makes for a genuine, meaningful prayer?” and will be leading a discussion via Zoom on the lecture on Tuesday, September 1st, at 7:00 p.m. Certain prayers for the holidays will also be prerecorded and posted on our website.


There will be a live Selichot Service on Zoom at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, 2020, presented by Congregation Brith Shalom and TBE, followed by a community program and lecture presented by Rabbi Dr. Rachel Dulin entitled, “Selichot in time of Corona.” 


Recognizing the importance and need to connect with one another, prior to services on Erev Rosh Hashanah, Friday, September 18, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., you will have the unique opportunity to meet and greet your fellow congregants on Zoom.  Live-streamed services will follow at 8:00 p.m. On the First Day of Rosh Hashanah, live-streamed services will commence at 10:00 a.m. and will conclude at 12:30 p.m. 


Zoom children’s services for grades Pre-K through 6th grade, implemented by the Religious School, will start at 10:00 a.m., and will last approximately one hour on Saturday, September 19th and Monday, September 28th.  There will not be separate Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur Teen Services, but a Teen Talk, via Zoom, will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 20th and Monday, September 28th.


The Second Day of Rosh Hashanah will again be live-steamed service at 10:00 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m., incorporating the sounding of the shofar in the music service. In addition, pre-recorded elements from our Family service, including past recordings of our Junior Choir and a story for families read by Rabbi Re’em, will also be available on our YouTube channel, AND PRE-RECORDED ELEMENTS FROM THE FAMILY SERVICE WILL ALSO BE INCORPORATED INTO THE TRADITIONAL SERVICE.


The central Mitzvah for Rosh Hashanah is hearing the shofar sounded. This mitzvah can only be fulfilled by hearing the shofar live. In order to facilitate that, the Temple will be offering a special “DRIVE-IN” shofar service on the afternoon of the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah. You will be able to hear the shofar sounded from the comfort of your car in the TBE parking lot!  Pre- registration will be required.


For those of you who are unable to access High Holiday services online and would like to hear the shofar sounded during the High Holiday period, please contact the Temple at 610-435-3521. If you would like to hear a live shofar blowing outside of your place of residence, our dedicated wandering team of shofar blowers, led by Jay Needle, will be making visits. If you need a Machzor, please contact the temple office and make arrangements to borrow one.


Although circumstances preclude us from dining together on Erev Yom Kippur, there will be a take- out Kol Nidre dinner offered, to be picked up at the temple curb between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on September 27, 2020, at a cost of $18.00 a person.  Please sign up by Friday, September 11, 2020.  Beautiful Erev Yom Kippur services chanted by Rabbi and Shari will be live-streamed, starting at 6:30 p.m.  The President’s address to the congregation will be pre-recorded and posted on our website.


For Yom Kippur morning, there will be a Morning Service, Torah Service and Musaf Service live-streamed.  There will be an adult class offered by the Rabbi at 1:00 p.m. on Zoom.  PLEASE NOTE THAT YIZKOR THIS YEAR WILL BE CONDUCTED ON YOM KIPPUR AFTERNOON. There will be live-streamed MINCHA AND YIZKOR services starting at 5:00 p.m., followed by Ne’ilah at 6:15 p.m. Havdallah, and sounding of the shofar will follow at 7:15 p.m. 



We miss seeing all of you, but know that you are in our hearts, and that we are making our utmost efforts to make this year’s virtual High Holiday services as enriching and memorable as possible.


Rabbi Re'em and Marla Melman



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