We have spent many days deliberating on the important decision of how we will conduct High Holiday services for our community during the ongoing COVID pandemic.
I would like to thank every community member who responded to our survey and shared your thoughts on what you are looking for this year. You were invaluable in helping us formulate our plans.
I also want to extend my deepest appreciation to our High Holiday planning committee, and our medical advisors, Dr. Avi Rosenberg, MD, PhD, who is an expert in community level mitigation, and Dr. Michael Cohen, MD of Physician’s Regional Medical Center, for their valuable guidance and consultation.
In response to community demand, and with strict medical oversight, Chabad of Naples will be hosting abbreviated indoor High Holiday services with limited seating, as well as an outdoor 20-minute outdoor service for Rosh Hashanah, a possible outdoor Yizkor service on Yom Kippur, and virtual pre-holiday programming available to all.
It is critical to note that in Jewish law, Pikuach Nefesh, the mandate to save lives, is prioritized above even our most sacred traditions. At a time of year when our most powerful prayers ask, “Who will live and who will die?”, we humbly take on the core responsibility for protecting life, in our synagogue and the wider community. No matter whether services are open or not, YOUR health comes first. We urge every community member to carefully consult with their own physician before making the decision to participate in services. If your health is vulnerable or you do not feel comfortable attending, please do not come.
In addition to our in-person services, we will be offering a taste of the High Holidays for ALL in a bevy of exciting new programs we will be rolling-out throughout the season.
The High Holidays are a soulful and rejuvenating time; a season during which we get that "Jewish recharge" for the New Year.
At Chabad Naples, we’ve always prided ourselves on offering uplifting and inspiring services that are open to all. This year, we’ve been presented with a unique set of challenges, but challenges and obstacles only strengthen our resolve.
Knowing how important these days are - and how this year we will all need that connection perhaps more so than any other - our approach is not merely “how do we get by”, but “how do we make this the most special and memorable High Holidays of our lifetime”
Our goal is that every person in our community is able to experience these holy days in a meaningful way either in synagogue, outdoors, online, or at home. Wherever you are, and however you feel comfortable participating, we are here for you.
What you need to know about Chabad’s In-Person High Holiday Service 5781:
1. We will be offering abbreviated indoor services for
a. Rosh Hashana Day One
b. Rosh Hashana Day Two
c. Kol Nidrei
d. Yom Kippur Day
2. All indoor services will strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines
3. Masks and health screenings will be required
4. Preregistration is mandatory due to capacity concerns
5. Capacity will be significantly reduced, and seating will be spaced
6. Based on demand, we may offer an abridged service in multiple shifts
7. There will be no Kiddush, meals or social gatherings, only prayer services
8. Congregants above the age of 70 or who are in an at-risk demographic are strongly urged to consult with their doctor before attending
9. Seats will be sanitized between services using NSF-Certified safe, Hospital grade disinfectant fogger & mister
10. Temperature taking will be done upon entry by our security team
Chabad will also be hosting an outdoor prayer service on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. This 20-minute Tashlich service will include a Shofar blowing. The full details of our indoor and outdoor services will be shared in the near future.
Chabad of Naples’ goal for this year’s High Holidays is to maintain social distancing while ensuring connection. We will be offering meaningful ways to connect and get into the spirit of the High Holidays before each holiday. Obviously, the situation is still quite fluid. All of the above is assuming no major changes in the Covid situation and the CDC guidelines between now and the holidays.
We look forward to sharing more about our exciting and innovative programming in the weeks ahead.
May HASHEM bring healing and blessings to all of us and to the whole world, and may 5781 usher in a new period of abundant blessings of health, happiness & prosperity for all of us!
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos
Arthur M. Seigel, M.D.
Chabad Naples’ High Holiday Planning Committee