In this season we’re celebrating ZOOM mitzvahs!
When the pandemic began, we quickly shifted into a ZOOM mitzvah practice in which families celebrate in their homes over ZOOM and connect to the service being streamed through the Rabbi Samuel Chiel Sanctuary. This way, no one is exposed to COVID-19, the bnei mitzvah can lead prayers and read from the Torah, and can share words of wisdom, and everyone can tune in from the comfort of their own home.
We are so looking forward to celebrating with you. As we get ready to share this important milestone we want to share the values that are guiding us during this time:
Pikuach Nefesh: Our sages teach that each human life is sacred. Each one of us is essential to the world, and when we lose someone, it is as if we have lost an entire world. That is why Jewish law requires us to do everything we can to preserve life and health. Our guiding principle in making decisions during this COVID-19 pandemic is pikuach nefesh—we want to make sure that everything we do promotes health and strength and life.
Z’rizut l’mitzvah: Whenever we have the opportunity to serve God, our sages encourage us to do so without delay. In their eyes, anything worth doing is worth doing now. This is especially important in the season of COVID-19. We want to teach our children that we cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond. In this season of challenge and so many unknowns, we know that we can choose to celebrate this mitzvah of becoming a Jewish adult and taking on new responsibilities now. We know that we can move towards joy and celebration even in the midst of a challenging time. And by rising to this challenge, by celebrating in the midst of what is happening, we teach our children both the values of z’rizut lamitzvah and resilience.
*All decisions regarding COVID -19 protocols are made in concert with state and city governmental bodies and our team of medical experts.
Here’s what our families have shared about the ZOOM mitzvah experience:
“We all know that it is not the party that makes the Bar Mitzvah. It is the act of dedicating and sacrificing for something like learning Torah when you would rather be watching YouTube. This experience has truly made Jordan mature quickly and embody becoming a man in the Jewish community.”
“The hearts of our family, friends and TE members were made full thanks to the amazing video streaming capability. It was flawless! Well-wishers from all over the world tuned in and many sent pictures of themselves dressed up and watching! We were also incredibly moved by the emails, texts, and calls from Temple members who felt inspired. One congregant felt they were there “with all their heart and soul, from home.” “
“We were happy that Vivi was having her Bat Mitzvah on the day it was planned. Life cycle events continue in spite of circumstances. Vivi does not love being the center of attention so the intimacy of the event suited her. Vivi wore sweatpants under her dress and none of us wore shoes. Family and friends Zoomed in and sent pictures of themselves watching! Vivi and her three older siblings have been taught that not everything goes as you expect. Perfection is not the goal. Vivi learned that sometimes we just have to march on!”
A few days before the Bat Mitzvah, Jill emailed the congregation inviting them to join the service and to send a text or a note to Eleanor afterward. Within a few hours, congregants sent cards, texts, and one family dropped off flowers. Jill said, “these small gestures were gifts that moved us.” Eleanor concluded, “we always knew those people were nice, but they took time out of their day to actually watch and write to me! Thank you for making this day so joyful for us!”
What to expect with a ZOOM mitzvah:
- Invite everyone you know and love to join you on the Livestream!
- Those who are participating actively in the service (who are coming up for virtual aliyot and reading prayers) will join via ZOOM, everyone else will join on the Livestream
- All ZOOM participants will log in at 9 am for a quick tech check, and then will be ushered into the service by our fabulous streaming team at the proper time.
- After the service, you can download the video of your celebration to save for posterity.
- On the day of your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you immediate family will have the opportunity to participate in the service from either the comfort of your own home or from the Gann Chapel. Reisman Hall is also available when there is a double Bnei Mitzvah and both families want to be at the synagogue.
Visit our Zoom Mitzvah Frequently Asked Questions page