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High Holiday Services 5781
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Should you still have questions after reviewing the faq below, please contact Rabbi Greenberg or 718-543-8400 x1.

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Livestream

 

Disable the Screensaver (optional)
If you want to turn the livestream on with the intention of using it on the following day(s) so that you avoid touching the computer on the holiday, we recommend that you make sure to turn off your screen saver.

On a Mac Computer
Go to System Preferences, click on “Desktop and Screen Saver” then click on the “Screen Saver” tab and on the “Start After” dropdown menu on the bottom left choose “never.”

On a Windows Computer
Click the Start button then Control panel. Double click the Display icon to open up the Display Properties screen. Click on the Screen Saver tab. Change the Screen saver drop down box to (None) and then click on the Apply button.

Click on the Link
Our livestream will available be on our website found at www.csair.org/livestream. You will also find the link on the synagogue's home page.

Click on the Box and Arrow
Once you’re on that page, you will see a box with an arrow button that you must press to begin the livestream. You can do this at any time, and halachically, we recommend that you do it before the holiday starts! That way you won’t have to press any buttons on your computer during the holiday. You can do this on any computer, tablet, or smartphone, just make sure it’s plugged in so that it stays charged. If you click play on the livestream before services have started, you will see a still graphic with service times. You do not have to do anything after you click play to start the services, they will start at the time that is on your screen.

Listening on a Phone Line
We will be releasing further info soon on how to call in to listen to services without watching the livestream. This will be easy to do from a smartphone, a cell phone, or a landline phone.

Safety at in Person Services

 

Everyone attending a service at CSAIR or in one of the tents needs to wear a mask that covers both your mouth and nose. Please wear it from the time you arrive at your assigned location. The only exceptions to this will be the shofar blowers (when they are sounding the shofar) and Rabbi Barry Dov Katz and Cantor Stevens when they are leading the Sanctuary/Livestream service. These people will be tested for Covid-19 before the services.


 

If you might be medically in a higher risk category, please consult your doctor regarding attending any in-person service. If, in the days leading up to the holidays, you are not feeling well (cough, fever, runny nose, upset stomach, or general malaise), it is best for you and the rest of the community for you to stay home.


 

In the unlikely event that a service needs to be cancelled before the holiday, we will send an email to the attendees. If it needs to be cancelled on the holiday, we will have someone there to offer instructions.


 

We are keeping records of attendance at each service. If you test positive after attending a service, please call Estefany Tavarez at 718-543-8400 x0. In the event of an exposure, we will follow Department of Health guidelines. People who attended that service will be immediately informed and the congregation will be notified. All communication will maintain the anonymity of the person tested.


 

We made our plans based on guidance from our medical advisory committee and government guidelines. If infection rates increase significantly in New York City, then we might adjust or cancel our plans. We will do everything in our power to communicate with the congregation if there are changes.


 

Yes! We have many classes, events and experiences that we have crafted to help you set the mood for the holiday. We will have classes with Rabbi Katz and Rabbi Greenberg to help you spiritually prepare for the holidays. We have a cooking class, how to blow a shofar class and so much more. Click here to see all the Elul Programming.

 

Seat Assignments for In-Person Services

 

Each service will be 50 people or less in accord with government guidelines. A small committee will take into account primarily the location service preference you indicated on your form and then your time preference. We have an amazing community that is longing to be together. Over 450 people requested in person services. We will have eight morning services to try to accomodate as many people as possuble. We are lucky that we have so many talented service leaders to enable us to create such a large array of services. We are pushing ourselves as far as we can to accommodate everyone. We will attempt to give people their first preference for at least one day of the holidays and hope that everyone is open to attending services that are not their first preference when that is necessary. We might not be able to offer you a place at all of the services you want to attend. There are no specific assigned seats, just assigned venues/times. We hope that people will use this year as a chance to meet new people (while staying socially distant!)


 

We will send out service assignments the week after Labor Day.

 

Details about the In-Person Services

 

It would be best for everyone to pick up a machzor from the shul on one of the days advertised. You can keep these machzorim through the holidays. This will minimize the number of hands that will touch each machzor. There will be a limited number of machzorim at the shul and the tents. Machzorim will be distributed on Sunday, September 13.


 

All of the services will include the major prayers of the day. Based on the advice of the medical committee (and the ability of people to watch on the livestream), we aim to have each service be approximately 2 hours. In light of the special nature of this year, Rabbi Katz, in consultation with Cantor Stevens and Rabbi Greenberg, is compiling a list of mandatory prayers and prayers that can/will be skipped to shorten the service.That being said, with so many different people leading the services, there will be small differences in which prayers are said, melodies used, when there are short kavvanot (short talks to focus attention on specific moments.) In the morning, we encourage people to pray Pesukei Dizimra (the early morning service) on their own as we will be starting with Shacharit.


 

Rabbi Katz is looking forward to addressing all of the members of the shul. He expressed an interest in everyone being able to hear him at the same time with no difference between those on livestream or in person. With so many services and with time constraints, it would be impossible for him to speak during the days of the holidays. Instead, he will speak on livestream before Rosh HaShana begins on Friday, September 18 at 5:45 PM and again before Yom Kippur begins Sunday, September 27 at 5:30 PM. His sermons will be available online after the holiday as well.


 

In each service, there will be some short kavvanot (short talks to focus attention on specific moments) to enhance the experience. In addition, we will post other sermons online before the holiday.


 

At each service, someone will assign people to recite the blessings for each aliyah of the Torah reading. People who receive these honors will recite the blessings standing at their seat. One person will be assigned to open and close the ark as necessary. The Torah readers will unwrap and wrap the Torah scrolls before and after the reading.


 

Singing is such an evocative and powerful part of the holidays. This year, for health reasons, we ask that people sing quietly in soft voices or hum softly along with the shaliach tzibbur, the prayer leader. Please do not sing in full voice.


 

Yizkor will be held as part of all of the services on Yom Kippur morning. Because we want to keep services relatively brief, there will be short introductions to these special moments of memory. In addition, we will run a second Yizkor before mincha (the afternoon service) for people who did not attend the morning service. On Wednesday, September 23 we will do a Zoom Evening of Remembrance where we will use our online Yizkor book and create a time for memory, details here.


 

There will be several opportunities to hear a live shofar blowing. On the second day of Rosh Hashana you can come for a brief service in front of CSAIR (if it rains in the Tent) at 4:00 PM. In addition, we will participate in the Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership’s shofar blowings around the neighborhood on the holiday. Watch for details.


 

At the sanctuary service, the shofar blowing will take place on the Sukkah porch. At the tent services, the shofar will be sounded at the edge of the tent. As an additional precaution, all shofar blowers will be tested for Covid-19 in the days before they sound the shofar.

 

Information Specific to the Sanctuary Service

 

Rabbi Katz and Cantor Stevens will be the main leaders of services in the sanctuary/livestream. On the second day of the holiday, they will be joined by Rabbi Ethan Linden.


 

Given the need to designate certain seats to ensure physical distancing, people will not be able to sit in the seats they normally sit in. Services will be assigned not seats.


 

All synagogue bathrooms will be open on the holidays and available for use by people in the building and in the tent in the shul’s backyard. They will be cleaned every hour by our custodial staff following government protocols. As an additional precaution, they will be stocked with anti-bacterial wipes for you to use before and after you use the bathrooms.

 

Information Specific to the Shul Backyard Services (in the parking lot)

 

A team of members of the synagogue volunteering their time will coordinate each service. Each team will include shlichei tzibur (people to chant the prayers,) Torah readers, someone to serve the role of rabbi, greeters, gabbaim (to coordinate limited honors), and CSS volunteers for security. We thank these volunteers for their preparation and giving time in the holidays to help ensure that every member of the shul can have an in person experience.


 

All synagogue bathrooms will be open on the holidays and available for use by people in the building and in the tent in the shul’s backyard. They will be cleaned every hour by our custodial staff following government protocols. As an additional precaution, they will be stocked with anti-bacterial wipes for you to use before and after you use the bathrooms.

 

Information Specific to the Services in the Backyard Tents (in Central and North Riverdale)

 

A team of members of the synagogue volunteering their time will coordinate each service. Each team will include shlichei tzibur (people to chant the prayers,) Torah readers, someone to serve the role of rabbi, greeters, gabbaim (to coordinate limited honors), and CSS volunteers for security. We thank these volunteers for their preparation and giving time in the holidays to help ensure that every member of the shul can have an in person experience.


 

No. We cannot safely offer access to bathrooms at our offsite locations.

 

Co-Creating the Holidays

Here’s how you can help make these holidays special. We appreciate your flexibility, compassion, and sense of humor. 

 
  • Before the holiday, set up a place where you will watch the livestream. Put your machzor, tallit and perhaps a family momento there to set the space as a makom tefillah, a place of prayer.
  • Sing so loud that we can hear you in shul!


 
  • Say Shana Tovah to people you do not know. Do it in a way that helps them feel your sincerity and know that you are smiling despite the mask and the six feet distance between you.
  • Graciously change seats so that a family can sit closer together or deal with whatever the weather brings that day.
  • Sing quietly but with intent to help create the buzz of davvening.


 
  • Call the people you only see on the holidays, the ones who usually sit in “your section” in, to check in.
  • Thank the people leading and supporting your service.
  • Laugh when things don’t go exactly as expected.
  • Find a moment to offer your own Shehianu prayer, acknowledging God for keeping us in life and sustaining us at this time.
Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781