While there are no benefits to the COVID-19 pandemic, such health issues have caused us to rethink our Jewish celebrations. Synagogues, which once prided themselves on the warmth of their in-person services of Shabbat and Yom Tovim, have had to adapt to the restrictions which now have both streaming services and Zoom minyans. This page will have a growing number of videos and information sheets to add virtual celebrations to Jewish customs.
In March 2020, in anticipation of Pesach / Passover, we presented two Webinars about running a Virtual Seder, and one is available below. The FJMC is in the process of developing outlines and videos showing you how to do other Jewish celebrations but through a virtual setting, using Zoom or any of the other virtual conferencing software. Check back on a regular basis for how to enrich your Jewish life, by inviting family and friends to your Jewish Celebrations.
Affixing Your Mezuzah
For the Outline of the Steps to Create Your Virtual Mezuzah Hanging, click here.
In 1994, the FJMC published Your Home is Your Sanctuary, providing guidance and suggestions on a Mezuzah hanging. Now while that was a time of in-person ritual, you may be able to use some of the ideas contained therein to enrich your virtual Mezuzah Hanging celebration, and you can download it from the following link.
Having a Safe Sukkot While Fighting Anti-Semitism
The following webinar was presented on September 16, 2020:
For the part of our Virtual Celebrations series focusing on Sukkot, the FJMC has partnered with 2 for Seder, a non-profit founded in honor of Joyce Fienberg, one of the victims at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by her daughter-in-law Marnie Fienberg.
In a normal year, Jews invite guests into their sukkahs to socialize and enjoy this season. In this year of COVID-19, how this event will be conducted will depend on what the situation is in October, who the guests are, social distancing, etc. And, even when some or many of the restrictions are over, what we’ve learned from the times of conducting Virtual Celebrations, whether they were Seders or Shabbat, is that we can include many more friends and family members when we do things virtually.
2 for Seder is based on the idea that every North American Jew can and should be involved in pushing back against anti-Semitism, and is working to find commonalities with other faiths and build bridges, in part by including 2 friends of another faith in our celebrations. Their current effort - 2 for Seder: In the Sukkah - encourages all Jews to invite 2 neighbors of a different faith to safely share their Sukkot celebration. The webinar will focus on how this program works, as well as how to observe a safe and meaningful Sukkot both at home and virtually.
Follow the these links for:
One of the unfortunate Jewish rituals which too many of us have participated in because of the Pandemic is virtual shiva and memorial services for loved ones who have passed. David Singer, an FJMC executive committee member, had the unfortunate opportunity of having to create such a Virtual Shiva when his mother passed and wrote up a guide so that we all can be the beneficiaries of his experience.
His guide begins:
A virtual shiva cannot replicate the meaningful experience of a potentially week-long shiva. However, it can
provide comfort and help preserve some wonderful memories that will help sustain you during your
mourning process. As we say, “memories are a blessing.”
Zoom (and other video conferencing) experiences with more than a few attendees need to be moderated,
and this is especially important for the emotional experience of shiva. To make the shiva experience
meaningful to those in mourning, a moderator/MC is needed and preparation is a must. Simply having
people call in and express their condolences, one after the other, and chat about themselves may not
provide the desired comfort to the mourners.