Pasadena temples are gearing up to host Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, observances starting Friday, but are planning some changes to their traditional programs and services to keep congregants safe amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Some temples have moved their services to online-only formats. Others are holding in-person gatherings with strict social distancing guidelines.
At the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, all usual events were either canceled or moved to virtual formats.
“We have canceled or moved online various events, as well as created updated health and safety protocols, taking guidance from two principles taught in the Talmud: Pikuach nefesh dohe Shabbat – Action required to save a life supersedes the requirements of the Sabbath; and, Kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh – We are all responsible for one another,” the Temple said in an email to members.
Despite restrictions brought on by the pandemic, “PJTC’S clergy, staff, and lay leaders are excited to celebrate the 2020 High Holy Day season with our community,” the temple said in a written statement.
“While we cannot all physically be together, we are committed to creating an engaging experience of virtual togetherness that will remind us all that we are part of something bigger than ourselves,” the statement said. “Our team has worked fervently to develop programming filled with the holy moments of connection, reflection, growth, mourning, uplift, and joy that we all need right now.”
The Chabad of Pasadena is planning online programs, as well as in-person services with limited attendance, reservations required, and social distancing measures in place.
“This year, being we are faced with new challenges in celebrating the holidays, Chabad of Pasadena is presenting various options and avenues of participation,” the temple said in a written statement. “These respect individual circumstances and preferences while still allowing everyone to participate each in their own way.”
The Chabad also put together a collection of online resources, including prayer books and videos, for those who observe Rosh Hashanah at home.
Rosh Hashanah marks not only the start of a new year but celebrates the creation of the universe, according to the Chabad.
It will begin at sundown on Friday and continue through sundown on Sunday.
Traditional observances include festive foods, prayer services, and the blowing of the ram’s horn, or shofar, on both mornings of the holiday.
A listing of activities planned by the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center is available on the temple’s website at https://www.pjtc.net/roshhashanah#OnlineResources
Events and programs planned at the Chabad of Pasadena can be found online at chabadpasadena.com.