Last year, as the Jewish High Holidays approached, a man who was very ill with cancer was unable to gather the strength to attend services at his synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, in Chester.
A very good friend of his, also a member of the congregation, mentioned to Cantor Belinda Brennan that there ought to be some way to meet the spiritual needs of the ill congregant and others with similar issues at the holiest time on the Jewish calendar.
In the following months, the congregation’s Religious Affairs Committee came up with a solution, with the help of technology guru Lon Seidman, that is rare among synagogues and churches in Connecticut: live streaming of services. An investment was made in the camera equipment necessary, and volunteers were recruited to produce the videos.
And so this year, anyone who can’t attend Rosh Hashanah services, or those for Yom Kippur, or anyone else from the community can be “present” simply by calling up YouTube and typing in Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. (Other services throughout the year, scheduled for Shabbat or other holidays, will also be available.)
Stephen Davis, president of the CBSRZ board of directors, says, “Live streaming can help those at home find inspiration and comfort, but it has also galvanized a new cohort of volunteers to pioneer ways to build community. CBSRZ is described as both ‘ancient and cool.’ Our new video arm will keep that maxim true in ways we can only now imagine.”
The schedule of High Holiday services on YouTube:
Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday, September 24, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 25, 9:30 a.m.
Yom Kippur: Friday, October 3, 7:30 p.m. (Kol Nidre), and Saturday, October 4, 9:30 a.m.
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information on CBSRZ, please visit their website www.cbsrz.org or call the office 860-526-8920.