High Holidays Plan — What to Expect from TBE

We are so extremely excited about this year’s High Holidays plan. Masks and social distancing required at all in-person events, as well as adherence to recommended CDC guidelines. View the service and program schedule below, followed by descriptions of in-person and virtual offerings, and their access points. View the Sukkot schedule here.

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Friday, Sept. 18

5 pm: Hallway Channel

6 pm: Service

6:30 pm: Candle lighting

Rosh Hashanah Day 1: Saturday, Sept. 19

9—11 am: Birmingham Botanical Gardens

9:30 am: Virtual Garden Service

11:15 am: Virtual Traditional Service

6 pm: Mincha/Ma’ariv

7:29 pm: Candle lighting

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Family Fun Day: Sunday, Sept. 20

9—11 am: Birmingham Botanical Gardens

9:30 am: Virtual Garden Service

11:15 am: Virtual Traditional Service

5 pm: Mincha/Taschlich (in-person at Avondale Park)

7:30 pm: Zoom Havdalah service with Sarah Metzger

Kever Avot: Sunday, Sept. 27

10 am: Old KI/Beth-El Cemetery—led by Rabbi Rube of Knesseth Israel

10:30 am: Religious School meets at Elmwood Cemetery to talk with Rabbi Stephen

11 am: Elmwood Cemetery—led by Rabbi Stephen

Kol Nidre: Sunday, Sept. 27

5 pm: Hallway Channel

6 pm: Service streamed live from Sanctuary

6:18 pm: Candle lighting 

Yom Kippur: Monday, Sept. 28

9—11 am: Birmingham Botanical Gardens

9:30 am: Virtual Garden Service with Yizkor

11:15 am: Virtual Traditional Service

5:45 pm: Mincha/Ma’ariv/Neilah

7:15 pm: Zoom Havdalah

 

Our In-Person Events

Thursday, Sept. 17: Rabbi Stephen and the Temple Beth-El Board would like to wish you a drive-by, distanced Shanah Tovah 5781!

If you can’t come to the Botanical Gardens, we really want to see you! Please plan to drive through the Beth-El parking lot. You will be able to check out a Machzor, and greet the Rabbi and Board members. We wish you all a Healthy, Sweet New Year!

9-11 am, Sept. 19: Rosh Hashanah Day 1

Temple Beth-El will take our morning service outside to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens this year. Over the course of an hour you will visit stations in the garden that evoke themes, prayers and sounds of our Rosh Hashanah liturgy. You will hear favorite melodies, the chanting of the Torah and Haftorah, you will be able to step up close to a Torah Ark for personal prayer. There will be a space to say kaddish and much more! Best of all, we won’t feel alone on this sacred day. We will get to feel the powerful energy of being with other Jews as we collectively take stock of our choices this past year and turn again toward our calling. Masks and registration are required. Ushers will be present to help keep everyone safe. Volunteer to be an usher here. This service will be available virtually for viewing. You’ll need to bring your own tallit and kippot to all our holiday services if you would like to wear those items. Registration recommended by Sept. 16. View the High Holidays 5781 Rosh Hashanah Day 1 booklet for Botanical Gardens. This booklet will be provided at the Gardens for those attending this in-person service.

9-11 am, Sept. 20: Rosh Hashanah Day 2

Morning services will continue Sunday morning with another walk through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The service guide for day two focuses our thoughts on inheritance and legacy. Taking a broader perspective than just this last year, we will invite you to reflect on home, family, and how you want to show up this coming year. Members are encouraged to invite friends and family to join them for this unique experience. Masks and registration are required to help with traffic flow. Registration recommended by Sept. 16. Ushers will be present to keep everyone safe. Volunteer to be an usher here. View the High Holidays 5781 Rosh Hashanah Day 2 booklet for Botanical Gardens. This booklet will be provided for those attending this in-person service.

5 pm, Sept. 20: Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Taschlich Service at Avondale Park

On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, families and children of all ages are invited to join us for a special Taschlich service at Avondale Park at 5 pm. Bring bread to scatter! An adapted Tashlich practice station will also be set up at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for this traditional service on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

10 am, Sept. 27: Kever Avot

It is customary to visit the graves of loved ones during the High Holiday season. The custom Kever Avot, graves of the fathers, offers the opportunity for familial healing and forgiveness. On Sept. 27, services at the Old KI/Beth-El Cemetery will be led by Rabbi Rube of Knesseth Israel this year and will occur at 10 am that Sunday. Then at 11 am, Rabbi Stephen will convene services at Elmwood Cemetery.

9-11 am, Sept. 28: Yom Kippur

We will return to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In the shade of the Alabama trees we will encounter again the power of the Yom Kippur service to wash away the burdens of the past, to set us free from regrets, to turn us toward the future with hope. Our service will be spaced out around the garden allowing you to hear familiar songs and Torah chant and offer you spots for quiet reflection and prayer. You will receive a booklet filled with prayers, poems and teachings to supplement your experience. There will be an opportunity to participate in a full Yizkor service at the end of the walking path. Masks and registration are required to help with traffic flow. Registration recommended by Sept. 24. Ushers will be present to keep everyone safe. Volunteer to be an usher here.

Our Virtual Events

All Holiday services will be made available to you through virtual platforms. If you think you will need tech assistance (for example, if you’ve had trouble finding the Shabbat services), volunteers are available to talk you through the steps. Please email Amber for help.

Sanctuary Channel

Our services this year will be streamed to you via the Temple Beth-El YouTube page. The Sanctuary Channel is one channel on the TBE YouTube page. Services will also be shared over Facebook. Out of concern for everyone’s health, the services streamed from Temple Beth-El’s building are not open to the public. Links to help you find these streaming locations can be found on the congregational calendar.

5 pm, Sept. 18: Erev Rosh Hashanah The Hallway Channel

We will have a Zoom channel open for friends to catch up with one another and offer best wishes for a sweet new year. Join us in this kibitz zone.

Zoom linkhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/81940444254

Meeting ID: 819 4044 4254

6 pm, Sept. 18: Erev Rosh Hashanah Service

Streamed live from our Sanctuary, Sarah and Rabbi Stephen will lead us in the opening prayers of this holy day.

Watch on YouTube or Facebook.

9:30 am, Sept. 19 & 20: Virtual Garden Service Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Day 2 Family Fun Day

With the help of a professional videographer, you will go on a virtual journey, joining in the garden walk from station to station. Participants in the virtual service will hear a full cycle of the Torah reading, hear powerful and memorable prayers and songs from our liturgy, and be able to participate in kaddish. The first and last 15 minutes of the livestream service will include time for participants at the gardens to send greetings to their loved ones watching over the video.

Watch on YouTube or Facebook.

11:15 am, Sept. 19 & 20: Virtual Traditional Personal Morning Prayer Service Day 1 and 2

Recorded in the Sanctuary, this prayer service will feature the parts of the Shacharit and Musaf liturgies that can be said by an individual when there is no minyan present. You will be able to find this service on our Youtube Sanctuary Channel and you can follow along with the service using your Holiday Machzor.

Watch on YouTube.

5:30 pm, Sept. 19: Mincha Service streamed live from our Sanctuary

Watch on YouTube or Facebook.

7:40 pm, Sept. 20: Zoom Havdalah led by Sarah Metzger

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85491052282

Meeting ID: 854 9105 2282

9 am –3 pm, Sept. 27: Erev Yom Kippur Live in partnership with Hadar in NYC

Get in the mood for Yom Kippur by learning about the themes and prayers of the day, enjoying soulful melodies and excerpts from Yom Kippur liturgy, and engaging in longstanding Erev Yom Kippur traditions like making a yahrzeit candle and reciting prayers for loved ones. In ancient times, Erev Yom Yippur was a mini-holiday in its own right, known as Ma’al (derived from the Aramaic word for “Erev”). Since our actual Yom Kippur this year will be like no other, we have an opportunity to revive the power of the day before. Join us for the whole day or tune in for any part!

5 pm, Sept. 27: Erev Yom Kippur Hallway Channel

This is a zoom kibitz zone that will be open again for talking with friends.

6 pm, Sept. 27: Kol Nidre Service

These services will be streamed live from our Sanctuary.

9:30 am, Sept. 28: Virtual Garden Service Yom Kippur

We return to the garden and with the help of a professional videographer you will go on a virtual journey, joining in the garden walk from station to station. Participants in the virtual service will hear a full cycle of the Torah reading, hear powerful and memorable prayers and songs from our liturgy, and participate in a Yizkor service. The first and last 15 minutes of the virtual service will include time for participants at the Botanical Gardens to send greetings to their friends and loved ones watching over the video.

11:15 am, Sept. 28: Virtual Traditional Personal Morning Prayer Service

Recorded in the Sanctuary, this prayer service will feature the parts of the Shacharit and Musaf liturgies that can be said by an individual when there is no minyan present. You will be able to find this service on our YouTube Sanctuary Channel and you can follow along with the service using your Holiday Machzor.

5:45 pm, Sept. 28: Mincha/Neilah/Ma’ariv Services streamed live from our Sanctuary.

7:25 pm, Sept. 28: Zoom Havdalah led by Sarah Metzger and include a blessing from Rabbi Stephen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can we ensure that social distancing guidelines will be followed?

A: Your arrival times will be staggered in such a way that there won’t be more than 15-20 family units at a station at any given time. We’ll also have a large group of ushers present whose main responsibilities will include enforcing (politely) social distancing guidelines.

Q: I use a walker/wheelchair to help me get around. Will the route at the Botanical Gardens be accessible for me?

A: We’ve done our best to map out a route at the gardens that will be as accessible as possible (no stairs to climb and mostly even terrain), but there are just a few spots along the route that are unpaved or have some uneven terrain that would make it more difficult for people with walkers/wheelchairs. Our ushers will be available to help our members access these spots if they can’t on their own, and/or the walk experience will be available to stream on Facebook Live.

Q: How long will it take to complete the walk?

A: If done in its entirety, it should take about an hour to complete the route.

Q: Distance-wise, how long is the route?

A: The route is about ¾ of a mile.

Q: Do I need a High Holiday Machzor on the walk?

A: No, but you’ll need one for home if you’re watching our traditional services online.

Q: I only come to services on the High Holidays to hear the Rabbi’s sermon! Is there going to be a sermon this year?

A: Yes, Rabbi Stephen will still be delivering his sermons this year, and you can stream them at your leisure on Days 1 and 2 of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. Prerecorded services (and sermons) will be released at 11 am on each of these days.

Q: I only come to services on the High Holidays to hear Sarah Metzger sing! Is Sarah still singing this year?

A: Yes! Sarah is still singing this year! You’ll still be able to hear your favorite High Holiday tunes at the Botanical Gardens during the walk(s), on Facebook Live and YouTube on Erev Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre, and our prerecorded services will be released at 11 am on Rosh Hashanah Days 1 and 2 and Yom Kippur.

Q: I only come to services on the High Holidays to hear the shofar! Will there still be a shofar?

A: Yes, you will have several opportunities to hear the shofar this year! We’ll have a shofar station on Day 2 of Rosh Hashanah at the Botanical Gardens. Our pre-recorded Day 2 Rosh Hashanah service also includes a shofar service.

Q: I only come to services on the High Holidays for the children/family service option! Will there be any family-friendly activities this year?

A: Day 2 of Rosh Hashanah is going to be the family-friendliest day of the High Holidays! The shofar stations and the music stations will be especially geared towards young families.

Q: What if there’s inclement weather?

A: The most current weather forecast indicates a 75 percent chance that all our services will be beautiful, meaningful and unaffected by inclement weather, but per Murphy’s Law, bringing heavy umbrellas or purchasing expensive rain gear ahead of time will likely cause that percentage to increase.

Q: Can I bring a folding chair?

A: No, but there will be places to rest along the route if you need to take a break.

Q: What should I wear?

A: Cool, comfortable, light clothing. We suggest walking/running shoes rather than high heels or dress shoes. If “dressing up” is something that normally gets you into the High Holiday spirit, consider wearing a fancier mask or kippah, or perhaps a tuxedo t-shirt! We want you dress appropriately (i.e. comfortably) for the outdoors, which we recognize is a departure from what you’d deem appropriate for shul.

Q: Do I need to register or have a ticket in order to attend the programs at the Botanical Gardens?

A: Advanced registration is requested so that we can stagger arrival times and keep everyone as safe as possible. There is also a place on this form to indicate that you will be joining us virtually and would like a “swag bag” of holiday materials for home delivery or pick up. You can register for Rosh Hashanah Days 1 and 2, as well as Yom Kippur here.