Rosh Hashanah Services

Erev Rosh Hashanah and morning services livestreamed to KLS community and beyond

Why is this year different from other years?

This was the question which Rabbi René asked in his Rosh Hashanah morning sermon, paraphrasing the famous question from the Seder night at Passover. Of course, this year was different because restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that we could not open up our building to the usual numbers of congregants for the High Holy Day services. Instead both services were livestreamed across our social media channels: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Rabbi René Pfertzel was joined in the KLS Sanctuary by Musical Director, Rebekka Wedell. Among the highlights of both services was the beautiful duet Avinu Malkeinu:

All readings and contributions from KLS congregants had been pre-recorded – including the Shofar blowings – and blended seamlessly into the service, expertly managed by Chair, Craig Simmons, on the tech-desk.

Our choir recorded their songs individually, and then Rebekka Weddell mixed these together in a single track and images were added to create a video:

Rabbi René’s sermon at the evening service opened with the debate between Hillel and Shamai as to whether or not it would have been better for humankind to have been created. He continued to reflect on the two inclinations ‘ “Yetzer ha-tov”, the good inclination and “Yetzer ha-ra”, the evil – positing that tov and ra may not actually translate as good and evil in a simplistic way. You can read the full sermon here.

After the service, a Kiddush was held on Zoom which gave the community an opportunity to see and speak with each other – and to show-off their cats!

On Rosh Hashanah morning, Rabbi Rene’s sermon addressed what we have learnt during the months of the pandemic – the importance of nature, our resilience and the importance of human relationships, interconnectness and togetherness. You can read this sermon here.

Running in parallel with the main service, our Beiteinu students attended an online family service, led by Head Teacher, Carolynne Farrer.

Speaking after the services, Rabbi René said, “I missed the energy that comes from a sanctuary full of people at Rosh Hashanah – but sadly it was not possible to do that this year. I’m so proud that we have been able to offer an alternative to our congregants by livestreaming our services online and I want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who made this possible – our tech team, our choir and all of our members who pre-recorded their readings. This hard work has allowed us to provide a meaningful experience even when we were unable to get together in person”.