High Holy Days 5781 / 2020
General Info and FAQs – For Non 

Members should have received a separate email detailing member specific information.

Non – members are very welcome to attend any of our online events this year and should there be any capacity for our in-person events these will be advertised through our news letter.

1] Calendar for our Ellul and HHD Online Programs
2] What we need from you
3] Our priorities
4] In-person opportunities
5] Online services
6] Adult learning opportunities
7] Kids and families
8] Recorded videos

1] Calendar of Ellul and High Holy Day Online Programs

Singing + Stories @ Stokey (age 0-5ish) – Sunday 23rd Aug, 10:30-11:00
Singing + Stories @ Stokey (age 0-5ish) – Sunday 30th Aug, 10:30-11:00
How to do the High Holy Days at Home – Basic Judaism – Monday 31st Aug, 20:00-21:30

Festival Fun with Stav Meishar (age 4-8) – Friday 4th Sept, time tbc (online or in person if possible)
Learning About Our Festivals (age 0-5ish) – Sunday 6th Sept, 10:30-11:00
How to do the High Holy Days at Home – Basic Judaism – Monday 7th Sept, 20:00-21:30
Selichot Service – Saturday 12th Sept, 20:30-22:00

Rosh Hashana Stories and Songs (age 0-5ish) – Sunday 13th Sept, 10:30-11:00
Cook-Along: Make Your Own Apple Cake (age 5-18) – Sunday 13th Sept, 14:30-15:30
How to do the High Holy Days at Home – Basic Judaism – Monday 14th Sept, 20:00-21:30
Pre-Rosh Hashana Service – Friday 18th Sept, 18:00-18:30

Praying Alone – a text-based shiur – Weds 23rd Sept, 20:00-21:30
Kabbalat Shabbat Shuva – Friday night, 25th Sept, 17:30-18:15

Yom Kippur Story Time (age 0-5ish) – Sunday 27th Sept, 10:30-11:00
Yizkor Service – Sunday 27th Sept, 11.30-12:30
Yom Kippur Discussion Group (age 10-16) – Sunday 27th Sept, 13:00-14:00
Pre-Kol Nidrei Service – Sunday 27th Sept, 17:45-18:15
Post Yom Kippur Havdalah – Monday 28th Sept, 21:00-21:15

2] What we need from you
-Photos for the Yizkor Mosaic – portrait JPEG file to nsnsmosaic@gmail.com
-Volunteers for Thought for the day – email howard@astuteuk.co.uk

3] Our Priorities
This season of the High Holy Days will be like no other that we have experienced, and the shul leadership has been working hard to create a new plan of what the festivals will look like. Our main priority is of course Pikuach Nefesh, the value of saving and preserving human life, in terms of health, safety and well-being of the community. This year that means that we almost certainly won’t be able to hold services as normal, with over a hundred people, members and guests, crowded into the Mildmay centre.

When it comes to in-person opportunities this year, we have chosen therefore to prioritise members of New Stoke Newington Shul, as we are unable to provide services for non-members as we usually would. However, we are offering a diverse range of online opportunities, for learning, services, and families, and we hope you can find a way to connect to the themes of the season – repentance and atonement.

No single approach will work for everyone, and we have tried to think of different ways to give as many people access as possible, however this is still a work in progress – please let us know if you think of something we’ve missed that you’d like to help us implement for the community!

4] In Person Opportunities
Having services in person are a defining feature for most of the Jewish community on the High Holy Days, and so we are trying to make something happen, with the caveat that the situation around Covid-19 is changing all the time and that these plans may have to change with short notice. Indeed, we are planning for all eventualities, including the possibility that we may not be able to hold any services in person at all if the situation deteriorates. We will be looking at all government guidance and keeping you up to date.

Right now, we are prioritising members of NSNS, and trying to ensure that every member has an opportunity to attend at least one service over the season. If more spaces become available we will announce that here on this newsletter and will welcome non-members to take up available spaces. We’re really sorry that we can’t promise you a seat in our shul this year. Please God, the pandemic will be over soon and we can welcome you again in future years.

5] Online Services
While halachah (Jewish law) forbids us from streaming services on the festival days themselves (see notes below), there are still lots of opportunities to engage in online community, something which has been so vital to our communal life since lockdown began. Indeed, if you haven’t yet joined our services I encourage you to do so – it isn’t the same as singing together in person, but it’s the next best thing!
This year, in addition to our regular Kabbalat Shabbat services, we will be offering:

•Selichot – Saturday night, 12th Sept, 8:30pm
A night of music, singing and learning to get us in the mood for Rosh Hashanah. We will be joining with other Masorti communities to enter into the season together.

•Pre-Rosh Hashana Service – Friday night, 18th Sept, 6pm
A taste of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy and melodies ahead of the new year.

•Kabbalat Shabbat Shuva – Friday night, 25th Sept
Our regular Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat with some added Teshuvah (repentance).

•Yizkor Service – Sunday 27th Sept 11.30am
Taking the opportunity to reflect on all our loved ones who have passed away and the legacies they left us. In this unusual year, we are hoping to produce a Yizkor Mosaic in time for Yom Kippur. We are inviting anyone wishing to remember a family member or friend at this year’s Yizkor service to email a digital image of that person (or people) together with their name no later than August 23rd. We need lots of images so feel free to send through an image of anyone you wish to remember. The image should be a portrait JPEG file. Please email them to nsnsmosaic@gmail.com

•Pre-Kol Nidrei Service – Sunday 27th Sept, 5:45pm
The actual Kol Nidrei prayer can be recited before Yom Kippur begins. There will also be a sermon from Rabbi Roni.

•Post Yom Kippur Havdalah – Monday 28th Sept 9pm (Fast ends at 7:37pm)
After you’ve broken your fast, join us for a short havdalah together as a community.

6] Adult Learning Opportunities
To prepare us for this season, we are offering a selection of classes and other adult learning opportunities online.

How to do the High Holy Days at Home – A Basic Judaism Series – Mon 31st Aug, 7th Sept, 14th Sept – 8pm with Rabbi Roni
How can you access the spirit of the festivals this year when you might be at home much more than usual? More details of individual class topics nearer the time.

Praying Alone – Weds 23rd Sept – 8pm with Rabbi Roni
Normally prayer is a communal activity, and never more so than around Yom Kippur. So how should you pray when you are alone? Is there something special to be found when it’s just you and God?

7] Kids and Families
Our Kids and Family team, headed by Sarah Levy, is looking for all kinds of ways to help families connect to the season. For younger kids, our popular Sunday morning ‘Singing and Story’ sessions will continue in the month of Ellul:
Sunday 23rd Aug, 10:30 – 11:00 “Singing + Stories @ Stokey (age 0-5 on Zoom)

Sunday 30th Aug, 10:30 -11:00 “Singing + Stories @ Stokey” (age 0-5 on Zoom)

Around the festivals themselves, we have:

Sunday 6th Sept, 10:30-11:00 – “Learning About Our Festivals” (age 0-5ish on Zoom)

Sunday 13th Sept, 10:30-11:00 – “Rosh Hashana Stories and Songs” (age 0-5ish on Zoom)
Sunday 27th Sept 10:30-11:00 “Yom Kippur Story Time” (age 0-5ish on Zoom)

And for older kids and Teenagers:
Festival Fun with Stav Meishar (age 4-8) – Friday 4th Sept, time tbc (online or in person if possible)

Sunday 13th Sept, 14:30-15:30 – “Cook-Along: Make Your Own Apple Cake” (age 5-18 on Zoom, under 12s need parental supervision)

Sunday 27th Sept, 13:00-14:00 “Yom Kippur Discussion Group” (age 10-16, on Zoom)

In addition to online programs, each week in Ellul, we hope to publish a short video (around 2-5 min) of a story or song aimed at children approx. age 0-5, recorded by members of the community. There will also be pre-recorded toddler services for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succot that you can play whenever you choose, alongside a PDF service booklet if you want to follow along at home.

We are producing a one-page document designed to be read by post-Bnei Mitzvah young people during/around the festivals – with some fun facts about the festivals, some word puzzles/anagrams, discussion points and a message from Rabbi Roni.

We are also planning to get the kids involved in designing cards for the community, in conjunction with the Care Team. More information coming soon!

8] Recorded Videos
We know how crucial the melodies of the holidays are to getting us in the right mood, and since we can’t hear them all in person, we hope to be putting online a selection of key parts of the liturgy from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as sung by our usual cohort of service leaders. Let us know if there are any tunes you want to make sure we include!

Throughout Ellul we will be putting up a ‘Thought for the Day’ from people in our community, to inspire us all to change ourselves and make the world a better place. If you’d like to contribute to this project, either with a video or a short written piece, please contact Howard Robinson, howard@astuteuk.co.uk