The first ever online service aimed at housebound worshippers was a huge success over the High Holy Days. Around one hundred people logged on overall and the goal is for it to become a regular part of Progressive Judaism’s HHD celebrations.
Help groups the Honeycomb Project and ‘Abraham & Sarah’s Tent’ were behind the experiment with the services led among others by freelance Rabbi Judith Levitt who herself is disabled.
“I am really happy that we were able to provide not only such a needed service to allow people to celebrate these important days, but were able to do so in a way that was moving, profound, and meaningful,” Rabbi Judith said.
Professor Joe Goldblatt described the online services as being “inspiring, and intellectually stimulating. It was sensitively created and effectively led,” he added.
Another online attendee said, “As a disabled, immunocompromised woman living in Wales, the services allowed me to access community and connection. I can still connect, learn to grow, and live even though my health fluctuates. My life would be much less meaningful and lonely without it,” she said.
Fellow virtual congregant Anna commented: “For once we weren’t what sometimes feels like an afterthought or an add-on. We were part of the service and I felt privileged to lead parts of both the Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre services.”
Whilst AC said: “As a disabled Jew who has only been able to attend synagogue once in person since the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I cannot overstate how vital well-supported online and hybrid services and events are. What we need,” he added, “are the resources to support the rabbis, lay leaders, and technical experts to create a fully accessible hybrid community for all.”
The services were watched throughout the UK and even had viewers in Israel.