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High Holidays 2020/5781

For Non-members:  High Holiday registration
A letter from our clergy
July 21, 2020

Dear Agudas Achim Family,

Every year the High Holidays are a highlight for our Agudas family. We reconnect with friends, we pray, we learn, we are inspired, and we build community. The beautiful mosaic of Agudas is on full display when we all come together. Our community reflects the words of Proverbs “b’rov am hadrat melekh - God is glorified amidst the multitudes of the people” (Prov. 14:28). This year we will not be able to gather together as we normally do, but we are committed to building and creating a High Holiday experience that elevates and nourishes our minds and souls while building sacred community. To that end, we would like to share our current plans for the High Holidays.

Our plan was informed and developed with extensive conversations with our senior staff, lay leadership, community survey, and current health and safety guidance. We remain committed to maintaining the wellbeing of our entire community – both physically and spiritually. Recognizing that these plans are subject to change, the following represents our current plan for this High Holiday season:

Platform: Our High Holiday services will be conducted virtually via Zoom.

Service Schedule: All High Holiday service times will be sent out shortly. Information about youth and young family services will be forthcoming as well.

Additional High Holiday opportunities:

T’fillah B’yahad: Preparing Our Souls Together -- A High Holiday Journey
Including congregational melodies from the High Holidays, Tashlich and the sound of the shofar

Rabbi Rein and Hazzan Dienstfrey will lead this in-person, small-group, short service multiple times beginning with Rosh Hodesh Elul (August 20). This experience will take place at Monticello Park in Alexandria. All participants are kindly asked to sign up for a specific service to be sure we do not exceed our preferred safe group size. Dates, times and details can be found on the signup.

T’fillah B’lev: Meditations of Our Hearts
A Private Moment to Offer Prayers With Our Sefer Torah
Individuals and families are invited for scheduled times of private devotion in the AAC meditation ampitheater with our Sefer Torah. A signup will be sent in the weekly enews.

It is our hope that these opportunities will enrich your High Holiday season.

Mahzor: The upcoming High Holiday mailing will have information on obtaining a mahzor (High Holiday prayer book). Options will include purchasing a copy, borrowing a copy from the synagogue, or using a licensed digital copy.

Shofar and Tashlikh: The shofar will be heard this year over Zoom. Given the urgent health conditions, this is an acceptable way to fulfill the obligation to hear the shofar. If you want to hear the shofar in person, please sign up for one of the T’fillah B’yahad services. Furthermore, there will not be a tashlikh service this year on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Members of the community can participate in tashlikh at one of the T’fillah B’yahad services or independently.

We miss everyone, our Agudas family, and we look forward to a time when we can all safely gather together again. Until that time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to finding ways for our community to connect and create meaning. While we all love our building and the beauty of our sanctuary, Agudas Achim is not a building; it is the people and relationships that define our community. We have seen these relationships strengthen during this time and we believe these relationships will sustain us and guide us through this difficult moment and in the years ahead.


Rabbi Steven Rein
Hazzan Elisheva Dienstfrey
Wed, August 12 2020 22 Av 5780