2020 High Holy Days





Dear Park East Synagogue Family,

We are grateful that we can once again pray together. However, due to the coronavirus, we require adherence to the following restrictions.

Attendees are required to wear a mask over their mouth and nose the entire time they are attending either indoor or outdoor services. This is not a personal decision; the mask is worn to protect others from infection, and non-compliance puts at risk everyone else at the minyan. Scarves and other cloth coverings are not approved as adequate face masks.

It goes without saying that our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services this year will be very different. In consultation with our Reopening Task Force, we have instituted multiple measures to protect the health of those who come to our services. We will be compressing the services so that people will not be together for as long a duration, and to facilitate multiple shifts of the services. Masks covering the nose and mouth must be worn at all times, and seats will be spaced six feet apart.  We advise you to bring your own Machzor if possible.

Please read the following for the specific precautions we will be taking and for the currently planned schedule of services.

Unlike other years, it is imperative that you only register for the service or services you will attend. Only members will be able to reserve a place, and seating is limited to children 12 and over. We ask for your understanding as we organize our services, and to recognize that changing circumstances may force us to make last-minute adjustments. We may not be able to give everyone their preferred seat and/or time slot.

We emphasize that those whose health may be vulnerable, and even those who feel simply uncomfortable coming to Synagogue, should absolutely not come. The first and foremost responsibility in Judaism is to take care of one’s health, and it takes priority over attending services.

We are planning programming that will be accessible for everyone, including those who cannot join us for services. We will be conducting several Zoom services prior to the Holiday, including Yom Kippur. We will also go live for the last few moments at the end of Neilah so that those who cannot attend services will be able to join in with the entire community for that majestic ending of the High Holy Days service, together with the sounding of the Shofar. We will make certain to engage all of our members, whether or not they will be joining us for services.

Looking ahead to a happy, sweet, and – especially – healthy New Year!

 Below, please find the precautions that we will take in putting together the services this year: • Discreet and no-touch temperature reading monitors will be utilized at each entrance.

  • A system will be in place to guide any member who is feeling ill and/or is having an elevated temperature to medical attention.
  • Seating within the Sanctuary will follow strict social distancing guidelines. The available seats will be clearly marked.
  • There will not be seat assignments for the High Holy Days, with the exception of members of the Board.
  • You will receive a confirmation as to which service we have been able to assign you and an usher will guide you to the first available seat.
  • The length of Services will be shortened to approximately two hours.
  • Kiddush will be suspended until further notice.
  • The air conditioning filters will be changed every week.
  • Our cleaning crew will sanitize the Synagogue between each service.
  • We will open the Main Sanctuary doors to increase outside ventilation every 30 minutes for a period of 5 minutes.
  • Additional staff to be added for cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces in between services.
  • We ask for now that children under 12 not be taken to Services until further notice.
  • Signs will be posted in various areas to remind our members about safety practices – wearing masks, social distances, etc.
  • Newsletters/notifications providing procedure updates will be sent to members.

 Schedule of Services

A separate email will go out with regards to the Selichot service. • Services will take place in the Main Sanctuary and the Brooks Ballroom. All services will require pre-registration to attend.

  • On both Rosh Hashanah evenings, September 18th & 19th, there will be one service at 6:30pm.
  • On Rosh Hashanah morning, there will be two services in the Main Sanctuary, beginning with the reading of the Torah, followed by Shofar, Sermon and Mussaf. The first service will begin at 8:30am and run approximately two hours. The second service will begin at 11:30am and run about the same time. 
  • There will be an additional service on Rosh Hashanah beginning at 9am that will take place in the Brooks Ballroom.
  • There will be an opportunity to hear the shofar outdoors at our 68th Street playground on Sunday, September 20th, on the hour, every hour from 1pm until 4pm, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, for those who do not want to attend services.
  • Mincha on Erev Yom Kippur in the Main Synagogue will be at 2:00pm, followed at 5pm by a Kol Nidre service led by Rabbi Schneier and Cantor Helfgot and choir, which will be available to all via live-stream.
  • Yom Kippur ma’ariv Kol Nidre services will be at 6pm, both in the Main Sanctuary and in the Brooks Ballroom.
  • Yom Kippur morning services (beginning with a reading of the Torah, Sermon, Yizkor and Mussaf) will take place at 8:30am, and a second service at 12:30pm.
  • There will be an additional service on Yom Kippur beginning at 9am that will take place in the Brooks Ballroom.
  • There will be one service for Mincha at 5:00pm in the Main Sanctuary and Brooks Ballroom, followed by Neilah.
  • For those wishing to attend Yizkor services only, there will be a 20-minute Yizkor service at the top of every hour from 11am to 3pm, taking place in the Goldberg.