Town Hall 2 – High Holiday/School Updates

Posted on August 25, 2020

Town Hall Meeting

Membership Video

I. High Holidays 5781- What You Need To Know

Curbside Mahzor Pick-Up:

Sunday 9/6 – All families – 10 AM – 4:30 PM
Sunday 9/13 – CRS families – 9 AM – 12 PM (w/school supplies pick-up
All families – 12 PM – 3:30 PM

Drop by NSSBE to pick up High Holiday Gift Bags! These include Mahzorim (up to 3 prayer books per family) and other goodies. Mahzorim will be loaned as so many have donor bookplates. (Contact Hazzan Barbara Barnett at if you cannot pick up, and we will deliver). We will also be collecting overdue library books.

Special gift bags for Young Families (with kids in/under preschool) and H.U.G.S. Families will be distributed at the above times too.

High Holiday Services:

We will livestream services from the Field Family Sanctuary, tailored with your at-home participation in mind. Special thanks to the Schrayer and Herz Families for donating our brand-new video equipment. Per legal guidelines and medical safety, we will limit the 50 in-person attendees to those leading parts of the service and their immediate families. 

While services will remain traditional and fulfill religious obligations, they will be shorter (no choir, no Torah processions, shorter sermons). However, we assure you that services will be meaningful and will preserve the best of Beth El: inspiring teachings from the rabbis, beautiful davening from Hazzan Tisser, and wonderful contributions from congregants. 

A guide with an approximate schedule of key moments for services will be provided.

Neighborhood/Drive-In Shofar Blowing:

Sunday 9/20, 4 PM

We will bring the Shofar blowing to you! We do this to fulfill the Mitzvah of Shofar in person. We also want to connect with you: when you cannot come into NSSBE, we will come to you (in local parking lots): 

NSSBE (4 PM and 5 PM) 
Highland Park Train Station (4 PM)
Ravinia Train Station (4 PM)
Hidden Creek Aquapark (4 PM)
(Possibly one more site)

Advanced sign-up (details to follow), masks, and social distancing are required.

Together we will hear the Shofar, perform Tashlich (with a guide prepared by our teens), hear a thoughtful message from clergy, and daven the Mincha afternoon service (please bring your Mahzor). 

In case it rains, we will hold Shofar blowings at NSSBE on Monday 9/21 and Tuesday 9/22 at 5 PM and 6 PM. Even if Sunday has good weather, we will have additional drive-in Shofar blowings at NSSBE at these times for those unable to join on the holiday itself. 

If you want to organize a Shofar blowing in your backyard for other guests, we will supply materials and assist with finding a Shofar blower. Also, we can pair you up with a local backyard gathering if you prefer. For either, contact


Children’s Programming

For kids ages 0-8: New Shirat Haruach video prayer services are pre-recorded and led by star Jewish musicians Rick Recht, Shira Kline, and Rabbi Josh Warshawsky. They will feature upbeat, fun music and inspiring, family-friendly content. The videos will include insightful messages from NSSBE clergy and staff. These 45-60 minute services will be provided to families to watch at their convenience (and include a special 15 minute section for kids ages 0-3): 

RH service – link available starting 9/13 at 4 PM
YK service – link available starting 9/22 at 4 PM

For kids ages 8-12: Hazzan Barbara Barnett will lead a fun, livestreamed family service on Zoom. 

RH service – 11 AM (both days on Zoom)
YK service – 11:30 AM (Zoom)

Registration is required. Contact Ali Drumm with questions (

II. Questions and Answers

  1. Will there be in-person services on the High Holidays?
    (Rabbi Freedman) We will livestream services from the Field Family Sanctuary. Per legal guidelines and medical safety, we will limit the 50 in-person attendees to those leading parts of the service and their immediate families. 
  2. Will the Shofar be blown in the Sanctuary on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah?
    (Rabbi Freedman) Yes, we will blow the Shofar on the Bimah. See above “Neighborhood/Drive-In Shofar Blowing” for details about hearing the Shofar in person. 
  3. What is the preschool’s plan for holding outdoor classes when it gets really cold?
    (Kory Goldenberg) We will have space heaters and dress appropriately. If the weather is too challenging one day, we will cancel classes for that day. 
  4. What was the experience of the first Shabbat back in the sanctuary?
    (Rabbi Schwab) It was so nice! Of course it was strange because we were in masks, etc., but it was a great step in connecting our community even more. It also demonstrated that the High Holidays will be a really positive experience.
  5. What is Beth El’s policy about people of different ages (including over age 65) joining Shabbat services?
    (Rabbi Schwab) We want everyone to follow the medical recommendations of the CDC and their doctors. But participating in synagogue events is a matter of personal choice, and there is no age restriction.

  6. How do people access their Mahzor prayer books for the holidays?
    See above “Curbside Mahzor Pick-Up.”

  7. Can we Venmo our Kol Nidrei Appeal? How will the Kol Nidrei appeal work?
    (Jeff Baden) You can make your pledge on the card you’ll receive in the mail, or online over ShulCloud (new online portal). Sorry, we’re not ready for Venmo yet!

  8. What should I do if I did not receive logon information for ShulCloud?
    (Jeff Baden) Please email Kathy Stinson at

  9. If we get a flu shot in September, does it last through the entire season?
    (Dr. Jeff Kopin) Yes, the shots are good for 6 to 7 months, which should get you through the flu season. The timing of the shot is not as important as the need for everyone to get it at some point.

  10.  Will the High Holiday service link be sent through email or snail mail?
    (Rabbi Freedman) Snail mail. The letters will be mailed out at the very end of August. They will contain login information for services, as well as all details concerning the High Holidays. 

  11. Can we watch the holiday services on the computer instead of the TV?
    (Rabbi Freedman) Yes. 

  12.  Will the synagogue be selling Lulav and Etrog sets this year?
    (Rabbi Freedman) Yes. The next Kol Beth El bulletin will have more information and an order form.

  13.  Will the outdoor preschool include circle time and typical preschool lessons?
    (Kory Goldenberg) Yes. We’ll be outside for two hours each day learning about the High Holidays, doing arts and crafts, and more.

  14.  Are the Mahzor prayer books available online?
    (Rabbi Schwab) Yes. See

  15.  If we lose the postcard with the link for services, how can one access the link?
    (Jeff Baden) It’s important to hold onto it. But if you lose it, please email me and I will get you the link –

  16. Is there a dress code for the holidays? Do I have to wear a suit and tie if I’m at home?
    (Rabbi Freedman) The dress code in the sanctuary is this: you need a mask! At home you can wear whatever you like. But consider dressing up at home to make the day feel more special.

  17.  How can one donate a prayer book?
    (Jeff Baden) Feel free to call the office and contribute to the prayer book fund.

  18.  Can you tell us more about the High Holiday Boot Camp?
    (Ali Drumm) We have a full lineup of classes and lectures to prepare us for the holidays. Check the Thursday emails for more details. 

  19.  Will these classes be recorded? How can one access them?
    (Ali Drumm) Yes. Look at the online learning section.

  20. Do we have to reserve a Mahzor prayer book?
    (Rabbi Freedman) No. Just stop by!

  21.  Will the date to return the Mahzor prayer book potentially be the same day as picking up Lulav and Etrog?
    (Hazzan Barnett) Great idea! Yes, we can make that happen.

  1.  Is Billy Weisel doing a prerecorded video?
    (Hazzan Tisser) Yes, he’ll participate in two videos released in advance of the holidays. These will feature liturgical highlights of the services and highlight Billy, me, the rabbis, and some teen soloists.

  1. Will the library be accessible soon? How can one obtain library books?
    (Ali Drumm) Yes, contact our librarians Rachel Kamin ( or Marcie Eskin ( who will arrange a pick-up. The date of the Mahzor prayer book pick-up is also perfect for taking out or returning library books.