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Shabbat Zoom Services

Gather wish us remotely on Friday night for Kabbalat Shabbat services as we welcome the Sabbath with prayer and song at 6:00 p.m. Our Shabbat morning, two-hour, interactive Zoom services at 10:00 a.m. include readings and familiar prayers, weekly Torah portion, D’var or discussions, song and fellowship, ending with a virtual Kiddush Schmooze. Every other Friday evening, families with young children celebrate together for Tot Shabbat at 5:15 p.m. Links are available to members via the member's website portal or weekly emails.

Halakhic Guidance for Zoom Shabbat

As we join together online, each of us needs to create a Mikdash Me’at, sacred space in our own homes—a model of our sanctuary in our own homes. We need to turn our living rooms, dens, dining rooms, and offices into sacred space: A space where we can let the sounds and words of the prayers wash over us. A space where we can let the words of the prayers infuse our souls. A space where our voices can rise in prayer with our BI community, connected via a virtual minyan.

Below we offer broad guidance for Shabbat-appropriate participation in Zoom Shabbat services. Those interested in more technical halakhic detail are encouraged to read Rabbi Joshua Heller’s teshuvah (halakhic opinion), “Streaming Services on Shabbat and Yom Tov.”

Have a Siddur and Chumash on Hand

We don't share screens on Shabbat, so you will want to have a siddur at home.  It's also helpful to have a Chumash in order to read along with the Torah reading.   We use Siddur Lev Shalem and the Etz Chaim Chumash.  You can arrange to purchase either or both by contacting the Beth Israel office. 

You may also download the Siddur Lev Shalem from the Rabbinical Assembly site here.

Prepare Ahead for Shabbat Zoom Service Participation

We recommend that you prepare ahead for Zoom Shabbat, in order to minimize any chance of accidental violations of halakha. To follow halakha, you will need to turn on your computer before candle-lighting on Friday, and set it up with the Zoom link visible, so that all you need to do is click on the “Join a Meeting” button to enter the service. Please Note: The password for the Zoom Service is embedded in the link.

Give some thought to which computer you will designate for Shabbat and where it is located (people will see you and what’s behind you unless you turn off your camera).

The text chat feature will be disabled on Shabbat, because it’s distracting and takes away from the sense of being present as a community.

How to Use Zoom

In the long months since the pandemic began, many of us have learned how to participate in Zoom conference calls. But Zoom can still feel a bit intimidating if you haven’t used it before. Click here to download a PDF with detailed, step-by-step instructions.

Closed Captioning (CC) on Zoom

When you log into the Zoom service, Closed Captioning will be automatically enabled. If you wish to turn it off, look to the bottom of your screen on a PC, click on the CC button, and select “hide subtitles.” If you are viewing on a tablet, look at the top of the screen to find the “more” function, then select CC to hide subtitles.

CJLS Guidance for Accessing Zoom Shabbat

The following actions are permitted, in accordance with the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards guidance, when accessing Zoom Shabbat:

  • Clicking links to connect to the Zoom Minyan;
  • Using internal Zoom features, such as Mute/Unmute and Pin Video;
  • Switching between Gallery View and Speaker View;
  • Resizing the Zoom window for comfortable viewing;
  • Hosts may use breakout rooms and screen sharing as needed.

For those who would prefer not to click links on Shabbat, there are ways to set a computer to automatically open the Zoom connection; Rabbi Joshua Heller offers a few suggestions in Appendix III to his opinion on online Shabbat services. Please see above link.

It will be easiest to participate from a tablet or PC, although the Zoom mobile app enables you to join in, as well.

Mon, September 20 2021 14 Tishrei 5782