Rabbi Finkelstein


How Is This Year’s Holiday Services Different From All Other Years?

Recognizing that we are operating under the Ottawa Health Directives re: Covid, we will be having abridged services on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, as well as on Kol Nidrei night and Neilah. We are cognizant of the fact that seating socially distant and masked can be very uncomfortable for all, and therefore, we will only be reciting the key prayers of these services with the minimum of cantorial renditions and community singing.

What Options Are Available In Regard To Services This Year?

On the mornings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there will be three options. The traditional service will take place in the sanctuary with Rabbi Finkelstein and Cantor Subar officiating at 8:30 AM and will conclude at approximately 11 AM on Rosh Hashanah and 11: 30 AM on Yom Kippur. The downstairs minyan with Rabbi Shaps officiating will start at 9:00 AM and finish at around 11:30 AM on Rosh Hashanah and at noon on Yom Kippur. The tent minyan under the leadership of Rabbi Rotenberg will be an abbreviated service beginning with Torah reading, and finishing approximately at 11:30 AM and at noon on Yom Kippur.

Kol Nidrei services will take place simultaneously on Yom Kippur night at 6:30 PM, upstairs, downstairs and in the tent. Mincha will take place in the upstairs sanctuary, while Neilah will split into upstairs and downstairs minyanim.

What Is Happening In Regard To The Shofar Blowing During Services?

The blowing of the shofar will take place as scheduled in all three services on the second day of Rosh Hashanah according to the order given in the Machzor. Opportunities for shofar blowing for those unable to attend services will take place at the shul driveway at 3PM, and at 4 PM at Centrepointe Park in partnership with JET, and will include Tashlich. There is no shofar blowing or Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, as it is Shabbat.

How Will It Be Decided What Prayers To Say And Which To Be Omitted?

Due to the Covid regulations by Ottawa Public Health officials, it is imperative that services be abridged with the emphasis on reciting the most important parts of the liturgy. I have been in contact with the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Herschel Schachter and Rabbi Mordechai Willig, Roshei Yeshiva at Yeshiva University who have been advising pulpit rabbis as to what prayers should be said, and which can be omitted. Obviously, these are temporary measures considering the Covid situation, but it is our intention to have meaningful and inspirational services, albeit abridged.

Will There Be Sermons At The Different Minyanim On The High Holidays?

The plan is to have me address each of the services with brief sermons, on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, time permitting. The Kol Nidrei sermon will be part of the zoom services

Will We Receive A List Of Prayers That Will Be Said In Advance Of The Holidays?

We will be sending a list of prayers to all members in advance of the holidays with pagination according to the Birnbaum and Artscroll machzorim. This list will also be useful for those unable to attend services. We are able to lend out Birnbaum machzorim from the shul.

What if i still do not feel comfortable attending services in person?

Halachically, we cannot provide Zoom services on Shabbat or Yom Tov, wowever, we are having Zoom services for the Selichot services the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah, and we are planning to provide Zoom services for Kol Nidrei and Yizkor on Erev Yom Kippur prior to the fast. The Zoom service for Kol Nidrei and Yizkor for those unable to attend shul services will take place at 3:30 PM followed by Mincha at 4 :00 PM on Erev Yom Kippur, Sunday, September 27.

Will There Be A Shabbat Shuvah Derasha?

My Shabbat Shuvah derasha will be via zoom Zoom on the Thursday evening prior to Shabbat Shuvah. In addition, there will be a derasha on Shabbat Shuva between mincha and maariv. The topic this year in the Thursday night session will be: Virtual Repentance: Zoom and Gloom. Shabbat afternoon topic is yet to be determined. Derasha on Thursday evening will be at 9:00 PM.


POSTSCRIPT: If there are any areas of concern, regarding the services that have not been addressed in this FAQ section, please contact me directly either by email at rabbihoward.finkelstein@gmail.com or at home at 613-225-7087. Please direct all other questions not connected to the services to the shul office.