Photos and Video: Take me out to the Rosh Hashana service – Roanoke Times

Posted By on September 21, 2020

Roanoke's Beth Israel Synagogue celebrated Rosh Hashana with a possibly first-of-its-kind service in the congregation's more than 100-year history: an open-air celebration of the Jewish new year at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium under a beautiful September sky on Sunday.

It was the first time the congregation had been together since March, according to Rabbi Jamma Purser.

The ceremony included the blowing of the shofar, both via Zoom teleconferencing by congregant Amy Morris and in person by Anthony Wattie. The shofar is a ram's horn used for signaling since ancient times, and used ceremonially at Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

"Blowing and listening to the sounds of the shofar is the most important part of the Rosh Hashana service and Holiday season. We imagine the shofar sound as startling us out of our complacency of living into a more mindful space where we want to improve ourselves and help repair whats broken in our world," Purser wrote. "After so much Tzuris [trouble/distress], suffering and lost lives this year with COVID-19, racial violence, and extreme weather events, this outdoor Rosh Hashana service on a sparklingly beautiful sunny fall day was a major uplift for our community."

Beth Israel will observe Yom Kippur this coming weekend with its first ever virtual ceremony for the High Holy Day.

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Photos and Video: Take me out to the Rosh Hashana service - Roanoke Times

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