SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The Congregation Beth Shalom is preparing for Rosh Hashanah, or the start of the Jewish new year. This year services will be hybrid.
Guy Greene is a Rabbi at the Congregation Beth Shalom. He said the synagogue’s services are accessible in person and through a Zoom livestream. He said not everyone in the community is comfortable with indoor gatherings, especially with the rise in COVID cases associated with the Delta variant.
Rabbi Greene explained why creating the option to watch and listen to services at home was crucial for Siouxland’s Jewish Community.
“There’s a concept in Judaism called ‘Pikuach Nefesh’ which is the priority of health, and so one can actually violate a commandment to preserve someone’s life. So, the idea of having people safe in their homes during the pandemic was very important,” said Rabbi Greene.
The Zoom services were introduced to the synagogue during the pandemic this year. Rabbi Greene said he will continue to hold in-person sermons when the High Holidays arrive and beyond.
“These High holidays are very, very serious and very, very important for us. So, coming together, we’ve always had everybody coming in the community to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. So, this year after many people have been vaccinated, probably the majority of our people, we feel a little more comfortable inviting people back into the synagogue,” said Rabbi Greene.
This year, Rosh Hashanah will be the celebration of the world’s 5,782nd birthday, and Jewish people around the world will use the holiday to repent their sins.