Services and learning sessions over Zoom, as well as 'drive-by' celebrations, have been uplifting for Temple members.
by: Marylynne Newmark
COVID has not affected activity and learning at Temple Beth Shalom on Wellington Drive here in Palm Coast. Although there have been no live classes, Temple services or celebrations at the actual Temple for almost a year, Zoom has created a boom in Temple participation and member involvement.
In compliance with CDC guidelines limiting close gatherings, and in respect and concern for the health and welfare of its members, the Temple Board voted last March to discontinue all Sabbath and holiday festivities on site, as Rabbi Rose Eberle created a dynamic schedule of prayer, classroom time for children and adults, as well as meaningful, and often fun, holiday activities.
“Not only has participating online become a safe and comfortable alternative,” says Clare Soria, a long-time member of the Temple, “it actually has brought us closer together.”
Jan Ryone agrees. She says, “Before and after services and during interactive learning sessions, we actually have the opportunity to learn more about each other and our thought processes and feelings than we ever did when we socialized in a large group. Those of us who participate have become so much closer as friends and a Temple family.”
Dorothy Himmelstein says that the Rabbi’s zooming has actually become a lifesaver. “During this year, being primarily at home can become pretty lonely. Looking forward to sharing face time with my Temple buddies several times a week has been a major uplifting experience…. and we are learning so much.”
Aside from class time for kids and adults, Rabbi Rose zooms Sabbath services Friday night and Saturday morning followed by Torah Talk and a lovely Havdalah service Saturday evening to conclude the Sabbath. During the year, she has conducted a virtual Passover seder, counted the Omer for 49 nights, celebrated Shavuot with Yizkor (Memorial) service, as well as conducting a full schedule of the High Holy Days and Succot.
Under the leadership of Temple President Robert Arkin, members celebrated a virtual Chanukah Latke (potato pancakes) Party with a drive-by distribution of freshly made latkes made from scratch by Abie and Cathy Bockish with all its goodies, and this past week did the same drive-by with Purim in a Box filled with scrumptious Hammentaschen, home-baked by Patti Goldschein.
“We may not be together physically,” says Arkin, “but we really have fun and enjoy each other.”
The Temple Board addresses the possibility of re-opening at their meeting every month. Especially since some of the Board members are in health care professions, the consensus is to follow expert advice, and to wait until most of the members are fully vaccinated.
Temple Beth Shalom is located at 40 Wellington Drive in Palm Coast. Anyone interested in joining the Temple’s Zoom program for services or learning may call 386-445-3006 Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings for further information.