by Rabbi Evan Schultz, September 2017/Elul 5777-Tishrei 5778
One of the new innovations that you will see at B’nai Israel in this new year 5778 is the addition of live streaming of our worship services. We are very excited about this new technology and wanted to give you a sense of why we as a community have opted to bring our worship experience to your laptop screens and smartphone devices!
We are aware that we have members of our community who are physically unable to attend worship services in person. We know that when someone is ill in the hospital or homebound that it can be quite an isolating experience. While streaming does not provide the same experience as sitting in our sanctuary in person, it can make a huge difference in helping someone feel connected to our community and the experience of prayer. We learned in our research of other congregations that use streaming technology that having our rabbis or cantor welcome our streaming viewers can lift the spirits of a member who may be struggling with illness or unable to physically leave their home. As a synagogue that takes our commitment to community seriously, streaming enables all of our congregants to feel that they are with the community, even if they may not be physically present for Shabbat services.
2) Connections Far and Wide
Have an aunt in Oklahoma? A grandfather in California? Those in our community who celebrate life cycle milestones in our sanctuary often have a loved one or friend who is unable to attend for one reason or another. With our streaming service, families will have the option to stream B’nai Mitzvah celebrations, weddings, and baby namings so family and friends around the world can watch. Families will also have the option to live stream funeral and memorial services as well from our sanctuary.
When families move to the area, they may want to get an initial sense of the B’nai Israel community before they come to physically visit our building. Live streaming is an excellent form of outreach to potential new members of the B’nai Israel community. This will give them an opportunity to get a sense of our worship services from the comfort of their own homes. We hope this will then inspire them to come and visit us in person for a Friday night or Saturday morning worship service!
4) High Holy Days – Lobby Viewing!
High Holy Days services are best in person, but if you need to exit the sanctuary for a period of time to tend to an infant or take a breather, we will live stream the service to the television in the synagogue lobby. Never miss a Hashkiveinu or Zochreinu again!
Stay tuned to Hashavua for updates on how to access live streaming. We will have it up and running by the High Holy Days this year. I want to also say a huge thank you to the Confirmation Class of 2016 for earmarking their fundraising money for the purchase of our streaming equipment. We are quite grateful!