Amid the COVID-19 surge of families to the Fairfield area, Chabad has expanded its activities, launching outdoor High Holiday services at the Fairfield Museum.
With experience organizing outdoor Shofar services, Chabad has adapted its model for the Jewish New Year of 5781 with COVID-19.
As Fairfield and surrounding areas have seen a wave of new arrivals seeking to escape big-city stress and pandemic tensions, the unfazed team at Chabad of Fairfield has stepped up to cater to all their religious and community needs in a time when the doors of so many essential services remain closed.
With the Jewish New Year and High Holidays fast approaching, Chabad has adapted to the current reality and is offering a series of services and programs to make this meaningful time accessible for all in a safe manner.
Since March, Chabad has remained active and operational within the parameters of local health guidelines and safety standards. The consistently warm and inviting atmosphere that has been their calling card since they opened in 2007 has endeared them to the many new families in Fairfield looking for a synagogue and community to join.
“We have always prioritized making Judaism available to all, regardless of religious affiliation or observance,” said Rabbi Shlame Landa, who co-directs Chabad of Fairfield with his wife Miriam. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has taken on a whole new meaning, but our mission to serve everyone—whether they are new friends or old—remains the same.”
The first services many of the new arrivals will join will be those on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. While Rosh Hashanah services are generally held in a synagogue, Chabad will employ its trademark creativity to host an outdoor Rosh Hashanah service on Sunday, Sept. 20, at the Fairfield Museum.
It will be open to all Jewish Fairfield-area residents, going a step further to ensure that the very real health concerns are not an impediment to holiday observance. The service, which will include prayers for the wellbeing of all humanity—a key theme of Rosh Hashanah—will also be centered around hearing the sound of the Shofar, the central observance of the holiday, as well as tashlich, where the community will walk together to Jennings Beach, where they will beseech G-d to cast past mistakes into the depths of the sea and bring a year of goodness and blessing to the world.
Additionally, Chabad will make the extra effort to cater to the needs of those unable to join the socially distanced in-person service, offering individually-packed Rosh Hashanah packages, which will include a machzor (holiday prayerbook), a Rosh Hashanah guide, and traditional Rosh Hashanah treats, including an apple and honey, to ensure community members will be able to celebrate the holiday appropriately at home.
“Our goal is to lower the barriers of entry, and to encourage each and every Jewish person to actively participate in the observances of Rosh Hashanah,” said Miriam Landa. “This year, that means bringing a Rosh Hashanah service to a location where people can safely participate and welcoming new faces to show them what we are all about.”
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About Chabad of Fairfield
Chabad offers Jewish education, outreach and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. For more information, visit ChabadFF.com.
About Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins this year at sundown on Sept. 18 through nightfall on Sept. 20. Literally meaning “head of the year,” the two-day holiday commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday. For more information about Rosh Hashanah, visit chabadff.com/HighHolidays.
About the Shofar
The shofar is the central symbol of Rosh Hashanah, which is celebrated near the beginning of each fall. Synagogues blast the shofar every day for a month leading up to the holiday, culminating with a sequence of 100 blasts during the Rosh Hashanah services, which take place this year on Sept. 20. The cry of the shofar is a call to repentance as Jews look back at misdeeds of the past year and resolve to improve during the coming one. From more on the shofar, visit chabadff.com/Shofar.