Friday, September 24th 2021   |

UPDATE: Area synagogues prepare for a post-Hurricane Ida Yom Kippur

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

New Orleans area synagogues are bracing for in-person gatherings again this Yom Kippur, following virtual gatherings of Reform and Conservative congregations and limited Orthodox in-person services for Rosh Hashanah due to the passage of Hurricane Ida and the loss of electric power.

Rabbi Yossie Nemes held worship services at both a private residence and the Gerson Katz Chabad Center of Metairie for Rosh Hashanah due to power outages. (Photo by Alan Smason)

Congregations Anshe Sfard and Beth Israel will be back in business for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur in-person worship following the cancellation of their scheduled services due to a lack of power caused by the powerful Category 4 storm. Orthodox services were held in Orleans Parish at the Btesh Family Chabad House on Freret Street and in Metairie at a nearby private residence for the first day of Rosh Hashanah and the Gerson Katz Chabad Center of Metairie on the second day after power was restored. 

Both Chabad locations – the Uptown Btesh Family Chabad House and the Gerson Katz Chabad Center of Metairie – will be holding in-person worship services for Yom Kippur. 

Due to concerns about COVID, The Metairie Chabad Center will offer two versions of in-person worship, an abbreviated outdoor service of one-half hour duration in the succah located behind the center and an extended indoor service at the center. Both Kol Nidre services begin at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15.

A similar abbreviated Yom Kippur service of an hour duration begins at 9:00 a.m. outdoors in the succah on Thursday, September 16. The indoor service also starts at 9:00 a.m. and will continue until 2:o0 p.m. Mincha and Neilah services begin at 5:30 p.m. and are expected to last until 7:40 p.m. 

All worshippers who attend services at the Metairie Chabad Center must register in advance here.

Rabbi Zelig Rivkin of the Louisiana Chabad-Lubavitch organization. (Photo by Alan Smason)

The Uptown Chabad House has Kol Nidre services listed for Wednesday, September 15 at 6:45 p.m. Morning worship on Yom Kippur begins at 10:00 a.m. Yizkor services are listed for 12:30 p.m., while the Mincha service begins at 5:30 p.m. The Neilah and concluding service begins at 6:30 p.m.

Temple Sinai worship will be offering in-person worship services for Yom Kippur, but all attendees must provide proof of vaccination and, additionally, must RSVP at this link by no later than tomorrow, Monday, September 13. 

In addition, the Rabbi Daniel Sherman- and Cantor Joel Colman- led worship services will be live streamed at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15 and at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 16 and be able to be seen virtually via Zoom, the synagogue’s website on YouTube or Facebook Live.

Likewise, in-person worship services for members only will be available at Touro Synagogue for Yom Kippur, but they will require proof of vaccination and advance registration here. The Kol Nidre service will begin on Wednesday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. Yom Kippur services on Thursday, September 16, begin at 10:00 a.m. with concluding and Neilah services beginning at 4:00 p.m.

The services led by Senior Rabbi Katie Bauman, Associate Rabbi Todd Silverman and Cantor Kevin Margolius will be seen live over WLAE-TV, the Touro Synagogue’s website Livestream, or their Facebook page.

Congregation Anshe Sfard, which has been unable to hold services since the landfall of Hurricane Ida, will be welcoming worshippers back for the first time since the storm threatened the Gulf Coast. The in-person worship begins on Erev Yom Kippur on Wednesday, September 15, at 6:45 p.m. Yom Kippur Shacharit and Musaf services begin on Thursday, September 16 at 9:00 a.m. Mincha services are at 5:00 p.m. with Neilah service scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The Break the Fast is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Masks are required for attendance at all worship services..

Rabbi David Gerber of Congregation Gates of Prayer. (Photo by Alan Smason)

Congregation Gates of Prayer offers a combination of in-person and virtual Yom Kippur services beginning on Wednesday, September 15, at 8:00 p.m. with Kol Nidre. Worship services on Thursday, September 16, will begin at 10:15 a.m. and will be led by Rabbi David Gerber and Assistant Rabbi Lexi Erdheim with Cantorial Soloist Jordan Lawrence. Additional studies and services are available in-person throughout the afternoon with a Healing Service and Afternoon Torah and Haftarah Reading commencing at 3:00 p.m. Yizkor and Neilah Service begins at 4:30 p.m. 

All Gates of Prayer services will be live streamed here and can also be seen via Zoom or on their Facebook page. All in-person attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the past 72 hours.

Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation offers its Kol Nidre service on Wednesday, September 15 at 6:30 p.m. In-person and virtual Yom Kippur services led by Rabbi Deborah Silver will commence at 9:30 a.m. Mincha will begin at 4:45 p.m. with Neilah, Ma’ariv and Havdalah beginning at 6:15 p.m. All attendees must wear masks and must show proof of vaccination. The live stream can be viewed on the Shir Chadash Facebook page.

Congregation Beth Israel, which offered in-person Shabbat services for Shabbat Shuvah this past weekend, will be holding its regular Erev Yom Kippur service at 6:30 p.m. followed by Kol Nidre worship  at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15 led by Rabbi Joshua Pernick. Morning services begin on Thursday, September 16 at 8:30 a.m. with Yizkor at 11:00 a.m. followed by Musaf. Following Torah study with the rabbi, Mincha will follow at 5:00 p.m. followed by Neilah. Masks are required for admittance and RSVPs are requested.

The Northshore Jewish Congregation (NJC) has cancelled in-person worship services, but they are offering some alternative virtual services from Temple Adath Joseph from St. Joseph, MO., led by Rabbi Linda Steigman, the former spiritual leader of NJC. A Kol Nidre service will be held on Wed., Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and morning services will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16. The final services begin at 4:30 p.m.  All services are accessible for members only via Zoom, but in order to get a link, it must be requested from Rachel Giarputto via email.


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