Congregation Shir Ami to livestream High Holy Day services

The High Holy Days offer an opportunity to reflect on our lives,” notes Rabbi Vicki L. Axe. “We think about our relationships with others, with the world, and with God. We seek a sense of comfort and community when facing the challenges of a fragile world. We seek role models of strength and courage in a world yearning for kindness and goodness. We seek rituals and customs to give ceremonial form to the daily tasks of life, transforming ordinary routine into purposeful sacred acts.”

“This year,” she added with great excitement, “we are livestreaming our services so that seniors and others who are homebound, even college students who are away from their families can virtually ‘come home for the holidays’ in what I like to call our ‘21st century shtetl’.”

Congregation Shir Ami, serving Lower Fairfield and Westchester Counties, is preparing for the High Holy Day season with all services at the Round Hill Community Church in Greenwich. Rosh Hashanah services are Sunday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m. Yom Kippur services will take place Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m. and all day Wednesday, Sept. 23, beginning at 10 a.m. with a Children’s Service in celebration of the New Year from 1-2. All services are open to the community.

“We are very excited to feature a Honey Cake Oneg donated by Garelick and Herbs following Erev Rosh Hashanah,” noted Jenny Lake of Stamford, who oversees all logistical arrangements for the High Holy Days, “as well as a Rosh Hashanah luncheon, and a Yom Kippur Breakfast with desserts also donated by Garelick and Herbs.”

According to Co-President David Green of Old Greenwich and long-time member of the Shir Ami Choir, “a unique feature of our congregation is that our members are included in every aspect of worship, leading prayers and readings, chanting from the ancient scrolls of the Torah, and singing in the choir.” Member Torah readers include David Green, Jane daSilva of Riverside, and Rick Lake of Stamford, who will also be blowing the shofar. Even the set up to turn the church sanctuary into a bima and breakdown of all the ritual items is handled by members under the direction of religious school teacher and founding member Dahni Nisinsweig of Riverside.

“Our youngest members and their families come to the Children’s Service Yom Kippur afternoon to enjoy stories and songs with Rabbi Axe, a craft project with Ronnie Polansky, founding member and long-time physical education teacher at Riverside Elementary School, and a special holiday gift,” shared Linda Gratt of Stamford, Religious School teacher and chair of the Education Team.

“An innovation in our services is the use of modern technology,” notes Co-President and IT Chair Rick Mason of Cos Cob who is arranging the livestreaming for all services. “During the Torah readings, the open scroll is projected onto a large screen so that all congregants can follow the text directly from the Torah.” Past President Nancy Collamer of Old Greenwich finds the use of technology for the Yom Kippur Yizkor Memorial Service particularly meaningful. “Instead of a Memorial Book, we project the names of our loved ones one at a time on the big screen while the choir offers a medley of moving songs of comfort and memory.”

Formed in the summer of 2003, Shir Ami is beginning its Bar Mitzvah year celebration with a membership of sixty families. “In our early years,” noted Evan Salop, Riverside resident, past president and ritual chair, “we met in homes, churches, clubhouses, and other venues and now meet for Shabbat worship and Religious School at First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich.”

Shir Ami also enjoys a partnership with several churches and organizations throughout the area, including Christ Church Greenwich, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, The First United Methodist Church, Round Hill Community Church, where High Holy Day Services are held each year, and the Atria, an assisted-living community in Stamford where the residents look forward to Rabbi Axe’s monthly Shabbat services and have become an important part of the Shir Ami family.

All are welcome at Shir Ami High Holy Day Services. Visit www.congregationshirami.org for easy online registration. For information about worship, education, and all congregational events and programs or to speak with Rabbi Axe, call 203-274-5376.

A highlight of the High Holy Days is the blast of the Shofar pictured here with Noah Axe as members of Congregation Shir Ami look on and will be heard Rosh Hashanah morning, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m.

A highlight of the High Holy Days is the blast of the Shofar pictured here with Noah Axe as members of Congregation Shir Ami look on and will be heard Rosh Hashanah morning, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m.

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