COVID-19 pandemic turns SoCal synagogues into broadcast centers for Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

The most sacred annual period in the Jewish religion starts Friday and because of the pandemic, we won't be seeing packed sanctuaries for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Instead, those sanctuaries have been turned into broadcast studios.

"We've transformed our sanctuary into a production studio. We've had to shoot High Holy Days so that we're able to share them with everyone, using Zoom, using Facebook, by using YouTube, we've helped create a community," said Rabbi Jon Hanish of Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills.

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The Rabbi and Cantor with Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills will be in the Sanctuary for services, but in accordance with the L.A. County health order, the congregation will be at home. The goal is to make members feel as though they're together in-person and that this year's High Holy Days aren't subdued.

"We know there will be distractions, but we also hope there will be enough focus as you watch us on your computer or on your TV screen to really participate. The temple has never been closed, we just haven't been able to use our facility and the idea is that everything we do as a temple. Services, outreach, education, social programs. We continue to do," said Hanish.

If you're planning on celebrating at home with immediate family, Dr. Dan Uslan with UCLA Health has tips to keep everyone safe.

"Sharing prayer books or sharing yarmulkes is very likely very low risk. Having said that, if at all possible, those items should be assigned to individuals rather than shared among multiple different people. Obviously, there's no data on blowing a shofar. Nobody's published a paper that it is safe or not, but certainly because you might be sharing saliva, I would not recommend that," said Uslan, the Co-Chief Prevention Infection Officer at UCLA Health.

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