Stay-at-home rab­bis host on­line Shab­bat


A HERT­FORD­SHIRE min­is­ter has told his con­gre­gants to stay away from shul tonight — and log on to the web in­stead.

Paul Freed­man, se­nior rabbi at Radlett Re­form, will be con­duct­ing an in­ter­ac­tive ser­vice on­line as part of the com­mu­nity’s Big Fri­day Night In.

Doors will be closed at the syn­a­gogue as both Rabbi Freed­man and as­so­ciate min­is­ter Celia Sur­get of­fi­ci­ate from the com­fort of their own homes.

The idea was a prod­uct of dis­cus­sions on how to boost Fri­day night in­volve­ment for a mem­ber­ship scat­tered over a wide ra­dius. “We recog­nise it can be quite chal­leng­ing for some of our mem­bers to come to syn­a­gogue on a Fri­day night be­cause of the dis­tances and traf­fic in­volved,” Rabbi Freed­man said. “Peo­ple liv­ing in re­mote parts of Hert­ford­shire or Bed­ford­shire can feel quite iso­lated.

“We al­ready stream our ser­vices but this takes it to an­other level, cre­at­ing an in­ter­ac­tive, in­clu­sive Shab­bat, show­ing our more phys­i­cally re­mote mem­bers that they are not alone but rather that they are part of a much big­ger com­mu­nity.”

Or­gan­is­ers have pre­pared a “Shab­bat kit” for mem­bers in­clud­ing can­dles, grape juice and chal­lot. There are also down­load­able dis­cus­sion sheets.

In­ter­est has been ex­pressed by “mem­bers who have moved a long dis­tance from the syn­a­gogue”.

Rabbi Sur­get will lead a chil­dren’s ser­vice at 5pm. Rabbi Freed­man will con­duct the main ser­vice from 7pm and there will be an in­ter­ac­tive Q&A ses­sion about the his­tory of the syn­a­gogue’s To­rah scrolls at 8.30pm.

We stream ser­vices but this takes it to an­other level’


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