Virtually Everything has Changed

It’s only been a couple of weeks, but synagogue life has been utterly and fundamentally changed. By shifting away from a brick-and-mortar congregation to a virtual, online presence, everything that we’ve previously taken for granted is now in question.

Or maybe…some things don’t change all that much.

So I hereby present to you–

The Top Ten Ways That Congregational Life Has Changed (or Not Changed):

10. Old guy logs onto the Zoom minyan before everyone else and sets up his chair way in the back of the room.

9. Tech savvy congregant needs to say Kaddish, so he logs onto the Facebook livestream with 6 different devices to help make sure there’s a minyan.

8. Rabbi and Cantor keep an eye on the little icon during the livestream which shows how many people are viewing. They start stressing when the number begins to go down. “You’re losing them, Rabbi. YOU’RE LOSING THEM!”

7. Goldberg logs in from his kitchen table and yells at his wife who’s sitting in his regular seat.

6. Based on some of the Zoom feeds, it seems that a few people have already gotten into the Kiddush cabinet.

5. The Rabbi’s D’var Torah was always a good time for congregants to pop out and make a quick visit to the restroom. Now they can go upstairs for a full breakfast and another cup of coffee before anyone knows they left.

4. The Rabbi was always recognized as the halachic authority of the congregation. However, this pales in comparison to holding the ultimate power of muting and unmuting the congregants.

3. The Rabbi and Cantor keep track of how many people say, “Must be nice to do services at home. What are you doing all day to keep busy?” We will remember you. When social distancing is discontinued, we will find you.

2. During Shabbat morning Facebook livestream, a random person comes across the feed and decides to join. No one comments. Later, she complains that the temple is not warm and welcoming.

And the Number One way that Congregational Life Has Changed:

1. The Rabbi now begins every Shabbat service with, “For God’s sake, please do NOT turn off your electronic devices!”

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