Hineni for our Virtual Services

Streaming services? Check. Virtual Choirs? Working on it.

But has anyone given any thought to the fact that the traditional texts of our familiar prayers need to be updated as well?

I therefore present my revised, COVID-era text for the iconic prayer of supplication and humility which is chanted by the cantor each year–the Hineni:

Here I stand, pixilated and buffering before You, streaming on behalf of your people Israel, even though my wifi is insufficient for the task. Therefore, as I stand frozen before you because my internet connection is unstable, I beseech you—the CEO of Zoom, the CEO of Facebook, and the CEO of Microsoft—I plead for help as I livestream my prayers for those I represent and who have entrusted me with the shul’s Zoom login credentials.

Do not judge them for my poor video quality, nor charge them because of my personal search history. Let there be no service outage to obstruct my prayer. Accept my prayer as the prayer of one who is uniquely qualified—someone who is wearing pants and is in a pleasant, well-lit room. Remove all firewalls and passwords.

May my prayer reach the cloud.

Praised are You, who unmutes everyone’s prayers.

Cantor Matt Axelrod has served Congregation Beth Israel of Scotch Plains, NJ since 1990. He is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a national officer of the Cantors Assembly. Cantor Axelrod is the author of Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah: The Ultimate Insider's Guide, and Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder.

2 comments on “Hineni for our Virtual Services

  1. Zach Mondrow

    AMEN!!!!!

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on From guestwriters and commented:
    Whilst many in our regions are questioning if we can have virtual meetings or services or if we can create our own new texts, it looks like it that in the United States they are a lot of steps in front of us, recognising that we need new ways to gather but also should not be afraid to see that traditional texts of our familiar prayers need to be updated as well.

    Like

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