All welcome for virtual High Holy Days services

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation is opening its doors virtually and invites the Capital Region community and guests near and far to experience the High Holy Days in a new way.

B’nai Sholom will observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at a safe distance this year by conducting all services online. Led by Rabbi David Katz, the congregation’s new interim rabbi, all services will be adapted to electronic media to create a community through laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones.

A virtual service allows families, friends, and guests to log on and take part from anywhere in the world — no tickets required. Rosh Hashanah this year will feature the dramatic blowing of the shofar and a digital choir.

Guests who register in advance also may take part in one of several Virtual Rosh Hashanah Gatherings where participants may enjoy discussions, chats, and conversations with congregants over lunch after the Rosh Hashanah morning service.

“This year, we will share the High Holy Days as a community online, creating a beautiful, meaningful and unforgettable experience.  We look forward to welcoming you now or at any time in 5781,” said Rabbi Katz in a release from B’nai Sholom.

Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset Friday, Sept. 18; Yom Kippur commences at sunset on Sunday, Sept. 27.

Advance registration is required to attend any of the virtual services. Logon links with service times will be emailed.

To attend one or all services, or for the full schedule, contact the B’nai Sholom office: 518-482-5283 or

Katz became B’nai Sholom’s spiritual leader in July 2020, following the retirement of Donald P. Cashman, who led the congregation for 35 years. Katz has 39 years in the rabbinate including service to seven congregations as interim rabbi, serving as a transitional “bridge” to provide time for congregants to explore, experiment and determine what the congregation has become and where it hopes to go. Katz served on committees that developed Mishkan T’filah, the newest Reform Judaism prayer book, which is used in synagogues throughout North America.

Rebecca Pacuk, a graduate of the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music and an Albany area native who attended B’nai Sholom during her youth, will be the cantorial soloist for the holy days once again. Pacuk is a music teacher in Salem, New Hampshire, and resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In addition, Elizabeth M. Huntley will return to furnish harp accompaniment to the services. She is principal harpist with the Glens Falls Symphony and has performed widely as a soloist, in regional productions and orchestras and with touring musicians. Since 1998, Huntley has been the editor of The American Harp Journal.

Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region. Nearly 130 diverse households from eight counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.


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