A growing number of synagogues and other Jewish institutions live-stream their High Holiday services, and in many cases Shabbat services and other programs, online.
Even if you plan to go to synagogue for at least part of the holiday, watching live or archived services from home makes it easy to sample a variety of different synagogues and worship styles — or even to try binging a whole season in one weekend Netflix style!
While Internet-assisted worship may lack the personal connection of physically being there, it can be a good option for those who are homebound, caring for small children, geographically isolated or unable for whatever reason to get tickets or physically travel to services.
The streaming is generally available free of charge, although some institutions request voluntary donations to offset the costs. However, If saving money on High Holiday tickets is your primary motivation for streaming rather than showing up, you should know that many places offer free or discounted tickets and most synagogues are happy to reduce or waive fees for people facing financial hardships. Find more information about affordable or free High Holiday tickets.
Because traditional Jews do not permit using technology on Shabbat and most holidays, none of the streaming options below are from Orthodox synagogues. Please let us know in the comments below of additional places streaming services.
East Coast (Eastern Daylight Time)
92nd Street Y (Nondenominational)
The 92nd Street Y is one of the United States’ oldest Jewish community centers. Services promise to be “warm, dynamic and inspiring,” and are led by Rabbi Elka Abrahamson (Reform ordained and currently the president of the Wexner Foundation) and cantorial soloist Josh Nelson, a “gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose work is celebrated and integrated into the repertoire of congregations, camps and communities around the world.”
Brooklyn Heights Synagogue (Reform)
The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue describes itself as “welcoming, inclusive community dedicated to lifelong learning, to supporting each other and to caring for the world.” The congregation also streams Shabbat services and archives many previous ones, including two years of High Holiday services. Find BHS’ High Holidays service schedule here. Led by Rabbi Serge Lippe, as well as an associate rabbi, “adjunct” rabbi, rabbinic intern and a cantor.
Central Synagogue (Reform)
This 2,300-member congregation is one of the largest synagogues in North America. In addition to live-streaming High Holiday services (find schedule here), the congregation live streams Shabbat services. The congregation uses its own prayer books, which can be downloaded here (scroll to middle of page)). Services are archived for one week, and the you can listen to past High Holiday sermons here (scroll to bottom of page). Led by Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, plus three assistant rabbis and two cantors.
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (Reform)
Based in Chester, Connecticut, Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek describes itself as a community “that is vibrant, evolving, ancient and cool” whose services feature “beautiful music led by our Cantor and Choir, inspiring teachings from the Rabbi and lay people, and special services and activities for children and young families.” Find the schedule of services here. The synagogue also streams Shabbat services, and High Holiday services are archived here. Led by Rabbi Marci N. Bellows and a cantor.
Lab/Shul describes itself as an “everybody friendly, artist-driven, God-optional, pop-up Jewish community, based in NYC, reaching the world.” It is part of the Jewish Emergent Network, a group of young congregations that share “a devotion to revitalizing the field of Jewish engagement, a commitment to approaches both traditionally rooted and creative, and a demonstrated success in attracting unaffiliated and disengaged Jews to a rich and meaningful Jewish practice.” Led by Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, an additional rabbi and an ensemble of musicians and actors. The Torah service is generally “Storahtelling”-style, with a dramatic interpretation of the text.
OurJewishCommunity.org is a completely online synagogue, streaming all its services. In addition to streaming evening and morning services for Rosh Hashanah (first day) and Yom Kippur, it also broadcasts a children’s service for each holiday and archives them all. Led by Rabbi Robert Barr.
Park Avenue Synagogue (Conservative)
This 1,650-family congregation’s vision includes practicing “a Judaism filled with love, literacy, reverence, compassion, and joy” and striving “to make our ancient tradition compelling and welcoming to contemporary Jewry and to serve as a light unto our fellow Jews and the nations.” It also streams Shabbat services. Find schedule of High Holiday services here. Led by Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, plus two other rabbis and a cantor/ritual director.
Romemu (Jewish Renewal)
Romemu describes itself as “an open-hearted, experiential, irreverently pious, intergenerational Jewish community that elevates and transforms individuals and communities into more compassionate human beings.” Like Lab/Shul (above), the congregation is part of the Jewish Emergent Network. Shabbat services are also live streamed, and recent ones are archived. Led by Rabbi David Ingber plus two other rabbis, two rabbinic interns and Cantor Basya Schechter, who is known for her group Pharaoh’s Daughter, a seven-piece “neohasidic” world music ensemble.
Temple Beth Am (Reform)
This Miami congregation is one of the largest synagogues in South Florida. It also streams Shabbat services, and archives all services back to August 2016. Check its homepage for the High Holiday service schedule. Led by Rabbi Jeremy Barras, plus three other rabbis and a cantor.
Temple Beth El (Reconstructionist)
Based in Newark, Delaware, the congregation also streams Shabbat services. Find High Holidays schedule here. Led by Rabbi Jacob M. Lieberman.
Temple Emanu-El (Reform)
Founded in 1845, Emanu-El was New York City’s first Reform congregation. Music for the holidays can be listened to in advance here. Shabbat services are also live streamed, and all services are archived for 30 days. Schedule of services here. Led by Rabbi Joshua Davidson, two additional rabbis, a cantor and an “adjunct rabbi.”
Temple Sholom (Reform)
This Cincinnati synagogue says it welcomes “all people: seekers, interfaith families, and those in search of a spiritual home.” The congregation streams some Shabbat services and also hosts videos of many individual prayers. Led by Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp and three rabbinic interns.
Midwest (Central Daylight Time)
B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (Reform)
Based in Deerfield, Illinois, B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim encourages “participation from all who seek a connection to Jewish life and want to be part of our sacred community regardless of religious background, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, ability, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” The congregation also streams Shabbat services and archives High Holiday services (broken down into different sections so viewers can select specific prayers if they do not wish to view the entire service.) Led by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, a second rabbi and two cantors.
Congregation Sinai (Reform)
Located in Milwaukee’s North Shore area, Congregation Sinai describes itself as “intimate, vibrant and inclusive.” All High Holy Day services are streamed on the synagogue’s YouTube channel, and in 2017, Sinai will be broadcasting interactive Rosh Hashanah morning services on Facebook Live. Led by Rabbi David B. Cohen and Cantor Richard Newman.
West Coast (Pacific Daylight Time)
Congregation Beth Israel (Reform)
Based in Portland, Oregon, Congregation Beth Israel has over 800 member families and is the original and largest Reform synagogue in Oregon. High Holiday services include a choir and an organ. The congregation also streams Shabbat services, and archives some previous services on its YouTube channel. Led by Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana, an associate rabbi and a cantor.
Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills (Reform)
Temple Emanuel describes itself as “one of Southern California’s premier Reform Jewish congregations and synagogues,” and its vision is “Living Judaism: Judaism that is alive, changing and vibrant.” Emanuel also streams Shabbat services and archives past ones. Find a description and schedule of High Holiday services here. Led by Rabbi Jonathan Aaron, an associate rabbi and a cantor.