New Orleanians prepare for Rosh Hashanah in “diaspora”

Cooking out at the Chabad Center in Metairie

As the initial recovery from Hurricane Ida continues in Louisiana, plans are being formulated for a High Holy Days in the diaspora, with so many community members still scattered around the country, and most of the New Orleans area still without electricity for at least several more days and possibly a couple weeks.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans is providing need-based financial assistance to those who qualify. It will be allocated as a reimbursement for paid expenses, and up to $250 can be requested. Funding can be used for humanitarian assistance, including but not limited to hotels and other housing assistance, food, transportation, minor home repairs and miscellaneous supplies.

Eligibility requirements include being Jewish, age 21 or older, who was a resident of the Hurricane Ida disaster area on Aug. 29, 2021, and sustained a financial loss due to the hurricane. Applications are available here.

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans continues to post resources on its webpage and plan for the long-term recovery. Links to Rosh Hashanah services are available here.

On Sept. 6, through an effort spearheaded by Chaim Goldfeder of Kosher Palate in Dallas, kosher High Holiday meal boxes will be distributed in New Orleans. Around 500 boxes, totaling 2,000 meals, will be available. From 9 a.m. to noon, 75 of those boxes are being distributed at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie.

The Chabads in New Orleans, Metairie and Baton Rouge have mobilized and are going around the community, tending to needs. With a month’s worth of kosher meat that would otherwise go to waste without electricity, they have been holding cookouts in Metairie, and on Sept. 3 were able to distribute free fuel at the Uptown location.

Some congregations will be holding online services from different cities, where their clergy wound up in the evacuations. For those who do not have power or internet service, Zoom services enable one to call in and receive the audio.

Congregation Emanu El in Houston is hosting a “come as you are” Rosh Hashanah service for Gates of Prayer, Touro Synagogue and Temple Sinai. The informal service will be at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 7, do not arrive before 9 a.m. Gates of Prayer Rabbi Emeritus Bob Loewy and Cantorial Soloist Jordan Lawrence will lead the service. Vaccination is requested, masking is required. Registration is helpful and all are welcome to attend Emanu El’s regular services.

Arrangements have also been made for New Orleanians to attend at Temple Emanu-El and Temple Shalom in Dallas, Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham and Temple Israel in Memphis. Reservations are needed, and the congregations require vaccination.

In Metro New Orleans:

Chabad of Louisiana in Uptown New Orleans has power and will hold services. Rosh Hashanah services will be both days at 7 p.m. and 10 a.m., and a Tashlich and outdoor shofar blowing at 5 p.m. on Sept. 7. There will also be an outdoor shofar blowing on Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. Yom Kippur services are 6:45 p.m. and 10 a.m. Meals from a Florida caterer will be held after all four of the Rosh Hashanah services, reservations requested. For those preferring to dine at home, a limited number of meal packages from Kosher Palate in Dallas will be available.

Chabad in Metairie is preparing for a “power or no power” series of services and meals. First night Rosh Hashanah services will be at 6:45 p.m., followed by a community dinner. Morning services will be at 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 and 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 8, with lunch following. A one-hour abbreviated first-day outdoor service will be at 8:45 a.m. On Sept. 7, there will be Tashlich and shofar blowing at the lake, at 6:30 p.m. Regular services will be indoors if there is power, otherwise they will be in a nearby air conditioned home. Kol Nidre will be at 7 p.m., full service indoors or a half-hour service outdoors. The main service will be at 9:15 a.m., with a one-hour indoor abbreviated option at 9:30 a.m.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have online services, livestreamed on their website or on Zoom. Shabbat services will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 and 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 4. The morning service will be only on Zoom. Rosh Hashanah services will be at 8 p.m. on Sept. 6 and 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 7.

Beth Israel in Metairie, which doesn’t livestream services, will have a few virtual get-togethers before Rosh Hashanah. There will be a virtual Kabbalat Shabbat at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3. On Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. there will be a Rosh Hashanah Open House and Simanim Seder online. Participants who are able to acquire them should have apples and honey, and perhaps pomegranates, dates and a fruit they have not eaten this year. More important, have an item representing “where you are now,” physically, spiritually, emotionally or mentally; and an item representing hope for the year ahead. On Sept. 6, there will be “Hits from the High Holy Days,” singing some favorite Beth Israel High Holy Day melodies and a communal Tekiah Gedolah. The congregation is also connecting members around the country to congregations where they can spend the holiday.

Shir Chadash in Metairie will have virtual services, with links to be posted on their web page. Shabbat services will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3. There will be no Shabbat morning service, but a community Havdalah will be at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 4, and minyan will be at 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 5. Rosh Hashanah services will be led by David Kaplinsky in Los Angeles, 8 p.m. on Sept. 6 and 9 a.m. on Sept. 7 and 8. Minyan for the Fast of Gedaliah will be at 8 a.m. on Sept. 9. A children’s check-in will be at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 6.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have virtual services from Temple Israel in Memphis, led by the Touro clergy. Services will be streamed on the website and Facebook Live, and through Zoom. Cantor Margolius will lead a Shabbat service in person at 5 p.m. in the Bowsky Garden at Touro, followed by a 6 p.m. online service. On Sept. 6, the Rosh Hashanah service starts at 5:30 p.m., and on Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. There will be a family service on Sept. 8 at 10 a.m., Zoom only.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans is holding online services, with Rabbi Sherman in Tulsa and Cantor Colman in Birmingham. Services will be on Zoom, livestreamed on the Sinai website, YouTube and Facebook Live. The Sept. 6 service will be at 7:30 p.m., and Sept. 7 will be at 10 a.m. Everyone is invited for a communal final call of the shofar at noon.

Anshe Sfard does not anticipate holding services.

Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville will hold in-person Rosh Hashanah services at 7:30 p.m. and 10 a.m. Yom Kippur will have the same schedule, along with the afternoon service at 4 p.m. and Yizkor at 5:30 p.m. Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels will officiate. Masks required.

Jewish Community Day School in Metairie is holding a Rosh Hashanah themed Kabbalat Shabbat online on Sept. 3 at 2:30 on Zoom.