Adult Engagement

Deepen Your Understanding

Update: Virtual Programming to Continue Through April 20

March 19, 2020


This letter was sent to Central Synagogue members on March 18, 2020

Dear Central Community,

It has not even been a week since we announced that Central would become a completely “virtual” synagogue, yet the world has changed enormously since then. We are so grateful to our community and staff for the resiliency they have shown in this very difficult time. Given recent public announcements, Central will continue with our “virtual only” programming until at least April 20. This includes our Shabbat services, Nursery school, LCLJ, and Adult Learning.

Given recent public announcements, Central will continue with our “virtual only” programming until at least April 20. This includes our Shabbat services, Nursery school, LCLJ, and Adult Learning. Our incredible team and community have quickly adapted to this new reality and our virtual synagogue has been alive with activity in the last week. Among the things that have happened in just the past few days:

  • Shabbat Livestream Services were “attended” by double our usual viewers.
  • Daily Minyan at 8:00 am is up and running on Zoom. For the link, please email clergy@censyn.org.
  • Our Nursery School is offering a variety of programs, including two daily morning sessions with story hours, cooking and yoga sessions planned.
  • 200 LCLJ students are learning Hebrew through daily tutoring. A new Shabbat story time, led by Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal, begins this week every Friday at 3:30 pm. Join via Zoom at https://censyn.zoom.us/s/591168751.
  • Adult Engagement ran its first two virtual events this week; a concert and a webinar. All adult education programs have moved online and many more programs are planned.
  • The Center for Exploring Judaism has just started a new cohort, and is holding three classes per week.
  • Clergy, staff, and congregants have begun calling our more vulnerable members to check in, and a volunteer crew is being assembled to meet their needs.
  • We have adapted our Breakfast Program to provide “grab-and-go” meals.
  • Our membership team will email or call our congregants to notify them of upcoming Yahrzeits to ensure that this important ritual can be observed.
  • We will continue to seek new ways to virtually come together. Our upcoming Communal seder, sadly, will be cancelled in-person, but we are working on different ways to celebrate Pesach together. I also have decided to postpone my Sabbatical in order to remain with the community at this time.

I hope that you are all taking all measures to keep yourself both physically and mentally healthy. To that end, I would like to tell you about two events that will be held online each day, starting Monday, March 23.

  • I invite you to join me every morning at 8:30 - 9:00 am for a daily meditation practice and a little Torah. Meditation helps boost the immune system, relieve stress and anxiety and center the mind. No experience necessary. If you can breathe, you can meditate!
  • Every day from 12:00 - 12:30 pm, join us for “Coffee with the Clergy,” in which a member of our clergy team will share a favorite text, a new piece of music or arrangement, answer questions, or even lead a short cooking segment. More information with details on how to participate in both these daily events will be available on our website soon.

Finally, I’d like to also let you know about a just-announced community-wide virtual gathering being sponsored by UJA that will bring together a number of rabbis, including myself, from across Manhattan. This pre-Shabbat opportunity will take place on Friday, March 20 at 2:00 pm and will allow us to come together in prayer, song, and learning. Please check our website for the Zoom link.

To brighten your day, I share a picture of what “Virtual Nursery School” looks like this week with our littlest students. We look forward to connecting with you all in many ways over the coming weeks.


Labriyut—In Good Health,

Rabbi Angela W. Buchdahl

Senior Rabbi