Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Are you planning to attend any High Holiday services in person this year?”
This question was identical to what Chronicle readers were asked about High Holiday attendance in 2021. As the numbers indicate, this year marks a sizable increase in the number of people who plan on attending services in person inside a building. Whereas 27% of readers said they planned on attending services in person inside a building last year, the number grew to 57% this year. Similarly, whereas 55% of readers said they planned on participating in High Holiday services by streaming or on their own at home in 2021, the number fell to 24% in 2022.
Readers provided various explanations of what they’re doing this year. Of the 294 people who responded to the 2022 poll, 40 people provided comments. A few responses follow.
No longer interested. The last reason for attending, bonding with the community, is no longer important to me. The conflating of politics and religion is exhausting and irrelevant.
I’m unaffiliated, so going to a physical service is not possible. I will do some of the streaming services either locally or from NYC.
I’m waiting to see how the numbers of infections are before I decide.
I’m doing both in person and online.
I feel it is important to be there in person. It is more meaningful to me.
I am making a symbolic silent protest by taking a 1-year leave of absence as a member of the temple that unceremoniously “fired” its main spiritual leader without good cause.
COVID is so over. If you don’t want to be exposed, don’t leave your home.
I am a Pittsburger living in South Florida. Our local synagogue’s constant pleas, haranguing members for money alienated family and me.
Our community also offers Zoom services this year, but I intend to be there in person, as I am the soloist for our community in Mexico.
Services via Zoom don’t feel real to me (and are hard to do halachically), so I won’t do that if I have a choice. I’m vaxxed and boosted, and I’m inside a building (masked) every week for Shabbat. That hasn’t caused any problems.
I will do the main Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur service in person. The rest on Zoom.
COVID is completely over for me. There’s vaccines now, or you can get it naturally, or both. There is no longer any reason for fear.
There is limited seating at my shul, and I am forgoing attending to allow those who want to attend in person do so. I do not care one way or the other.
I have not and will not participate in streaming services. I understand the need for it, and glad it was available, but the elimination of in-person services was not necessary.
I will be wearing a mask.
We have been to Zoom shul since the pandemic, but I am looking forward to returning in person. PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.