A Rosh Hashana service will be streamed Saturday by The Laugh Factory, marking the 37th consecutive year the Hollywood comedy club has provided free High Holy Days services.
The service for the two-day holiday marking the Jewish New Year will be streamed at 11 a.m. on the club’s YouTube channel, on Instagram at laughfactoryhw and Facebook at @LaughFactoryHW.
“There are people everywhere that need to celebrate a joyous Rosh Hashana and a meaningful Yom Kippur,” Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada said. “We will all be praying for a happier and healthier New Year for all people around our world. That’s why we are making our free livestream available.”
Most congregations require membership and tickets for High Holy Days services but some synagogues and organizations are hold services and Rosh Hashana observances that are open to the public at no charge.
Rosh Hashana began at sundown Friday with online and outdoor services because indoor religious services are prohibited in Los Angeles County under public health orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The California Department of Public Health is encouraging families to participate in services within their own homes whenever possible to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus.
When religious ceremonies require a particular number of individuals to be present, if families are unable to do so on their own and feel it is absolutely necessary, they should carry out the act outdoors at least 6 feet apart from others while wearing a face covering, according to Dr. Erica Pan, the acting state public health officer.
The practice of gathering for festive meals featuring apples dipped in honey, symbolic of the wishes for a sweet year, is also discouraged by the California Department of Public Health.
People are encouraged to connect with relatives virtually and families are advised to only consume food they have prepared within their own home.
Rosh Hashana ushers in a 10-day period of repentance and contemplation culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Judaism’s most solemn and somber day.
During the High Holy Days, Jewish tradition holds that God records the fate of each person for the coming year in the Book of Life, which is sealed at the end of Yom Kippur.
Services marking the arrival of the year 5781 on the Hebrew calendar feature the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn mentioned in the Torah and used by ancient Jews in religious ceremonies and as a call to arms and now used at Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called this “a Rosh Hashana we won’t soon forget.”
“This Rosh Hashana feels different. At the same time there has never been (a more) appropriate moment to usher in the High Holidays,” said Garcetti, Los Angeles’ first elected Jewish mayor.
Bernard Cohn was appointed acting mayor in 1878 by his fellow members of what was then known as the Common Council following the death of Frederick A. MacDougal. Cohn was defeated by J.R. Toberman and was mayor for 15 days.
“We call this time Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, a season where we’re called to take part in that sacred exercise, passed down from generation to generation, to take stock of where we’ve been and where we are and where we are going,” Garcetti said.
“So this Rosh Hashana, let’s look forward and resolve to make this year filled with blessings and gratitude and joy, a year of family and friends and love and light, a year we reach out to those who have wandered off the path and lift up those who have fallen down.”
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