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Because of ongoing Covid restrictions, this year our services over the High Holydays will be like no other year. We have therefore put together the following detailed set of Questions & Answers that we hope will address most queries and concerns.


What services are being offered over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

We will be offering the following range of services:

Zoom Services Online

To enable our community to come together as one, we will have Zoom services online at the following times:

o   Erev Rosh Hashanah (Friday 18th September at 5.45pm)

o   Yizkor on Erev Kol Nidrei (Sunday 27th September at 9.30am)

o   Erev Kol Nidrei (Sunday 27th September at 5.30pm)

o   Just after the end of Neilah (Monday 28th September at 7.40pm)

In Person Services

There will be shortened, in-person services throughout the day on first and second day Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur (requiring online advance booking – see below); these will comprise of a mix of regular adult services, explanatory and family services.

Streamed Services

There will also be passive, ‘set-and-forget’ streamed services for those unable to attend Shul, throughout the day on first and second day Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. A list of the different streamed services, with times, can be found here.

Our Selichot Service on Wednesday 23rd September at 8.00pm will also be streamed.

Please note we are NOT holding any in-person services this year on Kol Nidrei.

You can find a full timetable of all services on offer over the High Holy Days here.

in person services

How long will each service last and how many people will be in each service? 

All in-person adult services will be about 75 minutes long; Explanatory and Family services will be slightly shorter. Between 50 and 75 people will be allowed in each service space, room-size depending.

Will there be Traditional and Egalitarian services?

Yes, there will be both Traditional and Egalitarian services on first and second day Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. Wherever possible, family groupings will be seated together to maximise capacity.

Where will the services be taking place?

All the services will be at the Sternberg Centre site this year, using various buildings on site including the Beit Knesset, the Old Synagogue Hall and the Akiva School Hall. There will therefore be full disabled access to all spaces.

How many services can I attend?

You may only attend one service on either first or second day Rosh Hashanah, and a further one service on Yom Kippur

Noting the services are shorter than usual, what will the content be?

Because each service will be about 75 minutes long, they will contain the edited highlights of the day (or, on Yom Kippur, of the time of day). Every service will include a sermon, and there will be shofar blowing (done in a Covid-compliant way) in all services on second day Rosh Hashanah. (There is no shofar blowing on first day due to it being Shabbat).

How will I be able to follow the service, noting it will be quite different to what I’m used to?

A list of page numbers for each service will be sent out within your confirmation email that will be sent just before Yom Tov which you may wish to print out and bring with you; in addition, page numbers for the Koren, Birnbaum, Artscroll and Routledge machzorim will be visibly displayed within your service venue, and announced intermittently through the service

Will I be able to use one of the Synagogue’s community machzorim (prayer books) and/or tallis/kippah when I attend a service?

Unfortunately this will not be possible this year and so we ask you to bring your own with you. Please see below for links to where you can purchase your own Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur machzor.

Is there a Yizkor service on Yom Kippur?

There will not be a Yizkor service within the in-person Yom Kippur services, but as noted above, there will be a Yizkor service for the whole community via Zoom on Sunday 27th September at 9.30am.

The Zoom details will be published within our regular Shalom NNLS emails in the week leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as on our closed Facebook Group. (For security purposes, these will not be published on our website).

Will I need to wear a mask/face covering throughout the service? 

Yes, masks must be worn at all times whilst on site (indoors and outside) by all adults and secondary school aged children. Primary school aged children need not wear masks.

What other Covid-compliant steps are NNLS taking to make me feel comfortable within the services?

All seating will be socially distanced, with members of the same household being able to sit together in family groupings; staggered arrival windows and a one-way system will operate across the site; hand sanitizing stations will be in situ throughout the site; every service space, bathroom and all touch points within communal spaces will be cleaned between services throughout the day   

Can I sit with my friend(s) as we spend time together outside of NNLS?

We ask that you only sit with those in your household; the seating will be arranged prior to the service in line with household bookings. 

I have accessibility needs. What provision is there for me?

As noted above, all of our service venues are wheelchair accessible. However, if you have other specific accessibility issues please contact the NNLS Office


How do I book for in person services?

You need to book online for the service(s) you plan to attend via this link, which will go live at midday on Wednesday 2nd September. We recommend that you book for services using a desktop or laptop computer. However, should you choose to book your service(s) on a mobile phone, you should flip your phone to landscape view so that all service times are visible to you.

How many services can I book?

As above, each member can book for just one service on either first or second day Rosh Hashanah, and for one service on Yom Kippur. Because of our limited capacity, we ask that if you have booked for anyone in your household who subsequently decides they do not want to attend, please let the office know by email in advance of the day, so that their spot can be allocated to someone else who might otherwise not have been given a place due to services being fully booked.

Can I book guest tickets for family who are not members of NNLS?

In the first instance we are giving priority to current NNLS members. If availability allows, we may be able to offer limited spaces to immediate family members including adult children, parents and siblings on a first-come, first-served basis. You will see an option to log this request with the Synagogue Office at the bottom of the online booking form.

Can I bring my children to these services?

Whilst unfortunately, this year we are not able to offer separate children’s services, children are welcome to join you at all our adult services. However, please be aware that each service is 75 minutes long, and children must be seated next to a parent at all times. Do consider booking a Family Service (with your Primary School aged child(ren)) taking place on first day Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, or the Explanatory Service (with your Secondary School aged child(ren)) on second day Rosh Hashanah. Please note that bookings MUST be made for each child attending via the main online booking form.

What about my teens?

Sadly we don’t have a dedicated teens programme this year, although we are continuing our tradition of having a teen-led Minchah service on Yom Kippur afternoon. However, as above, all children (even teenagers!) can join you at our adult services – but as with younger children, they MUST remain seated next to you at all times. No-one will be allowed to roam around the site anywhere outside of the service spaces, so please really do give thought before booking for children this may not suit.

What if I can’t come on the day/time I have booked, can I come another day or swap with a friend or can I change my booking?

If you make a booking that you subsequently realise will not work for you or any member of your household, PLEASE email us  to advise the Office of this – so that any unusable places can be re-allocated. Please do not take your own initiative to swap your place with a friend/anyone from outside of your household – as this will not allow us to keep an accurate record of attendees for the purposes of the NHS Test and Trace procedures. Likewise, if you wish to try and change your booking, please just email the Office as above and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Can I book for specific services with my friends?

No, unfortunately you can only book for yourself and your household. If you do want to attend a service with one or more close friends/family members outside of your household, we advise that you liaise before bookings open on 1st September and that you try and book for the same service when online booking goes live. We of course can’t guarantee that there will be availability if booking is not done early.  


Will I get a physical ticket and what must I bring to the service to confirm my booking?

On booking, you will receive an email receipt confirming the services booked; you will then, a day or two before Rosh Hashanah (and then again pre-Yom Kippur) receive a reminder confirmation email which we ask you to print and bring with you to enter the site. For security and for social distancing purposes, we do not want to have to look up large numbers of members on attendance lists. It is much quicker for you to show your confirmation email ticket – so PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING IT WITH YOU! For those who are unable to print their confirmation email ticket, please let the Office know so that we can make suitable alternative arrangements for you.

What if I have not booked for a service, but turn up anyway?

If you have not booked through our online system, your name will not appear on our attendance lists, and unfortunately, you will NOT be permitted to enter the site as we need to be both keep service sizes within our socially distanced capacity, and be able to comply with Test and Trace for all attendees.

How will I know venue and time (and 20-minute arrival window) for my service?

The time of your service will be clear when you book online, and when you receive your email reminder a couple of days before your confirmed service, you will be advised of a 20-minute arrival window that we ask you to take very seriously, in order to enable a steady socially-distanced flow of people onto the site, and for your service to start and end on time. You will be directed to the correct service venue by one of our team of greeters once you arrive on site.

What do I need to bring with me to the service?

Please bring everything you need with you, including  your machzor (festival prayer book), mask and tallit/kippah, as well as perhaps your own water bottle.

Will the toilets be available?

Yes. There will be toilets available in each building where services are being held, which will be cleaned throughout the day between services.

Will there be cloakroom facilities?

Unfortunately not. All coats will need to be placed on the back of your chair and therefore bear this in mind and only bring what is necessary.

What if I arrive late, and can I arrive early?

We ask that you keep to your arrival window. We will be starting and ending services punctually to enable turnaround and cleaning for the next shift, and to ensure that we keep a manageable flow of people around the site.  

How will I know where to go?

On entering the site, you will be advised which space your service is taking place within. There will be a clearly marked one-way system around the site with greeters at several points both outside and within the services to help direct you into services and off the site at the end of your service.

Can I move between the services?

Unfortunately not. You may only go to the service you have booked for. To do otherwise would break up service bubbles which we need for the purposes of Test and Trace and make life even more complicated for everyone!

Can I meet friends who are in a different service outside on the site?

For the same reasons as above, unfortunately, it is not possible to gather on the site or (for security reasons) immediately outside the site at all.

I don’t currently own Rosh Hashanah and/or Yom Kippur Machzorim. Where can I buy these?

Members will continue to use a mix of different machzorim (and page numbers for Routledge, Artscroll, Birnbaum and Koren will be provided at all services). However, the machzor we recommend you to buy is the Koren , which you can get online here: Rosh Hashanah Koren Machzor: Aisenthal Judaica or at Amazon; Yom Kippur Koren Machzor: Aisenthal Judaica or at Amazon.


What is the difference between the Zoom and streamed services being offered?

Zoom services are taking place pre- and post- the chagim, at times when no in-person services are happening. They are an opportunity for the community to come together as one. You will have to log into the services with a Zoom ID, although they will also be broadcast on Facebook Live.

Streaming is being offered alongside our in-person services for those who are unable to attend our physical building. We will be using a ‘set and forget’ system enabling us to avoid any technical engagement for our broadcast during the chag itself. We will send out details of how to access the streaming in due course.

What will be streamed?

We will be offering a range of streamed ‘set and forget’ services including regular services, family, explanatory and children’s, spread across the 2 days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. They will be bespoke services for the purposes of streaming, not a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ view of an in-person service taking place. The content will mirror our physical services but will be delivered with the streaming environment in mind.

There will also be Selichot services that will be streamed on Wednesday 9th September at 7.30pm and 23rd September at 8.00pm. This will, however, be streamed from within the in-person service, and so will be more of a ‘fly on the wall’ production – but we hope this will still give those who are unable to attend in person a feel for the service.

What is ‘set and forget’?

‘Set and forget’ enables us to set up cameras and microphones in a dedicated space at NNLS which does not require any technical engagement during the chag itself, when the services will be broadcast live.

Likewise for you at home, you can click here for instructions for you to be able to switch on, find our streaming channel, and leave your computer running in a halachik-friendly way over the chag without having to engage with it to receive our streaming. We will be broadcasting on a dedicated NNLS YouTube channel.

Where can I find the Zoom details?

The Zoom details will be published within our regular Shalom NNLS emails in the week leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. (For security purposes, these will not be published on our website). Technology permitting, we will also livestream our Zoom services to our public Facebook Page.

(Masorti Judaism will be running a digital Selichot Service on Zoom on 12th September, which you can sign up for here.)

And where will I find instructions for logging in to the streamed services?

Similarly, full instructions on how to access the streamed services will be published via our Shalom NNLS emails in the week leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. (For security purposes, these will not be published on our website).

Sat, 28 November 2020 12 Kislev 5781