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Suggested Etiquette For Zoom Services

Regulars have now had several months of practice using Zoom for services. We have come to the conclusion that zoomed services are quite a bit different from zoom meetings or classes. We believe that it would be helpful for all concerned to establish some etiquette for zoom davening.

It is admittedly difficult to find kavanah on line, to experience the sanctity of prayer sitting at your kitchen table. We are accustomed, as Jews, to coming together to make a minyan, having a shared experience. We can come close, figuratively, if participants make a conscious effort to recreate the live experience as best they can in their own place.

To do that we need to recreate a sanctuary space in our own homes or spaces, to make the space where we daven, pray with the community, as much like being at shul as possible. We want to behave with the same decorum as if we were in shul. Here are some suggestions:

  • Try to find a particular place in your home that can be set aside for prayer, a special place where you can go. Think of it like going to shul. A place of peace and quiet. In good weather, that might even be outside.
  • Be mindful of the view you are presenting to the congregation.
  • Face to the east, towards Jerusalem, when you daven. Preferably set up your computer so that when you are davening, especially the Amidah, you present a side view or a back view, not a front view. In any case make sure that when you stand up the congregation is not viewing your bottom half! Appropriate times to face the computer, the congregation, would be during the drash, or during kabbalat shabbat.
  • Please refrain from eating or drinking during services. If you must eat, please turn off your video.
  • Periodically check to make sure you are muted when appropriate, such as during a silent Amidah. This is especially true when you are having a side conversation. If the host mutes you, do not unmute yourself.
  • Avoid using the chat “To everyone” during services. It is the equivalent of shouting during live services. Private chats are fine, as they would be in shul. The chat feature can be fraught! Please check to make sure who will get your chat before sending it.
Thu, October 1 2020 13 Tishrei 5781