These seem like basic questions, but covid and zoom have added some complexity to these considerations. This past Shabbat, I found myself on zoom from a hotel room near Dulles International. I was in town to officiate a Sunday night wedding, and some Shabbat plans with a host family fell through as that family tested positive for covid.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been in the small or large sanctuary, davening in front of the camera, peering at the Hollywood Squares — you guys. And now I was on the other side of the equation. What constitutes a minyan? I used to find the question obvious: It’s about ten people of bar/bat mitzvah age, gathered within the same physical space. Twenty or so years ago, when I heard descriptions of minyan that included online participation — I rolled my eyes. I humbly stand corrected. This pandemic has taught me about the power of people joining together across the miles — getting past our annoyance at sketchy internet signals, learning patience and finding delight in small details in each of those squares. And when the computer screen tells me that my
connection may be unstable — well, that’s true about life, too. Each one of us makes all the difference in the world. I thank you all for these crucial insights. Kehillah is about connecting. Prayer really should include mindful listening. It’s all about connection.