Torah Reading During Covid-19

Tips on Using Mahzor Lev Shalem 5781

As you prepare for the High Holidays, the Rabbinical Assembly is committed to offering a variety of options for accessing their Mahzor Lev Shalem so you can choose what works best for your community.

Abbreviating prayer services for High Holy Days

We are offering a special extended discount on this publication, as well as options for digital purchase and licensing. Additionally, we have provided resources and information on keeping your books safe and clean. We hope the below options provide peace of mind during this uncertain time. Order Mahzor Lev Shalem in Time for the High Holidays

Print edition

      • The RA is extending the RA/USCJ discount to all purchasers of Mahzor Lev Shalem, making the price $29.40. Some members of your community may wish to order copies for themselves; in other cases, synagogues may wish to coordinate bulk orders on behalf of their members to save on shipping. To guarantee delivery in time for the High Holidays, please place bulk orders by August 20 at rabbinicalassembly.org/books. (If you are located outside the continental United States, contact books@rabbinicalassembly.org for shipping information and timelines.)

Digital edition

      • Mahzor Lev Shalem is now available as a digital publication via Issuu (www.issuu.com), a digital publishing platform that preserves the appearance and pagination of the printed book. Users can access the digital mahzor on their computers or via the free Issuu app for mobile and tablet (The file can be downloaded to use on a device in airplane mode in accordance with CJLS recommendations for Shabbat and Yom Tov). The digital mahzor is also compatible with screen sharing on Zoom.
        • Synagogues will have the option to purchase licenses for their members at a cost of $1 per user/family. Once the Rabbinical Assembly has received payment, a unique code will be generated that can be shared with community members.
        • Synagogues may opt to license a custom digital edition that includes only the pages which are planned to be used in services. This can be customized to include a cover page with the synagogue logo. Customization is offered at a cost of $750 and must be requested by August 20 (Rosh Hodesh Elul).
        • The digital edition of Mahzor Lev Shalem will be available for individual purchase via the Issuu app at a special price of $5.99 (from launch until July 31) and $8.99 (starting August 1).
        • More information about this edition and links for purchase are available here.

Resources for safer book handling

Some of you are exploring plans to distribute print mahzorim to your members, and have reached out to request guidance on safe book handling. Although we are not qualified to make specific safety recommendations, we are happy to share some resources from our friends in the world of libraries and archives:

        • Disinfecting Books and Other Collections:” This fact sheet from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) recommends a 7-day quarantine of library items after handling by staff and patrons. The use of topical disinfectants or UV light is NOT recommended.
        • The NEDCC recommends that staff moving books into quarantine wear face masks, avoid touching their faces, and follow handwashing protocols. Washing with soap and water is preferable to hand sanitizer because hand sanitizer can stain paper (though this is probably a larger concern for librarians handling archival materials).
        • The covers of Mahzor Lev Shalem and Siddur Lev Shalem are made from recycled plastic. The surface of the binding can be wiped clean with a mild soapy solution, but it should be dried immediately, as the binding boards are subject to warping. No liquid should be allowed to touch the paper, including the inside of the binding, which is laminated with paper.
        • There is also a working group that plans to offer COVID-specific information on handling books and other materials by the end of August. You can read more, and sign up to receive updates, here.

These letters of guidance are not official responsa of the CJLS because the CJLS wants to offer them to you in an expedited manner and does not have time for the full process of multiple discussions before the entire committee and a formal vote. They have been vetted by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, CJLS chair, Rabbi Pamela Barmash, CJLS co-chair, and teams of CJLS members.



Yamim Noraim – The High Holydays 2020 – 5781


Turning Your Home Into a Sacred Space by Cantor Matt Axelrod, Congregation Beth Israel, Scotch Plains, NJ

Live streaming

  • Producing a high holidays live stream by David Vogel, Video Consultant, Producer and Strategist
  • 40 Holy Days is a free online-tool-kit of music and inspiration featuring leading Jewish artists from around the globe. We invite you to join us and supplement your streamed services, hold viewership, build community and “elevate” the “praying” field.

Inclusion: Physical/Mental Disabilities


Upcoming Webinars

AUGUST 6th, 2020 at 12 PM ET

The Path Forward: Navigating High Holiday Services in the Time of COVID

Click here to register for small congregations (<250 Member Units)

Click here to register for large congregations (650+ Member Units)

AUGUST 11th, 2020 at 11:30 AM ET

The Path Forward: Navigating High Holiday Services in the Time of COVID

Click here to register for medium congregations (250-650 Member Units)

Webinar Recordings

AUGUST 4, 2020
Rabbinical Assembly Webinar on Abbreviating Liturgy

AUGUST 3rd, 2020 at 3 PM ET

Putting the Joy into Sukkot & Simhat Torah on Zoom

Join Rabbi Yael Buechler and Amichai Margolis of the Leffell School in Westchester, NY for tips about how to utilize Zoom tools for Hallel, Hakafot, sukkah-hopping and more.

Click here to access the webinar recording.

JULY 9, 2020 at 2 PM ET

Engaging Your Members During the High Holiday Season

Click here to access the webinar recording

Click here for related materials

JUNE 30, 2020
Creating Virtual High Holiday Experiences

JUNE 24, 2020
Enhancing Your High Holiday Live Streaming Experience   Use the password  3r?!118E

MAY 27, 2020
Shabbat on Screen: Implications of the new CJLS Rulings

  • Click here to access the webinar recording (password: 8m&K2@8#)

This page will be updated regularly with new resources and information. If you have not found what you are looking for, please check back and/ or contact your synagogue consultant for additional information.