WASHINGTON — Meeting the moment as Jewish college students confront isolation and uncertainty with a reimagined approach to celebrating Judaism’s holiest days, Hillel International and Reboot have teamed up to deliver “Higher Holidays,” a dynamic set of unique streamed experiences for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
An innovative, creative endeavor, “Higher Holidays: Beyond the Book,” produced by Reboot, will present an audacious twist to the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur traditions through a streamed program with a contemporary take on the most pressing issues captivating the Jewish world, including:
- A reconceived Kol Nidre musical piece featuring Adam Kantor, star of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical The Band’s Visit and other members of the Broadway company;
- Conversations with Michelle Obama speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, NBC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff, and Adam Mansbach, author of “Go the F*ck to Sleep”;
- A challah baking tutorial with Jake Cohen,Tiffany Shlain and her #ZoomChallahBake;
- A Neilah melody by Grammy-nominated indie folk duo The Milk Carton Kids;
- Reflections on the birth of the world by Jamie Margolin, founder of Zero Hour, a climate justice organization;
- And a “Nervous Jewish Kids” conversation with Cameron Kasky, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor and Gotham star David Mazouz.
A second channel, “Higher Holidays: In the Book,” will offer a streamed experience structured after the traditional Reform services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Students from nearly a dozen campus Hillels will contribute readings and reflection, and Hillel President and CEO Adam Lehman will offer words of blessing for the new year.
“This is such a tumultuous time for thousands of Jewish students. Some are apart from their friends, others apart from their families, and none of them are able to connect and gather in traditional spaces and celebrate our most sacred days together,” said Rabbi Ben Berger, Hillel International Vice President for Jewish Education. “We’re glad to have partners at Reboot to create this experience for combating physical and spiritual isolation during the High Holidays. There’s never been something like this and we’re excited to bring Jewish students together in the vibrant, powerful and sacred livestream.”
“Our hope is that by using Reboot’s methodology of reimagining our cherished traditions and rituals, our partnership with Hillel will produce a meaningful and engaging online High Holiday experience like no other, one that the students and Days of Awe deserve,” said Reboot CEO David Katznelson. “‘Higher Holidays’ is a perfect demonstration of how Reboot is reinventing the High Holidays experience for the moment that we are in.”
Using artistic vision and creative production resources, Reboot and Hillel are making this programming accessible in live streamed episodes that can also be accessed later so students and other viewers can worship at their own pace. The high-production value format allows for Jewish students to connect from anywhere and at their own pace, or for those who can gather virtually or in a socially distanced way to share the experience with others at their campus Hillel. Students and others looking to participate in Higher Holidays can sign up for access at: https://higherholidays.org/.