Creating a Sacred Space at Home
While we are faced with celebrating High Holy Days within the walls of our homes, consider taking time to create a sacred space within your home to experience the livestreamed or recorded services. Even if it is a brief service experience, it is worthwhile to transform a part of your home into a makom kadosh, a sacred space. What could this look like?
Creating the Space:
- Try to face east – Try to face east- mark the wall with a Jewish symbol, consider printing out a mizrach or other Jewish symbol.
- Make sure everyone is comfortable, using special pillows or throws. If possible, connect your computer to your tv so you have a larger screen.
- Perhaps have fresh flowers, put a table cloth over the platform for your screen, create a visual that brings the holiday into your space with meaningful objects – a shofar, family pictures, candlesticks, etc.
How to Sanctify Your Space:
In Judaism intention and mental presence play an important role in prayer and action:
- Set the space “apart” from the rest of the room or house by inhaling, exhaling and then reciting one of the following when you sit in your space for the service (or contact Cantor Liz for other suggestions).
- How good are your tents, O Jacob, Your sacred places, O Israel! (Numbers 24:5)
- Indeed, the place on which you stand is holy ground. (Exodus 3:5)
- Blessed are You Adonai, who separates between holy and ordinary. (the end of Havdalah)
How to Show Up in Your Sacred Space:
- Wear special clothes!
- If it is your custom to buy something new for Rosh Hashanah to wear at the synagogue, or to what would have been a family meal, then keep up the custom.
- Don’t forget your tallit and kippah.
How to Act in Your Sacred Space – Participate!
- You are in a service – sing along, say amen, stand up, dance, be seated, etc. It may feel awkward at first, but you are joined by everyone in their homes doing it as well. Try to see through your walls to the others you know who would be there in the rows around you at the synagogue.
- Have the machzor in your hand, read the commentary on the sides of the pages, stay engaged in the service.
- If you find yourself unable to focus on the service, consider reading the booklet that can be found here.
Thanks to Cantor Matt Axelrod and his blog entry, Turning Your Home into a Sacred Space, and Rabbi Elyse Goldstein’s Mikdash M’at suggestions.