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Behind The Scenes of The Shofar Blast

08/03/2020 08:37:59 AM


by Ariela Freedman

Dear Friends,
Tekiyah! Greetings from behind the scenes at CBH High Holy Days Central! As we pivot High Holy Days to an online 10 day festival, I want to share what's going on from my point of view as the Project Manager. 
I grew up doing community theater. I spent most of my time on stage, but I also painted sets, ran lights, and worked in the box office. After several years, I thought I’d had a good handle on everything that happened both on and off stage. It wasn’t until I started stage managing that I realized that the details I’d been paying attention to in my other roles had layers of decisions behind them that got made months before they’d ever been on my radar. I felt like I’d suddenly been let into the backstage of the backstage!
Being the Project Manager for our CBH High Holy Days feels like a similar experience. I know the backstage of being in the chorus – the months of learning seemingly impossible new songs, the intense weeks of re-adjusting to the space in St. Bart’s, and the days of trying to find the most comfortable (yet fashionable) shoes, as well as procuring a stash of one’s favorite cough drops. Yes, this the backstage I know well as a chorus alto.
Then there’s the backstage of that backstage – this new landscape I am learning as your High Holy Days Project Manager. I never thought about someone needing to come up with a theme for the year, or how everything (marketing materials, musical choices, and service and programmatic offerings) needed to align with that theme. I never knew how that theme came from deep reflections on where we are in the world and what our community needs most right now. I didn’t know about the varied needs of our community, nor had I thought much about our budget. I hadn’t thought about mailings or technology or even the logistics of our food donation program. We are fortunate to have such inspiring, hard-working rabbis, staff, and volunteers that make all of this look effortless, and I am thankful to get to work with and learn from each of them. 
Now, add on the unique challenges of Covid-19… On top of regular High Holy Day planning, this year we have additional concerns, such as: How do we find ways to connect socially and emotionally while also ensuring everyone’s physical health and safety? How do we make music together and hear each other’s voices? How do we ensure everyone knows how to use our online platforms? How do we see our friends and make new friends? As a public health professional, a singer, an educator, and someone who deeply loves our CBH community, these are the questions that keep me up at night.
When I read through your responses on the survey (thank you to the 92 people who took time to fill it out!), I got a little teary. This has been such a hard year in every direction, and I feel in my bones how much we are all looking for ways to connect and heal – together. Please know that all of us are committed to finding creative ways to make that happen.
You’ll see more emails soon about ways you can volunteer. We will need artists and writers of all ages, people to help assemble things, people to deliver things, and more. Whether your seat is backstage, onstage, or in the house, we are counting on your positive energy, your love, and your willingness to co-create these High Holy Days with us.
With much love,


Wed, August 17 2022 20 Av 5782