A Ritual Guide for Virtual Services

Rabbi Sam Blustin wrote a Guide To Virtual Tefillah. Especially in times of social and personal change, prayer has the potential to be transformational - if we approach prayer intentionally from a perspective of values and needs. This is no less true or possible in virtual services. His goal in this guide was to explore, through the lenses of ritual and gathering theory, how to elevate our online prayer gatherings to make them feel a little more holy and a little more meaningful. The suggestions, examples, and questions offered come from leading prayer for various established and experimental communities over the last several months, as well as interviews with several clergy and analysis of dozens of livestreamed services from communities of various sizes and denominations across the US.

The guide is shared on Google docs with comment permission. Sam's hope is for this to be a living document, and for his ideas and questions to spur a conversation about how to pray deeper and more meaningfully online. Please comment with your own examples, questions, disagreements, and anything else you might think is important to add to this discussion.

Thank you to Rabbi Jan Uhrbach for her guidance and feedback in the writing of this guide.