“It kind of feels like God should be asking us for forgiveness this year.”
So begins a promo video for “Sins, Stars, and Shofars,” a star-studded virtual Rosh Hashanah event created by JewBelong, an organization that aims to make “relevant, relatable Jewish resources and knowledge available to all.”
Much in the vein of “Saturday Night Seder” — the celebrity-laden Passover event that raised $2.6 million for CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Fund — this one-hour Jewish new year celebration will include skits, stories, humor, and more, presented by some of our most favorite Stars of David, including Gabrielle Carteris, Lisa Loeb, Richard Kind, Jill Kargman, Judy Gold, Alysia Reiner, and Melissa Rivers.
The virtual variety event includes comical take on the tradition of tashlich, when we cast away our sins into a body of water. We witness actor and Jewish dad O’Neal McNight and other stars cast away their sins into “bodies of water,” which includes an iPad playing the Hollywood blockbuster The Shape of Water and a blender filled with a “redemption smoothie.” (In other words: Jewish rituals are highly adaptable!)
Yes, there’s sarcasm about Judaism’s ancient and sometimes strange traditions — but it’s balanced by heartfelt reflections from celebs who hope to be better versions of themselves this coming year. Take, for example, Disney’s first Jewish princess (and The Sopranos star) Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who resolves to “be as kind to myself as I am to others.”
In this one-of-a-kind event within this unprecedented High Holiday season, JewBelong is centering the vital relationship between the Black and Jewish communities. The event itself will be a fundraiser for GlobalJews.org, or Be’chol Lashon — one of our favorite Jewish organizations, which amplifies the voices of Jews of Color and seeks to support racial justice within the Jewish community.
A meaningful moment comes from attorney and TV host Eboni Williams, a non-Jewish Black celebrity. “I’ve always had a personal, deep connection with the Jewish people, frankly, and I say that as a proud Black woman who sees such similarity in the experiences of Jewish people and of Black people,” she says. Williams says she feels particular solidarity in the “story of survival and thriving despite attempts to harm our people,” reminding us that we must continue to stand together, as our communities have a history of working together to bring forth social change.
So if you’re looking for some frank conversations about social justice and religious observance this Rosh Hashanah — along with the opportunity to laugh a little and contribute to a worthy cause — you can watch the event during its premiere on Erev Rosh Hashanah on Friday, September 18th at 7:30 p.m. It will also be available to stream throughout the High Holidays.
Header Image via JewBelong Event Page