November 17, 2020

Temple Israel of Minneapolis Modernizing Worship

Rabbi Tobias Divack Moss and Temple Israel of Minneapolis harness Singular to make overlays their primary means of sharing prayer text with congregants during their live stream services.  While many other synagogues have continued to remotely distribute prayer text through physical or PDF prayerbooks, Temple Israel of Minneapolis has found that displaying the Hebrew prayer text and English translations over live streamed services improves the remote worship experience.

Rabbi Moss says Singular works perfectly in their two production set-ups styles: more traditional live streaming with overlays on the broadcast and 750+person zoom meetings in which all clergy can display prayer text in sync with one another on their own webcams (with an OBS virtual camera setup). For their High Holy Days service, Temple Israel used Singular overlays over top of live synagogue video, live remote clergy content and pre-recorded clips.  Amongst other various streams, they utilized Singular for their Rosh HaShanah Morning Zoom which had a whopping 750 attending households.

Rabbi Moss says It can be hard in any software to use Hebrew and English simultaneously, since the left-to-right vs. right-to-left orientation is challenging. An additional challenge is that the font size in Hebrew vs English is not standardized. Due to these hurdles, Rabbi Moss developed several custom overlays that are split to have two or three text entry positions (one for Hebrew, one for Transliteration in italics and one for English translation). This approach works well for his congregation and allows him to maximize font size/readability for Hebrew and English characters.

As for live production during worship, he has trained 4 staff members as overlay operators. For most services, they have been remotely located and operate the overlays live from home. They occasionally have multiple services simultaneously and operators are able to successfully operate their own control apps for the needs of their respective shows.

Rabbi Moss says, "We got great feedback from our congregants, and continue to incorporate Singular into our weekly Shabbat Services. For Bar/Bat Mitzvah services (coming of age ceremonies), we now give a Singular/OBS-loaded laptop to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah families, so that they can lead from home, with the prayers displayed alongside."

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