Walk to Shul With Your Friends: Introducing Sidebar

Do you miss mingling with people at kiddush? Saying Shanah Tovah to your neighbors as you settle into your seat in the Sanctuary? We know that nothing can replace those in-person exchanges, but we’ve found a way to get a little closer! During the High Holy Days, we’ll be using a platform called Sidebar, which allows for more mingling and spontaneous conversation than Zoom. There will be Sidebar sessions for BJ members before and after each Rosh Hashanah service, before Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur morning, and after Ne’ilah into Break-fast. Current members will receive the links before Rosh Hashahah.

New to Sidebar? We all are! It’s a brand new technology, not even released to the public yet, and we are fortunate to be among the synagogues given the chance to use it this High Holy Days season.

Check out this User Guide, and read through the FAQs below to get oriented.

Sidebar FAQs

What is Sidebar and How does it work?

Sidebar is a new technology developed by a nice Jewish boy from New York who wanted to help his parents socialize at kiddush like they used to before the pandemic. It’s still in development, so a few bugs are still being worked out. We’re excited to be an early user, and to help improve the technology. We will have BJ staff or volunteers ‘hosting’ each Sidebar sessions in case you need help. View a demo.

I am no good at technology. Can I use this?

Yes! Sidebar is super simple to use, and there will be BJ staff and others there to help you.

Do I need to buy or download anything?

No! Sidebar is free for you to use, and you don’t have to download any software.

Can I join the Sidebar from my tablet or mobile phone?

Sidebar is best used on a laptop or desktop, but is accessible on tablets. It’s not currently designed to be used on mobile phones.

Cantor David Mintz

Written By Cantor David Mintz

Cantor David Mintz serves as the director of the Center for Prayer and Spirituality at B’nai Jeshurun. He lives on the Upper West Side with his wife, Deborah and their son, Nadav.