More people attend synagogue on Yom Kippur (observed this year from several minutes before sunset on Sunday, Sept. 27, to after nightfall on Monday, Sept. 28) than any day of the year, with people from all walks of Jewish life making a special effort to attend services when Yizkor, a prayer for departed loved ones, is said.

This year, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread through much of the world, many will be unable to attend synagogue on the Day of Atonement. While it is acceptable and proper to say Yizkor at home under these circumstances (the primary element of Yizkor is pledging tzedakah, something that can be done in any place at any time), it is understandable that many will miss the communal feel that comes from praying among fellow Jews, each of whom is connecting emotionally to the souls of their cherished family members.

To help fill that void, has prepared a pre-Yom Kippur Yizkor event that will feature a sermon led by Rabbi Yossy Goldman of Johannesburg, South Africa, Yizkor led by Cantor Aryeh Leib Hurwitz and soulful songs from well-known American Chassidic singer Benny Friedman. Speaking from South Africa, Rabbi Goldman's sermon will be pre-recorded.

During the pre-Yom Kippur program, the names of loved ones that have been submitted in advance will scroll across the screen, allowing everyone to acknowledge and share the feelings of others, geographically divided but spiritually close.

The program will also include a memorial for the Jewish victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, whose lives are remembered in the most comprehensive list to date of Jewish victims of COVID-19, published by Titled “Each Person, a World,” the memorial page contains more than 1,200 tributes to date.

The service will be broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 12 p.m EDT, 9 a.m. PDT, and can be accessed at

The program is among the many tools, texts and articles has released to help people prepare for celebrating Yom Kippur at home.