Zoomchas: How to have a Simcha on Zoom.
How to get the most out of your online celebration.
The word “simcha” which is used to describe celebrations, actually means happiness. But happiness is hard when you show up to your grandparents’ house and they yell at you to stay away so you don’t kill them. It’s hard to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah when you can’t hug your family. It’s hard to have a wedding when people are trying to figure out how to lift you up on a chair from six feet away.
But we Jews don’t give up so easily. We’ve invented many innovative ways to celebrate virtually such as ZoomMitzvah, ZoomWedding or a ZoomMoyel for the Bris. And I am here to help you get the most out of your Zoomcha. I will show you how to host and how to be a guest at a Zoomcha.
Social Distancing Should Be Online Only
Social distancing in a hall doesn’t work for simchas.
Recently, I was one of the ten allowed legally at a wedding. They should’ve picked people better. If you can only have ten, you don’t invite a third cousin. The chuppah didn’t work either. The big question was, “Who’s holding up the canopy?” That was answered quickly by the rabbi, “Nobody!” We wanted to have a safe wedding even if the canopy would fall down and take out all of the wedding participants with it.
At least the rabbi got in a good joke, “After the wedding, I am going to ask the husband and wife to stay away from each other for fourteen days.”
Being a Guest at the Zoomcha
You should be wearing a jacket, tie and shorts. Zoomchas are celebrated from the waist up. You wasted money on those new fancy colorful socks. You’re fifty years old! Even your teenage son looks foolish with the tight high pants and the zigzag brown, red, yellow, purple, fluorescent green socks.
Tip Your Webcam When You Stand
Be ready for directions you shouldn’t be heeding. The rabbi asked people to stand for the Bar Mitzvah boy to open the ark and we saw a lot of shorts and pajamas. Don’t fall for any service cues online. This isn’t Simon Says. You don’t have to follow direction. You never followed directions in shul before so there is no reason to start now.
Eat the Food in Your House
Another essential component to all Simchas is eating. The kids are there, family is around. It’s time to pull out the pasta you made last week. No Zoomcha is complete without spaghetti and cottage cheese leftovers. While you’re at home, open up the pantry for all to see the deal you found on matzah farfalle.
Dance with a Hand Raise
The Jewish hand raise dance is a crucial centerpiece of all Jewish celebration. But you should just know that if you dance while holding your phone we will all get an excellent view of your ear canal. Let’s hope you are fastidious in your Q-tip usage.
Show Your Blank Screen
Do not leave the meeting. There is no reason to be rude and let the Bar Mitzvah boy know you don’t care about him. This isn’t shul. You don’t have to abandon him in the middle of his reading. Just leave your screen on. You can head to the kitchen for snacks and they’ll never know you are in another room actually having a good time.
Be Sure to Mute Yourself
You’re the ones we hear fighting! The mic picks it up from the kitchen. And yes we agree, your child should throw out the garbage every once in a while. But why do you need to remind him when Chaim is putting the ring on Malkie?
How to Host Online
If you’re spending money and renting out a ballroom that people can’t sit in, you don’t understand virtual reality well enough. I understand that there are rules for how to make a Simcha and catering is key. However, it’s quite hard to ensure that the roast is hot by the time it gets to your cousins out in Oakland. Even so, you must thank them for coming to the Zoomcha from all the way out there. Thanking family that doesn’t live next to you is tradition even if it doesn’t make sense anymore.
On the bright side, you now have money for a nice vacation to visit the cousins in Oakland.
Light the Candles Online
It is safer this way. I have seen many grandparents with shaky hands. I always get scared when the Bar Mitzvah boy and his Bubby light a candelabra together, not knowing where it’s going to end up. I would rather Bubbie have trouble turning on her video camera at the Zoomcha than light the Bar Mitzvah boy’s suit on fire.
Mute Everybody for the Speeches
You don’t want to hear what your guests are saying at the tables during the speeches. If you ever heard that, you would’ve made the decision long ago not to invite these ingrates. For your Zoomcha, you don’t have to hear them whispering “Now this one is talking?!” from their homes.
You also don’t need to hear families fighting. That is inevitable. If you didn’t separate families before your Zoomcha, and ensure separate screens in different rooms, garbage disagreements will happen.
Better yet, mute the one giving the speech. Mute all. That will bring happiness to your Zoomcha.
Link the Registry
Like any good Youtube video where they tell you to subscribe, constantly remind the people you invited to check out the link for the registry. Text it throughout the ZoomMitzvah and ZoomWedding, and then tell them where to click. Forget about not feeding them, you guilt them into getting your child the new refrigerator. There is no reason to have them at the ZoomWedding if they’re getting you appliances.
Let’s keep Online Zoomchas after the social distancing. It is the only way we can be there and get our errands done at the same time.