In my family’s case, we were really impressed with how video conferencing, which can be so stressful in our daily work lives, enabled us to celebrate my father’s full life in a beautiful and moving way.
If you need to arrange a memorial service on a video platform, here are some tips.
We bought a one-month subscription to Zoom Pro (it’s currently $ 14.99 per month and you can cancel at any time). It allows up to 100 participants (other plans allow more at an additional cost) with unlimited meeting time and saves a recording in the cloud. We’re glad we did. If we had to limit the time of the event, we would have missed many moving contributions from the participants.
Identify someone who takes care of the logistics
Since I created the account, I was the de facto host of the meeting. In retrospect, I wish I had passed the role to my 17-year-old daughter, a digital native. The tasks include picking up people from the waiting room. Mute all microphones as needed; Muting the official or other speakers; Troubleshooting technical problems; Support of guests; and forward messages to family members in the chat box. Introduce the tech host at the beginning of the service so people know who to turn to for help.
Familiarize yourself with the platform settings
The back end of video sharing platforms has settings that can be difficult if you’re new to them, especially if it’s an emotional event. The host can go over the toggle switches in advance to find out how to mute people as they enter, or activate the waiting room. This security feature keeps guests in a queue until the host allows it.
Who will lead?
Our virtual memorial succeeded in part because the rabbi was not distracted from the trouble inexperienced zoomers had at the beginning when they muted themselves. When the service passed into Shiva, my mother moderated – greeted the people and made sure that everyone who wanted to offer a memory had the opportunity.
Schedule a trial run to anticipate problems
Schedule one or more short hours of practice to solve problems and make sure you are on the same page regarding different roles. Some of the attendees at our event were complete novices to Zoom who feared not to miss the laudatory speech and knew they were holding up the program when they tried to mute it as requested. We recommend giving guests tips on logging in and out. Muting and unmuting; Switch screen views; and using the chat function – either together with the invitation or on request prior to the event. Don’t assume everyone will connect to current devices.
We sent an email to notify friends and relatives of my father’s death and the Zoom event, including a link and a password. Each of our family members has compiled and distributed their own lists. You can also use Zoom to send email invitations.