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High Holidays

Discovering meaning in the high holidays and alternative high holiday services

“Rosh Hashanah is about relationships. Whether between individuals and the God in whom they believe, communities and the traditions which define them, or simply between individuals, whether any God or tradition is part of their lives, it’s all about sustaining relationships which sustain us and help us do the same for others.” Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. 

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are meaningful, complicated, humbling, awe-inspiring holidays.  Come to one or more of our classes specifically designed to further your understanding of these days or to help you celebrate in alternative ways.  

The Power of Music During the High Holiday Season

Saturday evening, September 21 / After Havdalah, about 8:15 pm

Cantor Jamie Gloth

The Selichot service provides us with a time to begin to focus inwardly through a set of stirring liturgical poems and prayers asking for mercy and forgiveness. Through this service, we are reintroduced to the moving melodies of the High Holidays. Join Cantor Gloth as he explores traditional High Holiday melodies and musical motifs, and describes how they are used throughout the season. Prepare for the High Holidays through song and melody, and experience the beauty of this musical service. 

Overcoming the Impediments to Repentance: A Shabbat Shuvah Study Session

Shabbat, October 5 / After Kiddush, about 12 noon

Rabbi Carl Perkins

The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur has a special name: “Shabbat Shuvah.” “SHUva” in Hebrew means, “Return!” or, metaphorically, “Repent!” Appropriately enough, the word appears at the beginning of the haftarah recited on Shabbat Shuvah: “Shuva Yisrael! Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God!” (Hosea 14:2) As befits its name, the focus on Shabbat Shuvah is the theme of repentance. Traditionally, rabbis would give a discourse on that theme on Shabbat afternoon. In keeping with this tradition, in lieu of a sermon, Rabbi Perkins will lead a study session on Shabbat Shuvah devoted to this theme. All are welcome!

High Holiday Meditation Service

Second Day of Rosh Hashanah, October 1 / From 8:15 to 9 am

Naomi Litrownik, LICSW

For those seeking a different way of connecting spiritually on the High Holidays, we are offering a separate Meditation Service on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. The service is similar to that of our monthly Shabbat morning meditation group. We will rejoin the congregation during the Torah service (participants are welcome to reserve a seat in the sanctuary before the meditation starts). We welcome anyone with an interest in our meditation service; no prior experience is necessary! If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Naomi Litrownik at

Reflective Musaf Service

Second Day of Rosh Hashanah, October 1 / After the Torah service

As we have during the past few years, we will again be reciting a creative alternative to the traditional Musaf (additional service) liturgy on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. In lieu of the public repetition of the amidah (the standing prayer), our service will feature reflections, nigunim (wordless melodies), guided meditation, singing and silent prayer. All are welcome.

The Priestly Blessing and the High Holidays: A Deep Dive

David Bernat, Ph.D.

Birkat Kohanim, the Torah’s “Priestly Blessing,” found in Numbers 6:24-26, has had an important place in Jewish worship, both in communal and family settings. In our session, we will review the history of the prayer’s usage since antiquity. Then we will take a close look at its language and substance, with a special focus on the themes of God’s attention and grace. These themes are central to the Priestly Blessing and to the penitential traditions of the High Holidays.

Tuesday, April 7 2020 13 Nisan 5780