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High Holy Days at Congregation Beth Israel - 2021


Beginning on Rosh Chodesh Elul (August 8) the blasts of the shofar heralded the new year and each day continues to call us to the task of looking inward as we prepare to do teshuvah – to repent, to return, to make positive change. Our services during these Days of Awe (Yamim Nora’im) gather the entire community together to engage with this important spiritual work.

This year we find the metaphor of opening gates particularly poignant: after more than a year of forced seclusion and fear, the blessings of modern science and public health initiatives have enabled us to reopen and return to many of the communal activities of our inherited tradition. Still, our dedication to the preservation of life and health requires that our return and reopening be gradual and cautious, so we are still considering the safest ways to observe the larger High Holy Days gatherings this year (Rosh Hashanah day 1 morning, Erev Yom Kippur, and Yom Kippur morning).

Here are some highlights about how our observances of the Days of Awe will unfold this year; scroll down for the schedule and links to register for in-person services and events.

Prayer Package pickup: Last year we invited you to come to BI to pick up “prayer packages” - bags containing a variety of items for use during the High Holy days (including a Machzor, honey straws, apples, a Yahrzeit candle, Shabbat/holiday candles, blessings, instructions for use of the materials and return of the Machzor, and a message from the rabbis). That opportunity was well received, and we will once again distribute “prayer packages,” along with this year’s Yizkor book, which can be picked up at BI on Sunday August 29, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Tuesday August 31, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., when volunteers will be under the portico entrance to distribute them. These package pickup days will also be opportunities for you to contribute nonperishable food items for the Social Action Committee’s holiday food drive (see enclosed information).

In person services: We know already that there will be several opportunities to worship together in person. The possibility of and conditions (attendance limits, masking, distancing, signup) for worship in the sanctuary will in all cases depend on guidance from the COVID committee, so watch your email and check the website for updates about the status and conditions of in person services. All indoor services will be livestreamed via Zoom, so if you aren’t able to attend in person you will at least be able to observe.

  • On Erev Rosh Hashanah (Monday evening, September 6), services will be in person in the sanctuary.
  • Weather permitting, a combined Tashlich and shofar service will be held [location TBD] on Tuesday afternoon, September 7 at 4:00 pm, after the conclusion of that morning’s services (which will be by Zoom).
  • Services on the second day of Rosh Hashanah (Wednesday, September 8) will also be in person, in the sanctuary.
  • Finally, the afternoon and Ne’ilah services at the conclusion of Yom Kippur will be held in the sanctuary.

Request guest tickets

I want to participate!

For up-to-date information about this year’s High Holy Days, including the schedule, look for emails and check back on this webpage. Questions and concerns can be addressed to Laura Lee Blechner and Larry Hamermesh.

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing all of you, at least on a screen, very soon!
See the Essential High Holy Days Links section for important links and information.

RSVP for Events: 

Registration required if attending events in person

Zoom links will be sent by email and are here for members

Selichot Program and Services (on Zoom)

Saturday, August 28 at 8:30 pm

Prayer Package Pickup & SAC Food Collection (BI drive in)

Sunday, August 29 10:30 am - 1:30 pm
Tuesday, August 31 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Rosh Hashanah

Sign up: Monday, September 6 at 5:30 pm (sanctuary and zoom)
Sign up: Tuesday, September 7 at 10:00 am (Zoom only)
Sign up: Tuesday, September 7 at 4:00 pm Outdoor Shofar & Tashlich Event for Tots, Teens & the Whole Community with Rabbi Linda & Rabbi Nathan
Sign up: Wednesday, September 8 at 10:00 am Creative Rosh Hashanah experience (sanctuary and Zoom)

Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 evening at 7:00 pm including Kol Nidre (Zoom only)
Thursday, September 16:
Family Service 9:00 am (Zoom only)
Morning Service 10:00 am, with Yizkor service at 12:00 pm (Zoom only)
Sign up: Drumming at 3:00 pm (Outside at BI)
Healing Service at 4:30 pm (Zoom only)
Sign up: Mincha/afternoon service with Avodah & Martyrology at 5:30 pm (sanctuary and Zoom)
Sign up: Neilah/closing service at approx 7:00 pm (sanctuary and Zoom)


Sukkah Building Sunday, September 19 at 9:00 am (adults & teens please)
Sign up: Open Tent Sukkot Community event Sunday, September 19
Thursday, September 23 and Monday, September 27 at 8:30 am Joyful singing of Hallel at our Weekday Spiritual Practice Zooms
Sign up: Friday, September 24 at 7:30 pm Shabbat Services & Oneg with Rabbi Nathan (outside in sukkah)
Sign up: Friday, September 24 at 8:30 pm Optional Beer Tasting ($15/adult)

We've canceled this year's beer tasting (a perennial favorite) due to COVID-19. We are disappointed, but want to keep our members and guests healthy, and we look forward to seeing you next year. L'shana tovah!

Simchat Torah

Sign up: Monday, September 27 at 6:30 pm Sanctuary or Outside TBD
Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyyar 5784