About Services

At Beth El, we seek to provide multiple doorways into Jewish tradition, practice and community. In this season, we are especially attentive to creating feelings of welcome and comfort for everyone who joins us. With this goal in mind, we have reinvigorated our Early Service. The descriptions below apply to our sanctuary services on Rosh Hashanah morning, Kol Nidre (Yom Kippur evening) and Yom Kippur morning; for Rosh Hashanah evening, as we have in previous years, we offer a single service. All Beth El services include English and Hebrew, combining honored traditional prayers with inspirational modern texts. Congregational singing and participation are a core part of our practice. Rabbi Yoel Kahn, Rabbi Rebekah Stern, and Cantor Elaya Jenkins Adelberg officiate at all sanctuary services and are joined by volunteer readers, instrumentalists, service leaders and singers. Our machzor (High Holy Day prayer book) includes English transliteration of all Hebrew prayers.

New This Year

Early Services feature familiar and participatory music; rhythm, guitar, piano and other instruments; a short d’rash (sermon) or text study; and opportunities for structured interactions between participants. Everyone is welcome to attend the Early Services which are 75–90 minutes in duration.

Late Services feature the special melodies and nusach (musical mode) of the High Holy days; participatory and majestic music (with selective professional piano accompaniment); the participation of the Beth El volunteer chorus; congregant reflections (on Rosh Hashanah morning); and rabbinic drashot (sermons). Everyone is welcome to attend the Late Services which are customarily 90–120 minutes (or a little more) in duration.

Here is the full schedule of services!

High Holy Day Meditation
Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur
10:15 am–11:30 am
“The righteous of old would pause for an hour before their prayer.” (Mishnah Berakhot 5:1)
Enter and deepen the mood and experience of these sacred days with a time for stillness. Jewish meditation teacher Rabbi Margie Jacobs leads a pre-service gathering with chant, meditation, text and—mostly—silence. Regardless of whether you are a veteran meditator or entirely new to Jewish contemplative practice, these gatherings are open to everyone. Out of respect to others, please arrive promptly. You are welcome to bring a cushion; chairs will be provided. Each session will conclude with an optional, personal writing reflection.


Other Observances & Celebrations

Monday, September 30, 4:30 pm 
(Rosh Hashanah Afternoon)
Gather in Beth El courtyard; walk together to Live Oak Park  
Tashlich is the medieval custom of “casting our transgressions into the depths of the sea” (or at least a trickling creek which flows into the Bay which flows into the sea). A joyful and contemplative communal gathering, Tashlich concludes the observance of Rosh Hashanah day. We will gather in Live Oak Park where we will sing, reflect and empty our pockets and hearts of the dust and detritus of the prior year as we toss pebbles into the water. Everyone is welcome to participate! Tashlich will follow the conclusion of the Rosh Hashanah Family Service.

Sangria in the Sukkah–Libations, Lulav, Etrog and Celebration!
Sunday, October 13 
Reception & Fun for all ages  5:00 pm 
Dinner in the Sukkah 6:00 pm 
Sukkot celebrants of all ages are invited for a festive schmooze outside under the oak trees. While adults mix and mingle, crafts will be available for young children. We gather in the sukkah at 5:30 for singing, waving the lulav and etrog and a special blessing for new members followed by a delicious catered dinner.  RSVP for dinner in advance online.

Simchat Torah Outdoor Block Party!
Monday, October 21 
5:30 pm Dinner
6:15 pm Simchat Torah Celebration
7:00 pm Adult Torah Learning with Rabbi Kahn
Our High Holy Day season goes out with a bang, as we celebrate reading the last few verses of the Torah in Deuteronomy and start right back up again with the first few verses of Genesis. Join us for an outdoor evening celebration complete with dinner, libations, singing and dancing under the open sky—we'll even unroll the whole Torah! This joyful conclusion of our High Holy Day season is open to all and will conclude with a special Torah learning session for adults and teens led by Rabbi Kahn. RSVP for dinner in advance online.


Becoming a More Welcoming Community

Our goal – and self-description – at Beth El is that we are a kehillah kedoshah: a sacred, inclusive and welcoming synagogue and community. Yet some who come to Beth El – especially People of Color, among others – have experienced being mislabeled, patronized, profiled, or subjected to inappropriate assumptions or questions. We all want to be fully welcoming and welcomed at Beth El.

Here are five things to keep in mind:

1. Avoid making assumptions about another person’s gender identity, sexual orientation, religious identity, Jewish background, race, or reasons for joining us.
2. Respect a person’s identity and self-label, and respect a person’s chosen name and pronouns.
3. Refrain from commenting on whether someone looks Jewish or not.
4. Avoid assuming that people want to speak about their identity, particularly when their identity is different from yours. Engage in conversation about interests rather than identities.
5. Do not expect another person to become your resource on understanding their identity.
So how do you begin a conversation? Here are five High Holy day conversation starters:

1. Introduce yourself. Say “L’shanah tovah!”
2. What are you looking forward to in this New Year?
3. Was there a part of the service (the music? the liturgy? the teaching?) that especially spoke to you?
4. How are you observing the holy days this year?
5. How did you get connected to Beth El?  


כִי בֵיתִי בֵית־תְפִלָה יִקָרֵא לְכָל־הָעַמִים׃

For My House shall be called “A house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)

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Click here for full information packet in .pdf format.