High Holy Days Preparation

Navigating the High Holidays

Elul, the Hebrew month before Rosh Hashanah, is a month of spiritual preparation for the coming “Days of Awe.” This year, Beth El is offering a series of classes and programs to deepen our personal and spiritual engagement with the High Holy Days and their themes. There are opportunities for text study, learning, reflection, and sacred conversation. You are invited to attend any of these sessions; they are open to everyone, regardless of background, prior experience or preparation.

Navigating the High Holy Days: Themes & Melodies

Thursday, August 29, 7:30 pm at Beth El (repeats Saturday, September 7 at the Shabbaton)
Join Rabbi Rebekah Stern and Cantor Elaya Jenkins-Adelberg for a workshop that maps the major themes and melodies of the High Holy Day season, beginning with Elul (the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah) and ending with Sh’mini Atzeret (the final day of Sukkot). Learning how the Holy Days build one upon the next and familiarizing ourselves with some of the recurrent melodies will deepen our experiences during this reflective, joyful—and sometimes overwhelming—season.

Navigating the High Holy Days: A Journey of Transformation

Saturday, August 31, 1:30–3:00 pm (repeats Saturday, September 7 at the Shabbaton)
Tuesday, October 1, 1:30–3:00 pm, following 2nd Day Rosh Hashanah services 
Saturday, October 5, 1:30–3 pm, Shabbat Shuvah
Wednesday, October 9, 2:30–3:45 pm, Yom Kippur afternoon

Join Rabbi Yoel Kahn and fellow congregants in a series of spiritual conversations in preparation for the High Holy Days. Beginning with the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) of Elul and continuing through Yom Kippur, these sessions are opportunities to learn from the richness of the Jewish tradition and from one another in order to deepen our understanding, observance and engagement with this sacred season. Sessions draw from Rabbi Alan Lew’s This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation and other sources, old and new. Each session is independent; come to any program or to all.



S’lichot Program & Service: Unifying Our Personal and Communal Teshuvah

Saturday, September 21, 7:30 pm

The 5780 High Holy Day season begins with S'lichot, when we first hear the familiar and powerful words and melodies of the Yamim Nora'im—the High Holy Days. S’lichot is always observed on the Saturday evening the week before Rosh Hashanah. We begin with a dessert reception and a reflective program focused on the iterative processes of personal and communal teshuvah and tikkun (return and repair). We then mark the separation between Shabbat and the week ahead with havdalah, followed by the beautiful S'lichot service in the sanctuary, beginning with the changing of the Torahs’ mantles into their High Holy Day white, preparing us for our own season of transformation. Everyone is welcome.


Women's Gathering

Women's New Year Mikvah

Sunday, September 22, at 3:00 pm

Ready to wash away the last year before entering the new one? Join Rabbi Stern and Cantor Jenkins- Adelberg for a reflective and musical women's gathering and ritual immersion in the mayim chayim (living waters) of the Bay! We'll gather on the slip of sand just north of where the Ashby overpass meets the Frontage Road. (For ease of parking, it's best to approach from the north.) Click here for a map!

​Following shared singing and reflection, we'll enter the waters of the Bay for a ritual immersion. Wear your bathing suit under your clothes, bring a towel and warm layers—the water is cold! Note: the approach to the water requires climbing down some large rocks. This gathering is open to adults and teens who identify as female.

Additional Resources

Further resources for personal exploration and preparation for the High Holy Day season can be found on the High Holy Days pages of ReformJudaism.org, Judaismunbound.com, and MyJewishLearning.com.

Ticket registration is now open! Sign up online to join us!

Click here for full information packet in .pdf format.