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High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

plus Sukkot and Simchat Torah


Our High Holy Days services will be virtual this year: some via livestream some via Zoom. Technological support will be made available.  Contact our office at 847 446 7215 if you would like tech assistance...or if you would like to help someone else.

On the days of services, you can call our tech support number, 833 446 1818 and speak with Max who will guide you through the process.

Livestream services are open to our members and their guests.  Access will be available by clicking on an image on our website home page.

Zoom services are for our members only.  Access will be available by logging into our website and clicking on "Zoom programs" on the top navigation bar.  Or by sending an email to our Executive Director, Nancy Holab Nevins by clicking here.

Mikdash M'at - a Holy Place

With the current health pandemic, and restrictions on group gatherings, our kitchens have become our classrooms, our basements are our yoga studios, and the dining room has become our office. Where then, is our synagogue?

The rabbis asked this same question right after the destruction of the Temple. Without a localized place of worship, how could we pray together? We are the inheritors of their answer: our home would become our “mikdash m’at,” a miniature sanctuary, a holy place.

And for 2,000 years Jews have been doing just that turning our homes into sanctuaries. When we light Shabbat candles and say the Motzi we turn our Shabbat tables into a holy place, a small sanctuary. When we sit at the seder table, laden with ritual objects, we turn our home into a miniature sanctuary. And now this High Holiday season we face the challenge of turning our homes into a Sanctuary since we cannot gather together in person.

But for the first time in history it is not our dining room tables we turn into a sanctuary. We must create a sacred space at home while we are in front of our computers, on Zoom or live-streaming Am Yisrael services.

What can help us create a spiritual mindset and a spiritual refuge at home?

1. Choose your prayer space and start thinking about what it will feel like to daven in that place. Don’t wait for the last minute.

2. Once you have chosen your space, say a kavannah (“intention”) and blessing to mark it as your mikdash m’at. Here’s a suggestion:

וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתֹוכָֽם׃
V’asu li mikdash v’shkhanti b’tokham.
Make Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among you (Exodus 25:8).

מַה־טֹּ֥בוּ אֹהָלֶ֖יךָ יַעֲקֹ֑ב מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶ֖יךָ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
Mah tovu ohalekha Ya’acov, mishk’no-tekha Yisrael.
How good are your tents, O Jacob, Your sacred places, O Israel (Numbers 24:5)!

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, הַמַבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחוֹל.
Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bayn kodesh lechol. 
Blessed are You Adonai, who separates between holy and ordinary. 
May there be blessing and peace in this place.

3. Change where you put your computer from a work space to a contemplative space by covering the desk or table with a white cloth and placing a vase of flowers, apples and honey, and/or family photos nearby.

4. Make the chair(s) in your mikdash m’at special, with a cushion, festive pillow, or cloth that is meaningful to you.

5. Now, consider how to make your computer more like a “bimah.” 

  • Place the computer far enough away so that you are “watching” the screen more than “manipulating” it. 
  • Consider connecting your computer to a TV screen so it feels less like a work device.
  • Limit or disconnect auditory distractions. Turn off your email and text message alerts. Close your email program and other apps.

6. Dress for shul. Wear your kipah and tallit.

7. Be sure you have your machzor with you.

8. If it is a safe possibility, consider joining with some of your loved ones outdoors to view services together or to share a meal.

9. We are sending you a Rosh Hashana seder that will have readings and some rituals to do together. Consider inviting your family and friends to join you by zoom to share this Seder just as many of you did on Pesach.

10. Please know that while you are isolated, you are not spiritually alone. Jews are praying at home this year from Israel to Argentina from France to Uganda. We are part of a people that spans thousands of years and thousands of miles. We will get through this together.

Shana Tovah.

Get ready...

  • Renew your membership if you haven't already done so.  Click on the "Membership Renewal" tab on the top navigation bar on our home page.
  • We are not using the new Mahzor Lev Shalem this year as we announced prior to the pandemic.  If you need to borrow Mahzor Hadash ( the Mahzor we have been using for many years) from us, contact our office at 847 446 7215.
  • Sign up for a Zoom Room chat session with your friends or those who normally sit near you.  First day of Rosh Hashanah, Sat. Sept. 19 starting at 2:00 p.m.  You must register in advance, provide the email address you use to sign into Zoom, and who you wish to have in your Zoom Room chat session.  Click here.
  • Sign up to hear the Shofar sound at our building on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Sun. Sept. 20 starting at 2:30 p.m.  This will be a "drive in" format, masks and social distancing required.  Click here.
  • Sign up to visit the synagogue Sukkah on Sun. Oct. 4, from 9:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.  Two families/household groups will be scheduled at a time to join the Rabbi or Charlie in the Sukkah for a blessing, story and to visit.  Masks and distancing required.  Click here.

Get set...

We will provide suggestions for how to make your home a sacred space for the Holy Days.  See above for details.

We invite our members to express their thoughts on what Torah means to them, especially in the context of the current pandemic.  We will share these thought on Erev Simchat Torah.  We are looking for Torah readers for Simchat Torah morning as well.  If you wish to participate, please contact Charlie Sherman by clicking here.

Go...(service times, etc.)

  • Selichot Sunrise Services -now closed, wait list has been started
    Sun. Sept. 13

    6:00 a.m.
    Tower Road Beach in Winnetka
    Bring your own chair, t'fillin, tallit, flashlight.
    No breakfast served.
    All spaces are filled now.
    Masks and social distancing required.
  • Rosh Hashanah
    Fri. Sept. 18
    Erev Rosh Hashanah - 6:00 p.m. via Zoom

    Sat. Sept. 19
    Services Day 1 - 9:15 a.m. via livestream
             Tot Services - 9:15 a.m. led by Liz Belkind via Zoom
             Family Services -10:00 a.m. led by Charlie Sherman via Zoom

    Sun. Sept. 20
    Services Day 2 - 8:30 a.m. via Zoom
  • Special Rosh Hashanah Prayer Concert, featuring Yoel Sykes from Nava Tehila
    Sun. Sept. 20

    Day 2 Rosh Hashanah - 11:30 a.m. via Zoom following services at 8:30 a.m.
    Sponsored by the Lehmann Family in honor of Teri Lehmann's birthday and her love of Am Yisrael.
  • Yom Kippur 
    Sun. Sept. 27

    Kol Nidre - 6:00 p.m. via livestream
             Family Services - 6:00 p.m. led by Charlie Sherman via Zoom

    Mon. Sept. 28
    Yom Kippur morning services - 9:15 a.m. via livestream
             Tot Services - 9:15 a.m. led by Elana Carmel-Levy via Zoom
             Family Services - 10:00 a.m. led by Charlie Sherman via Zoom
    Yizkor - 12:30 p.m. approximately via livestream
    Speaker program - 2:00 p.m. Simcha Bob speaking on Jonah via Zoom
    Mincha - 5:30 p.m. led by Aaron Hoffman via Zoom
    Neilah - 6:30 p.m.via Zoom
  • Sukkot 
    Fri. Oct. 2

    Erev Sukkot - 6:00 p.m. via Zoom

    Sat. Oct. 3
    Morning services - 9:30 a.m. via livestream
  • Simchat Torah 
    Fri. Oct. 9

    Erev Simchat Torah - 7:00 p.m. via Zoom

    Sat. Oct. 10
    Morning services - 9:30 a.m. via Zoom includes Yizkor
Sun, September 27 2020 9 Tishrei 5781