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High Holy Day 2020/5781 Videos

The Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur morning services for 5781 are now available for rewatching on YouTube:

High Holy Days 2020/5781

We hope you will join us this year in celebrating the High Holy Days with Beth Tikvah Congregation via Livestream and Zoom.  Creating a meaningful, inspiring and memorable experience is among our highest priorities.

The online services will include the leadership of Rabbi Taron Tachman and Cantorial Leader Ilana Axel along with the participation of our choir, musicians, and congregation members.

All members in good standing will receive the electronic links automatically via email. No registration is needed.  Members who want to invite their extended family to worship with us can register them below and offer a donation from the heart to the High Holy Day Fund, as we are not selling tickets this year.

Friends and guests who want to attend our BTC High Holy Day services also can register below and offer a donation from the heart to the High Holy Day Fund, to receive access to our services.

Weather permitting, we are planning three in-person events on Rosh Hashanah Day.

Guest and Non-Member Registration Form

Yizkor Form/Book of Remembrance

Challah Order Form

Rosh Hashanah Flower Form

Printable Schedule

High Holy Days

The High Holy Days are known by a number of names. Some refer to this sacred time in the Jewish calendar as the “High Holidays.” Others refer to period of time as “Days of Awe” or Yamim Noraim in Hebrew. Generally speaking, when people speak of the High Holy Days, they are specifically referring to two of the holiest days of the year: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These two holy days bookend the Ten Days of Repentance (Aseret Yemei Teshuvah in Hebrew) and tend to be the congregational worship services which attract the most participants. 

The High Holy Days are periods of introspection and prayer. Our worship invites us to look inward and reflect on our past year, learning from our mistakes, righting those whom we may have wronged, reconnecting with God and the people in our lives, and pledging to improve ourselves and our world. Our services are filled with prayers and songs, as well as rituals which unite us as a sacred community and as family and friends.

In Jewish tradition, the Hebrew month Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days and the days and additional Holy Days that follow are of great importance. Here, you will find general information and additional links regarding Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Guide to the High Holy Days for Interfaith Families

Details about each Holy Day

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Selichot, a Hebrew word meaning “forgiveness,” refers to the special penitential prayers recited by Jews during the High Holy Day season. The Selichot liturgy contains some of the finest Jewish religious poetry ever composed. Reform congregations usually observe Selichot on the Saturday night just prior to Rosh Hashanah - a solemn and fitting preparation for ten days of reflection and self-examination. At Beth Tikvah, our evening of Selichot worship and study takes place on the Saturday night immediately preceding the first night of Rosh Hashanah, dependent upon which day of the week Rosh Hashanah begins. Please view our Calendar to determine its exact date.

Selichot - with its haunting music lead by our choir, and with penitential prayers - is intended to instill a mood of anticipation that serves as a prelude to the sacred themes of the Days of Awe. Each year our worship service is preceded by a short, engaging study session, as well as a dessert reception. The evening concludes with the blast of the shofar which urges participants to reflect upon their lives and to initiate desirable life changes. Our Selichot Services and study sessions are open to all and we hope you will consider joining us for this moving and inspirational night of prayer, introspection and study.

Learn more about Selichot

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah literally means “Head of the Year,” and refers to the celebration of a new Jewish year. This holiday, on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, and provides an opportunity for each of us to examine our actions from the preceding year through prayer. Rosh Hashanah is a joyous and meaningful holiday celebrated by special customs, such as gathering together as a sacred community, sounding the shofar, and eating apples and honey and round challah.

Learn more about Rosh Hashanah


After the conclusion of services on the First Day of Rosh Hashanah, our congregation participates in a ritual called Tashlich. Tashlich means “to cast or throw.” It is a tradition on Rosh Hashanah to go to a river or a stream to symbolically cast our sins into the water. The key passage in this ceremony, which sometimes involves throwing pocket lint or bread crumbs into the water, is from Micah 7:19: “God will have compassion upon us: God will subdue our iniquities and you will cast (tashlich) all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Metaphorically, as the eyes of fish never close, so God always watches for our sins to be cast away. The service and songs are appropriate for members of all ages.

Shabbat Shuvah

Shabbat Shuvah - the "Shabbat of Returning" - falls each year between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It's placement in our season allows us to focus on repentance, mindfulness, and renewal in a quiet way. At Beth Tikvah we create a warm atmosphere of calm and intimacy at this service; like a small - but nonetheless precious - jewel, placed in the crown of the royal pair of High Holy Days on either side. The start time and format for this service will align with our regular Shabbat worship calendar.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance. Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day of the Jewish year. In three separate passages in the Torah, the Jewish people are told, "the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: You shall practice self-denial" (Leviticus 23:27). Fasting is seen as fulfilling this biblical commandment. The Yom Kippur fast also enables us to put aside our physical desires to concentrate on our spiritual needs through prayer, repentance, and self-improvement.

Yom Kippur is the moment in Jewish time when we dedicate our mind, body, and soul to reconciliation with God, our fellow human beings, and ourselves. We are commanded to turn to those whom we have wronged first, acknowledging our sins and the pain we might have caused. At the same time, we must be willing to forgive and to let go of certain offenses and the feelings of resentment they provoked in us. On this journey we are both seekers and givers of pardon. Only then can we turn to God and ask for forgiveness: “And for all these, God of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement.”

Learn more about Yom Kippur

Tue, April 20 2021 8 Iyar 5781