About the High Holidays

About High Holidays at Home

We're sharing ways of celebrating the High Holidays - whether at-home, in community, or a combination!  However you choose to make this High Holiday season meaningful, we have everything you need to reflect, remember and connect.  Read more for a brief description of each of the holidays we're celebrating in the coming weeks. 

About Elul 
The Hebrew month of Elul is a time to reflect and spirutually prepare ourselves for the deep remembering and repairing of Rosh Hashanah. People observe this time by hearing the shofar, reciting psalms and doing a little spiritual accounting, thinking about what was good, challenging, beautiful and difficult in the past year. 

About Rosh Hashanah 
Literally, Rosh Hashanah translates to “Head of the Year,” and is a time for prayer, reflection, celebration and repentance. During Rosh Hashanah and in the 10 days leading up to Yom Kippur, we think about our actions in the past year and resolve to do better in the year to come. Doing better can take on many forms - apologizing to those we’ve wronged, confessing our sins, praying, giving to charity and working to repair our mistakes. Tashlich is a special Rosh Hashanah ritual where we visit a natural body of water and cast away our sins in the form of leaves or breadcrumbs. And because it wouldn’t be a Jewish holiday without food, we also celebrate by eating foods that are sweet and foods that are round to symbolize our wishes for a happy and full New Year.

About Yom Kippur 
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is considered the holiest, most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. People believe it is the day our fates are sealed for the coming year. To focus on prayer and repentance, people try to separate themselves from everyday concerns such as food. Some people like to wear white since on this day, we are like the angels. 

About Sukkot

Sukkot is a holiday with many dimensions. It's a time to remember our wandering in the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt. It's a time to reconnect with our agricultural roots and celebrate a bountiful harvest. It's a time to recognize how nothing is permanent. We construct a temporary dwelling, with a wide door to welcome ushpizin (guests) and a roof of natural materials that provides shade but lets in the starlight. We shake the branches of the lulav and an etrog fruit around our bodies to gather in the Divine. 

About Simchat Torah

Every Shabbat, we read a portion of the Torah, the First Five Books of the Bible. Simchat Torah marks the end of the annual cycle of reading the Torah and beginning again. It's a joyful holiday where we dance around with the Torah, a beloved treasure of wisdom and guidance.