An Explanation of The Temple’s High Holiday Programming for 2020

Shalom All,

COVID-19 has created a number of challenges and opportunities as we approach the High Holidays. This year, as you most likely have suspected, High Holiday services will be online. For a host of reasons, including concerns about internet reliability, complexity of coordinating multiple participants, and the quality of what we can provide, we have chosen to record the main services rather than doing them live.

Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Morning, Kol Nidrei, and Yom Kippur Morning services will be recorded in the weeks preceding the holidays and then made available on the holidays for you to watch at the time and place of your choosing. We will let everyone know how to watch the recordings as we get closer to the High Holidays. Yizkor and Neilah with Havdallah, the concluding services on Yom Kippur day, will be live online on Zoom and Facebook Live, in the same manner that we hold our Shabbat services currently. We also plan to hold some High Holiday events in person outside with masks and social distancing as you will see on the calendar below.

For the major services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, services will be based on the Mishkan HaNefesh prayerbook, our normal High Holiday prayerbook, copies of which will be made available for you to pick up at the Temple as the holidays approach. All of the in-person events below are subject to change both based on the weather and on changes in the COVID-19 situation as determined by the Temple leadership. In the case that we cannot meet outside, services will be moved online or rescheduled for a later date. They will not be moved inside.


If you do not have access to the internet or necessary technology needed to access our services and are interested in doing so, please reach out to us at the Temple and we will do our best to help to determine ways to make that possible. We know that this year is both difficult and challenging. It also is affording us the opportunity to approach the holidays is new ways and we hope that you will find them enjoyable and meaningful. We are doing our very best to bring you the best holiday experiences that we can.


September 12 at 7 pm – Slichot – Online Live

Our Slichot program will be live online on Zoom and Facebook Live starting at 7 pm. We will watch a program about Jews in Medieval Art, followed by a bit of discussion, and then a brief Slichot service will follow.


September 13 – Kever Avot – Visiting The Cemetery – OUTSIDE IN-PERSON

At 12:15 pm, we will gather at Woodland Cemetery for a brief memorial service.

At 1 pm, we will gather at Jewish Glendale Cemetery for the community memorial service. Social distancing will be required along with masks and we will spread out in the cemeteries.


September 18 – Erev Rosh Hashanah – Recording posted in the afternoon

This year, our Erev Rosh Hashanah Service will be set in a different context than a normal Zoom Service, but which maintains the High Holiday experience. Because we will be celebrating in our homes, we have the opportunity to add some ways of celebrating the New Year that we would not normally be able to do. This year, our service will be more of a celebration, allowing families to celebrate the holiday with a festive meal as well as wine or grape juice to celebrate the sweetness of the holiday, similar to the way that we held Passover Seders this year. You will have the ability to watch it over the course of the evening, pausing for a meal, or to watch straight through and have more of a normative service experience. [Best viewed with your favorite wine or grape juice at the ready!]


September 19 – Rosh Hashanah Morning – Recording posted in the morning

On Rosh Hashanah morning, we encounter many of the most traditional elements of the holiday: the Torah reading, the Shofar service, and the solemn prayers for the Days of Repentance. Our Rosh Hashanah morning service will be a somewhat abbreviated version of the normal service, but will contain all of the normal service elements.


September 19 at 4 pm – Combination Tashlikh – Family Service – Shofar Service

OUTSIDE IN-PERSON We plan to hold a Tashlikh service which will include additional elements from our Rosh Hashanah Family service and the Full Set of Shofar Calls. We will, of course, be outside, near the water, at Raccoon River Park, socially distanced, exact location to be determined, and wearing masks.



September 25 at 6 pm – Shabbat Shuvah Healing Service – Online Live

Our Shabbat service will use the Connections service booklet and including much of the liturgy from the Healing service normally held on Yom Kippur Afternoon. The service will be live online on Zoom and on Facebook Live.


September 26 at 9 am – Shabbat Shuvah Morning Torah Study and Service – Online Live

Shabbat morning Torah study at 9 am will include the reading of the Book of Jonah along with the Haftarah Blessings. At 10 am, we will have our regular brief Shabbat morning service. The Torah study and service will be live online on Zoom and on Facebook Live.


September 27 – Kol Nidrei – Recording posted in the afternoon

Our Kol Nidrei service will be slightly shorter than normal, but include all of the traditional elements.


September 28 – Yom Kippur Morning – Recording posted in the morning

Our Yom Kippur Morning service will be slightly abbreviated as well, but include all of the normal morning service elements including the Torah and Haftarah.


September 28 at 5 pm – Yizkor and Ne’ilah/Concluding Services – Online Live

Yizkor and Ne’ilah will be held live on Zoom and Facebook Live. The Yizkor service will include the traditional reading of the names of all those who died in the past year. The concluding service will also include Havdallah and we hope that you will join us with your glowsticks as we celebrate the end of the fast day.


October 2 – Erev Sukkot – OUTDOOR IN-PERSON or Online Live

We plan to hold an outdoor in-person Erev Sukkot Shabbat service at the Temple. We will open both sides of the Sukkah to allow people to walk through the Sukkah, one family at a time, so that they can say the blessings and wave the lulav and Etrog in celebration of the holiday. If weather is bad, we will be online.


Shanah Tovah!