On Sunday at sunset, Jews the world over will inaugurate the holiest and most festive season of the Jewish year.
The season begins with the Ten Days of Repentance, days devoted to self-examination, repentance and prayers for peace and well being for the world. The 10-day period is framed by Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which falls on the first day of the month of Tishrei on the Jewish calendar and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on the 10th of Tishrei.
Five days after Yom Kippur, the festive, weeklong harvest holiday Sukkot begins, followed by Simchat Torah, the holiday of Rejoicing with the Torah.
According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashana is also the birthday of the world. The Jewish year that begins on Sunday at sunset is 5780, the traditional reckoning of the year of Creation.
The highlight of Rosh Hashana observance is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, during the morning services of the holiday.
At Beth Hillel, a group of congregants who have learned the skill of blowing the shofar will join forces to make the wailing sounds come forth from all corners of the sanctuary. After the morning services, members will walk together to Lake Michigan at Eichelman Park to perform the ritual of Tashlich, ridding themselves of sins from the past year by throwing bread crumbs into the lake.
One of the themes of the holiday season is the color white for the purity of soul and intention that is sought during these days. All of the tables in the sanctuary and the Torah covers are changed to white for the duration of the holiday season.
A special ceremony is held in advance of the New Year to change the covers. The leaders of the service all dress in white and many congregants do as well.
Traditional foods for Rosh Hashana include apples dipped in honey for a “sweet year” and a round challah (egg bread), which looks like a crown, to symbolize the sovereignty of God. After its communal Tashlich ceremony, Beth Hillel congregants will return to the synagogue for apples and honey and honey cake, Rosh Hashana favorites.
Ten days later after Rosh Hashana, the community reconvenes for an intense day of prayer and fasting on Yom Kippur. Services of various types, meditation times, and various learning and discussion sessions are offered to enable members to stay at the synagogue all day, devoting themselves to prayers for forgiveness and personal reflection. The day concludes after sunset with a communal breaking of the fast.
Rabbi Dena Feingold will preside at the holiday services with Cantorial Soloist Orit Perlman of Haifa, Israel.
The fall holiday services schedule at Beth Hillel includes:
8 p.m. Eve of Rosh Hashana Services (requires pass; see note below). The Beth Hillel Leadership Council sponsors a reception after services.
9 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Family Services (requires pass; see note below); 10 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Shacharit (Morning) Services. The Ritual Committee offers a reception at the synagogue after a noon Tashlich ceremony at the lake.
8 p.m. Kol Nidre/Eve of Yom Kippur Services: Harpist Anne Morse Hambrock will play Kol Nidre before it is sung by Orit Perlman (requires pass; see note below).
10 a.m. Yom Kippur Shacharit (Morning) Services. (requires pass; see note below)
12:30, 1:30 and 2:30: Afternoon Options: Meditation; Discussion groups; study sessions, and more
2:30 p.m. Family Yom Kippur Service
3:30 p.m. Mincha (Afternoon); 4:50 p.m. Yizkor (Memorial) and 5:30 p.m. Ne’ilah (Concluding) services.
6:30 p.m. Community Breaking of the Fast. Attendance at the breakfast requires advance registration and a donation.
Note: A a “Yom Tov Pass” will be required to enter some services as marked above. Passes can be obtained in advance. Register for a pass a www.bethhillel.net. If you arrive without a pass at services, you will need to register to enter. Donations appreciated.
6:30 p.m. Family Eve of Sukkot (fall harvest holiday) services in the Temple’s backyard Sukkah (booth), weather permitting, preceded by a catered dinner at 5:30 p.m. (Reservations/fee required for the dinner.)
6:30 p.m. Eve of Simchat Torah services and consecration of new religious school students.
10:30 a.m. Atzeret-Simchat Torah/Yizkor Services