High Holy Days

Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah (“Head of the Year”) is observed on the first day of the month of Tishrei. It marks the beginning of the High Holy Days, which culminates on Yom Kippur. The customs and symbols of Rosh HaShanah reflect the holiday’s emphasis on both happiness and humility. On Rosh HaShanah, we sound the shofar, use round challah, and eat apples and honey for a sweet new year.

Selichot (“forgiveness”) is the candlelight service marking the Jewish week preceding Rosh HaShanah. Held after sundown on Saturday, this service begins our cheshbon nefesh (“accounting of the soul”) as part of t’shuvah (“return”) to our truest selves. We started with dessert, Havdalah and a worship service; then closed the evening in quiet reflection as the parokhet (ark curtain) and Torah covers were prepared for the coming High Holy Days.

Tashlich (“casting off”) is a symbolic dispersal of our errors to the winds and the sea, after we have begun the process of t’shuvah. Our Tashlich service is generally held along the flowing waters of the Snohomish River, at the Everett Public Boat Launch, on West Marine View Drive at 10th Street.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”) is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. In three separate passages, the Torah states, “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). We fulfill this commandment by fasting, which also enables us to put aside our physical desires and to concentrate on our spiritual needs through prayer, repentance and self-improvement. It is customary in the days before Yom Kippur to seek out friends and family whom we have wronged and ask for their forgiveness.

The Shabbat Shuvah (“The Shabbat of Return”) Service, occurs on the Saturday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and is considered to be a time of reflection leading up to the Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur concludes with a Yizkor (“remembrance”) Memorial Service, where the names of members’ immediate family are read aloud.

5781/2020 Information

Member/Non-Member Information

We are delighted to share the High Holy Days (HHD) with you. This year we will be conducting all our services and programming virtually. Please note that once we receive your registration information, and as it gets closer to the High Holy Days, we will send you Zoom links to all the services. For security reasons, some of these are going to be specific to you. We ask that you do not share links with anyone else. There will be no charge for services this year although a donation would be greatly appreciated. Please make sure you include an email address in your registration materials. We require most registration information by August 25, 2020.


Last minute Yom Kippur registrations can be accommodated before 3pm on Friday September 25. Please email or call the office – 425-259-7125 x1 or office@templebethor.org with any questions.

Welcome Members and Guests to High Holy Days 5781. This year, all services will be held using our online platforms. Though the circumstances are different, we hope you will find spiritual meaning and joy in our worship services.

General Information

Schedule of Services and supplementary programming: As we move towards the High Holy Days, we are looking forward to joining together to be inspired to be the individuals and community we hope to be in the year ahead. Rabbi Rachel Kort will again be leading in partnership with Cantor Ellen Dreskin. We hope you will join us for our first opportunity to mark this reflective season at our S’lichot service on Saturday, September 12, 2020, beginning at 7:30 pm. The complete schedule of services and supplementary programming is available. Registration is required.

Prayer books: There are multiple ways to obtain the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur HHD prayer books during the HHD season. All of these options can be accessed from the CCAR at https://www.ccarnet.org/publications/hhd/

  • Books for purchase:
  • FlipBooks: The two prayer books are available as flipbooks free of charge online. This method of using the prayer books works best if you have two devices, as the flipbooks obscure part of the screen when trying to use them and viewing the service at the same time. Information on using flipbooks is at https://www.ccarnet.org/publications/how-to-use-flip-books/

Yizkor Service of Remembrance: Please call the TBO office at 425-259-7125 if you would like to add a name or make a correction to your family’s Yizkor list. A copy of your family’s Yizkor list for review may be obtained by calling or emailing Sarah in the office. All names on your family’s list will be printed in the brochure. Names of immediate family members will be read aloud during the Yizkor Service. Deadline for adding/changing the printed list is August 25, 2020.

High Holy Days Singers: The HHD singers have been working hard to prepare music for you to enjoy during the HHD services.  Listen for their singing during the Holy Days observances.

Tashlich: Unfortunately, we cannot safely have a communal Tashlich service this year. You will be receiving information to help you create your own Tashlich observance if you wish to do so.

HHD Food Bank Drive: This year, as we are unable to be together in person, a monetary donation either as a check made out to Volunteers of America Western Washington (VAWW), or food store gift cards sent directly to VAWW would be greatly appreciated, as they allow the Food Bank to purchase items most needed.  For more information go to www.voaww.org.

Donations: As the HHD are a traditional time to make donations, we kindly suggest donations in support of the Temple Beth Or General Fund, the Wexler High Holy Days Music Fund, the Torah Repair Fund, and/or the Tzedakah Fund to help organizations and individuals in need. We have also included information for purchasing HHD bookplates in the booklet.