Rosh Hashanah:

Rosh Hashanah is the new year (Rosh Hashanah translates as “Head of the Year”) in the Hebrew Calendar. Its origin is traced back to the Bible, where it’s called Yom Teruah, The Day of Blasting [of the shofar]. Rosh Hashanah, like all Jewish holidays, starts in the evening. It lasts two full days, and thus ends a bit more than 48 hours later. Rosh Hashanah is a holiday that, with a couple differences, has the same requirements and prohibitions in observance as Shabbat does.

Practically and spiritually, Rosh Hashanah (as well as the month leading up to it and ten days following) provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the past year and look forward to a better upcoming year, guided by changes in our behaviour. To learn more about Rosh Hashanah, please click here.

Rosh Hashanah at Beth Israel is a very special time. We have evening services at 6:00pm (as we do throughout the year), guided by the beautiful tunes and a story/derash by one of our rabbis. Morning services on the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah start at 9:00am, and include beautiful singing by our High Holy Day Cantor, Ba’alat Tefillah, and choir, shofar blowing, and programs and services for all ages of children and teens (see below for more information about these programs).

Yom Kippur:

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement in the Hebrew Calendar. In the month of Elul, leading up to Rosh Hashanah, and especially in the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we have been reflecting on our actions during the past year, and on Yom Kippur we put our apologies into a culminating day of prayer.

Yom Kippur is well-known as a full day fast(from sunset one evening to dark on the next day), and also includes other things such as refraining from wearing leather shoes. To learn more about Yom Kippur, please click here. Yom Kippur at Beth Israel is quite special as well. We start with the Kol Nidre service a bit before sunset. It is powerfully led by our High Holy Day Cantor and choir, and the rest of the service includes Selichot and Vidui, which contain some of the most well-known prayers of Yom Kippur. Our morning services start at 9:30am and last until early afternoon, including Musaf with the Avodah and Martyrology. There is a short break, during which many congregants stay for a teaching/discussion, led by one of our rabbis. Our Mincha (afternoon) service is followed N’ilah, the concluding service of Yom Kippur. We finish with Havdalah and a final blast of the shofar.

If you are not a Beth Israel member, and you would like to attend our High Holy Day services, please contact the office or 604-731-4161.