High Holiday Rundown

Written by: Dinah Berch, guest blogger, updated 9/6/23

Everything you need to know about High Holidays at Temple Israel in Portsmouth.

It’s been a grueling couple of weeks in the synagogue office – as many of you may have noticed. Kol hakavod (good job!) to Heather and everyone on the various committees working SO hard to make everything come together for the holiday season.

Just in case you’re not reading the Doorpost, or the weekly “This Week” emails, or The Jewish Reporteror other synagogue emails and mailings, here’s a quick rundown of what you might need to know for the High Holidays.

First – When are the holidays???

  • Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on Friday, September 15, ends at nightfall on Sunday, September 17
  • Yom Kippur begins at sunset on Sunday, September 24, ends at nightfall on Monday, September 25
  • Sukkot begins at sunset on Friday, September 29, ends at nightfall on Friday, October 6
  • Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah begin at sunset on Friday, October 6, end at nightfall on Sunday, October 8

Download a lovely flyer from PJ Library with all the Jewish holidays for this year

Where can I go to learn more about what Temple Israel is doing for each holiday?

Why, our High Holiday Hub of course! https://www.templeisraelnh.org/pray/holidays/high-holidays-2023/

Take me to the High Holiday Hub

Do I need to register for tickets for in-person or Zoom?

YES! Members and guests are encouraged to register, especially if you will be utilizing handicapped parking, baby sitting, the tot or youth service, or bringing non-member friends and family with you. Note that there is an option for Zoom-only registration (found on the High Holiday Hub), and that the Yom Kippur Break-Fast requires separate registration.

High Holiday Registration

I have kids. What about them?

Children are always welcome in our main services. Busy bags for a variety of ages are located towards the back of the sanctuary – ask an usher to point them out! There will also be Jewish-themed books your children can read. On Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and on Yom Kippur morning there will be a short Tot Storytime for children geared towards the five-and-under crowd. Parents and siblings are always welcome. On both days of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur morning there will be a Youth Service. And we’ve expanded the baby sitting to include both mornings of Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur morning and Ne’ilah. Baby sitting is intended for children under aged 5. Please note that there will be no diaper changing service – if your child is in diapers you will need to check-in with the babysitting occasionally or be prepared for a baby sitter or assistant to find you in the event of smelly baby. Please register in advance if you plan to use any of these family services so that we can prepare appropriately!

I have more questions – like parking and such. Where can I find more answers?

We have a full High Holiday FAQ this year! Find answers to all of your questions and more, plus links and helpful resources, all on our Resources & FAQ page on the High Holiday Hub. Or download a copy of the FAQ here!

High Holiday FAQ (PDF)

The Resources page also has links to my blog posts from earlier years about surviving the High Holidays with children, my favorite High Holiday games and songs, and YouTube videos including my favorite, Shaboom!

Plus we’ve got downloadable resources for Yizkor, for Tashlich, for assembling your Lulav & Etrog, and links to previous High Holiday sermons from Rabba Kaya. Don’t miss Rabba Kaya’s High Holiday playlist!

Keep an eye on the High Holiday Hub and the Calendar – we’ll update as new events get finalized. Oh, and if anyone has any trouble registering for anything I’m the person to email – dinah.berch@gmail.com. I’m happy to help. 

Shana Tova!


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