Resources & FAQ

High Holiday FAQ

Download the High Holiday FAQ (PDF)

When are the High Holidays in 2023?
Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on Friday, September 15, and ends at nightfall on Sunday,
September 1.

Yom Kippur begins at sunset on Sunday, September 24, and ends at nightfall (7:18pm) on
Monday, September 25.

Can anyone come to High Holiday services?
Yes! You are welcome at all of our High Holiday services, whether you are a member, a non-member, or a visitor. Tickets (pre-registrations) are required, however. When you register online, we encourage you to donate as you are able to offset our costs. Please contact the office with questions or requests.

When are services?
Please see the pages for each holiday for exact service times. We will be offering services in person and over Zoom.

What time do services start?

  • Erev Rosh Hashanah: 7 pm 9/15
  • Rosh Hashanah Day 1: 9 am 9/16
  • Rosh Hashanah Day 2: 9 am 9/17
  • Tashlich: 1 pm (Prescott Park, Portsmouth), 3:30 pm (Swasey Park, Exeter AND Henry Law Park, Dover) 9/17
  • Kol Nidre: 6 pm 9/24 (access may be limited after services start, so plan to arrive early)
  • Yom Kippur morning: 9 am, 9/25
  • Yom Kippur Mincha/Neilah: 4:45 pm 9/25
  • Final Shofar blast: 7:18 pm 9/25
  • Community Break-the-Fast: 7:30 pm 9/25

Do I need tickets to attend High Holiday services at Temple Israel?
Temple Israel requires registration by all attendees at High Holiday services. You can register
online or by emailing

Is there a fee to attend High Holiday services?
Members: Family/couple member households are entitled to two adult seats and single
members to one adult seat at High Holiday services.
Children under age 21, current college students, and active duty military are welcome with no
expected donation.
Guests/Non-Members: Guests of Temple Israel congregants are invited with a suggested
donation of $36 per holiday. The suggested donation for visitors and other non-members is $60 per holiday per person or $90 per family per holiday.
All donations are deeply appreciated, but inability to donate is not a bar to attendance. All are
welcome at our services.
High Holiday services are underwritten by the membership of Temple Israel and by a grant from Temple Israel’s Cultural Endowment Fund.

What are your rules around masking?
At this time we do not require masks. However, masks are available for those who wish to wear
them. If you are unwell, we ask that you stay home and participate remotely.

How do I participate remotely?
You can access our main services via Zoom on a phone, tablet, or computer. Pre-registration is
required. All registrants (including those who register for in-person attendance) will receive a
Zoom link. The suggested donation for a Zoom Pass (access to all High Holiday services) for nonmembers is $36 for all holidays.

What is the deadline to sign up for services?
The deadline for reservations is Friday, September 8.

Where are services held?
High Holiday seating for the main service is in our historic Sanctuary (200 State Street,
Portsmouth, NH). Youth services (grades 1-5) are held in our social hall. All indoor services are
also available via Zoom, with the link sent out to all who register. Access the main sanctuary
and social hall through the doors to the far left on State Street. Those with limited mobility may
enter through the Court Street doors.

Will there be security?
We take security very seriously and are following a security plan developed by our Security
Committee in conjunction with Portsmouth Police and national advisory groups. Large bags and backpacks are not permitted in the building, and all attendees must register in advance.

Can my children attend High Holiday services?
Children are welcome in our sanctuary. “Busy bags” and children’s books are located in the rear
lefthand corner of the sanctuary. The Temple library also offers a place for quiet play if children need a break during services. Babysitting is available in the preschool classroom for children ages 2-5 (pre-registration required).

What about children’s services?
Youth Services for children in grades 1-5 will be held in the social hall during each of the High
Holidays. Parents should accompany children in grades 1 or preschool. Service times are: Rosh
Hashanah day 1, 10:15 am; Rosh Hashanah day 2, 10:45 am; Yom Kippur, 10:15 am.

Where can I park for services?
Temple Israel on-site parking will be reserved for those with limited mobility, who should
request a parking pass from the office for the holidays. Anyone who is able to walk should
consider the public parking areas near the South Mill Pond, the High-Hanover Parking Garage,
or the Foundry Parking Garage, all within a 15-minute walk of Temple Israel. Some parking is
also available at Strawbery Banke, which has generously allowed us to park there for High

Please note: On-street metered parking has a two-hour limit, which is strictly enforced, and
(unlike in recent years, when we had a forgiveness plan with the city) any tickets issued will be
your responsibility.

What if I need a ride to services?
Please notify the Temple office in advance if you need a ride for any of the High Holiday
services. We will try to match you with someone who can drive you to and from the Temple.

What accommodations do you have for handicapped access?
Our Court Street entrance is accessible by a ramp, and the main sanctuary can be reached using an elevator near the Court Street lobby. The on-site parking is reserved for those with limited mobility, who can request a parking pass from the office in advance of the holidays.

When can I hear the shofar?
This year, shofar will be blown during morning services on the second day of Rosh Hashanah
(September 17), sometime after 11 am. We will also blow shofar during Tashlich on September
17 on the pier in Portsmouth’s Prescott Park at 1 pm and in Exeter’s Swasey Parkway at the
boat launch at 3:30 pm. The final shofar blast of the holidays will be at the end of Neilah (7:18
pm) on Yom Kippur (September 25).

Is a Break-the-Fast meal available?
Temple Israel will be host a kosher dairy/pareve Community Break-Fast meal following Mincha/Neilah on September 25 at about 7:30 pm. Separate registration is required; please go here to register.

Can I volunteer to help at High Holiday services?
Volunteers are needed to serve as greeters and ushers at in-person services and family services. Please email if you are interested in volunteering.

High Holidays Home

From Rabba Kaya

  • Listen to the High Holiday Playlist! Rabba Kaya and Eliana Willis, our Cantorial Soloist, have put together a playlist of songs and music we will be using throughout our services. Playlist Link. We encourage you to learn some of the new tunes in advance so that we can all enter more fully into the beautiful liturgy of this season.

Previous High Holiday Sermons

Yom Kippur 2023 Sermon

Yom Kippur 2023 Sermons “Israel – The Hope” Sermon for Yom Kippur, 5784/2023, by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Looking about in this room, we see a beautifully diverse community with members from varied Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds. Our synagogue is affiliated with the Conservative movement, but we have members who come from Reform, Reconstructionist and Orthodox Continue Reading »

Posted in High Holiday Sermons, Holidays | Comments Off on Yom Kippur 2023 Sermon

Rosh Hashanah 2023 Sermons & Videos

Rosh Hashanah 2023 Sermons “Birds, Bees and Butterflies” Sermon for Rosh Hashanah Day 1, 5784/2023 by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman I want to begin by thanking Pastor David Clark whose ideas greatly influenced my sermon today. We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful place, where each season brings its treasures and where in Continue Reading »

Posted in High Holiday Sermons, Holidays | Comments Off on Rosh Hashanah 2023 Sermons & Videos

See more High Holiday sermons here.

For Children:

Read temple member Dinah Berch’s tips for enjoying the holidays with children.

Part 1: Rosh Hashanah