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High Holy Days

Annual services on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are a highlight of Knesset Israel's year. The services feature the sound of the shofar, prayer leadership by members of the congregation and teachings by Rabbi David Weiner.

Guests and members are welcome to Knesset Israel services. Preregistration is required for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Please consult the calendar for the service schedule.

On the Services

Knesset Israel's Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services are moving, participatory and transformative.  Our renewed sanctuary helps enrich the sound and feel of davening. Our shlihei tzibbur and speakers range in age from 14 - 97 leading the congregation in prayer, blending traditional modes and contemporary melodies. Rabbi David Weiner sets the tone for the services and enriches them with opportunities for reflection and study.

A highlight of the Rosh Hashanah service is the sounding of the Shofar, which takes place on several occasions, beginning no earlier than 10:00 a.m. both mornings. The sound of the Shofar is meant to call us: to find our souls amidst the noise of our lives; to reconnect with our community and our heritage; to remember our responsibility to infuse the world with justice and compassion.

The services on the two days of Rosh Hashanah will differ from each other. On the first day, the leaders of the early part of the service intend to move more deliberately through the liturgy, to allow us the space for introspection and renewal. The Torah Service, including the sounding of the Shofar, will be followed by a shorter musaf service. The second day's service will have a longer musaf that features a number of contemporary Israeli melodies.

To learn more about the content of the Rosh Hashana services, click here.

The evening Yom Kippur service on Tuesday will begin with an arrangement of Kol Nidre for the violin. This year, we will replace a portion of the Yom Kippur Musaf service with a guided imagery exercise. This introspective experience, meant to introduce and deepen the confessional prayers at Musaf, should take place close to 2 pm.

To learn more about the content of the Yom Kippur services, click here.




The major Rosh Hashana services at KI take place on the first night and on both mornings. The congregation builds slowly but steadily from the beginning of the service (8:15 am) until about 10:30 am. 

Yom Kippur services at KI are well-attended. Plan to arrive on time for Kol Nidre (6:20 pm minha), allowing for time to park, as entry to the sanctuary will be permitted before and between the parts of the service. The musical introduction and Kol Nidre are highlights of the service that come right at its beginning.

Please bring your name tag with you for entry - it is important to us for welcoming you and for security purposes. You will receive a clear pouch for your name tag when you arrive. If, when you signed up for services, you chose to receive your name tags by 'will call', please stop by the table in the lobby just outside the sanctuary to pick them up.


Ushers may direct you to a particular door for entry to the sanctuary or ask you to wait a couple of minutes if the congregation is standing in silent prayer or listening to a speaker. Seating is unreserved.

Garments for Prayer

All men must wear a kipa (headcovering); women may, as well. All Jewish men must wear a tallit (prayer shawl) while in the prayer service; women may, as well. We encourage people to bring their own, though KI has some prayer shawls available to borrow. Ushers are available to help all worshipers find what they need.


The central observance of Yom Kippur is a 25-hour fast, commencing just before sundown and continuing through nightfall. Fasting is meant to deepen the prayer experience, reduce distraction and help us get in touch with our own vulnerability and mortality.

Fasting is a personal matter. Many in synagogue will be fasting; some, for medical reasons, will be unable to do so. The ritual of fasting cannot be understood as an end in itself. The haftara on Yom Kippur makes it abundantly clear that a fast that fails to attune us to our duties towards the poor, hungry and homeless is a fast in vain.

Young Children

KI offers many options for children on the high holidays. Children are welcome in the main service, and the congregation supports parents and grandparents as they help the next generation experience the day. Children's books, many of them on holiday themes, are available near the library door.

We also recognize that children need a different kind of Yom Kippur experience than their parents do. Babysitting is available each day from 9:30 am to 1 pm for children under 3. Children of preschool age may go to babysitting and have the opportunity to attend a preschool class from 10:30-11:30 am. Students in Kindergarten through sixth grade will follow a grade-specific schedule, which will include classes and activities, snack and a family service, all taking place between 10 am and 1 pm. Snack is provided. Advance registration is very helpful—please contact the synagogue office for that.

Thu, July 9 2020 17 Tammuz 5780