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celebrating rosh hashanah & yom kippur


Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are collectively known as the Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe), the holiest days of the year. We welcome the new year with apples and honey, family togetherness, and hope for the days ahead. The sounds of the shofar remind us that forgiveness and change are both possible and necessary.

At B’nai Israel the High Holidays typically bring more than 3,000 people to the synagogue. Members choose from three traditional services—the order of prayers are identical but the size, style, and physical space vary. We also offer a Family Service Experience, primarily for children 5 years old  and under with their parents, adult learning opportunities, and a full menu of babysitting, youth, and teen services. Each of our services is participatory, with members of the congregation leading some prayers, chanting Torah, and accepting literally hundreds of other honors. We also convene as a united community at selected moments during the high Holy Days, including a beautiful Tashlikh ceremony attended by hundreds at our B’nai Israel Agam (pond). 

High Holiday Update 

July 2021

Dear Members of B’nai Israel,

Building on the recent news that B’nai Israel is reopening its doors to the community, we are excited to share our plans to celebrate the High Holidays of 5782. 

Thank you to the many who completed our High Holiday Survey. Based on your responses, we estimate that 50-60% of our congregation plans to participate in in-person services; there is a real desire for in-person youth and family service opportunities; and almost 99% of age-eligible members of our community are or soon will be fully vaccinated. Our Roadmap to Reopening Task Force has been meeting regularly for more than a year to evaluate state and local ordinances, public health guidance, research and data, and feelings about our particular community. Their guidance has been invaluable, as has the patience and cooperation of the entire community that has endured this journey through the pandemic together.

We are prepared to offer a ticket and assign seats to any member of B’nai Israel. We will also allow members to purchase seats for teens and non-member adult relatives who wish to join our traditional services. Because seating maps will be adjusted from “normal” years, the only requests for specific seats we will honor are for dedicated seats in Dweck Sanctuary or Bimblich Hall. All other seating will be assigned on a first-come basis. Our enhanced livestream will be available for all services conducted in Dweck Sanctuary for those who wish to participate from home. 

Here are some other important things to know:

  • Tickets will be issued for the entirety of the High Holiday season. Seats will be assigned for Rosh Hashanah morning services (both days), Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur morning. Seating will be open for Rosh Hashanah evening services and Minha/Neilah on Yom Kippur. 
  • Tickets are not required for any of our outdoor services. Reservations are requested on the enclosed Ticket Request Form to help us prepare, but seats will not be assigned. 
  • Information about indoor Babysitting, Youth and Family Services, and Teen Services is listed below. Registration is due by August 16. 
  • While we cannot know the exact number of participants in indoor services, we estimate that our sanctuaries will be filled to 60-70% of normal capacity. Please consider this estimate when making your own decisions about participation.
  • Honors will be assigned as in “normal” years. Please contact Allison Karasik for more information.
  • Mahzor prayerbooks will be distributed at each seat. The traditional Yizkor Memorial Book will also be printed and distributed at seats. The mahzor will be available for purchase for those who would like a copy for home use; digital copies of the Yizkor book will also be available. More information will circulate later in the summer. 
  • As of now, masks are required for all indoor Shabbat and holiday services at B’nai Israel, as these are considered large gatherings. Masks are optional for outdoor services and programs.

High Holiday Ticket Request forms are now past due. For questions, please contact the High Holiday Hotline at 240-221-2510.

Thank you for your dedication to B’nai Israel and your ongoing cooperation as we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of this pandemic together. We look forward to greeting you in 5782 … if not sooner.

Rabbi Michael Safra, Senior Rabbi
Scott Hodes, President

Schedule of Services

Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 6 – Rosh Hashanah Evening
6:15 PM    Evening Service in Dweck Sanctuary (Livestream Option) 
8:00 PM    Outdoor Evening Service in Parking Lot A

Tuesday, September 7 – Rosh Hashanah Day One
8:45 AM    Shaharit Service in Dweck Sanctuary/Bimblich Hall/Gudelsky Hall (Livestream Option)
    10:00 AM Torah Service
9:00 AM    Shaharit Service in Goodman Assembly Hall
    10:15 AM Torah Service
9:15 AM    Family Tots Experience
10:00 AM    Youth and Teen Services
4:30 PM    Outdoor Family Service
6:30 PM    Tashlikh
7:15 PM    Minha/Ma’ariv 

Wednesday, September 8 – Rosh Hashanah Day Two
8:45 AM     Shaharit Service in Dweck Sanctuary/Bimblich Hall/Gudelsky Hall (Livestream Option)
    10:00 AM Torah Service
9:00 AM    Shaharit Service in Goodman Assembly Hall
    10:15 AM Torah Service
9:15 AM    Family Tots Experience
10:00 AM  Youth and Teen Services
4:30 PM    Outdoor Family Service
7:15 PM    Minha/Ma’ariv 

Yom Kippur

Wednesday, September 15 – Kol Nidre
6:45 PM    Minha, Kol Nidre in Dweck Sanctuary/Bimblich Hall/Gudelsky Hall (Livestream Option)
7:00 PM    Minha, Kol Nidre in Goodman Assembly Hall
7:00 PM    Youth and Teen Services (doors open at 6:45 PM)

Thursday, September 16 – Yom Kippur
9:00 AM    Shaharit Service in Dweck Sanctuary/Bimblich Hall/Gudelsky Hall (Livestream Option)
    10:30 AM Torah Service
9:15 AM    Shaharit Service in Goodman Assembly Hall 
    10:45 AM Torah Service
9:30 AM    Family Tots Experience
10:30 AM  Youth and Teen Services
3:30 PM    Outdoor Family Service
5:00 PM    Minha
6:30 PM    Neilah
7:45 PM    Shofar

Description of Services

Click here to see our Descriptions of Services and Youth and Family Opportunities. 


Registration for our High Holiday 2021 babysitting, youth and teen opportunities is currently open! Due to space, registration for our family and youth experiences is due by August 16. We look forward to welcoming 5782 with you. Please use the links below to learn more and register:

Family Tots Service
Cantor Josh and Rachel Siegel, our Early Childhood Director, will be leading our Family Tots Experience together! This special experience and is designed for children younger than age 5, with an adult. The one-hour program includes a short service, holiday-appropriate craft activities, and storytime.


Babysitting and Youth Services
We invite you to register your children and grandchildren for our High Holiday Youth Programming which includes Babysitting for 2–4 year olds, K–7 grade program/services and 8–12th grade teen services.

Outdoor Family Services in the Parking Lot
We also are asking for families to pre-register to attend the Outdoor Family Services in the Parking Lot, which are geared towards families with elementary-aged children, though all are welcome. 

High Holiday Livestream

All of our High Holiday services from Dweck Sanctuary will be broadcast via our enhanced Livestream available at


Ticket request forms were mailed out to B'nai Israel members in late June and are now past due and seats cannot be guaranteed. If you are a dedicated seat holder and did not receive your form, please email to receive the High Holiday ticket request form as a PDF. All other members can download a blank ticket request form here.


Join us for this special program and service with the screening of Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story on Saturday, August 28 at 9:00 PM. Click here for details.

Enhance the High Holidays

As we do every year, we will be offering other opportunities to enhance the experience in the month leading up to the High Holidays and in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Stay tuned for more information about these and other programs:

For additional information, please contact our Seating Hotline (240-221-2510) with any questions about your seats.

Additional information about the High Holidays will be posted as it becomes available. Thank you!

purchasing a mahzor for home use

During this time, the Rabbinical Assembly is offering our movement siddur at a 40% discount. Books may be ordered by clicking the links below or by calling distributor, G & H Soho, at 201-216-9400, ext. 2.

Mahzor Lev ShalomNote: Although the price is listed as $49, the discounted price of $29.50 will be applied automatically when the item is added to your cart.


Each year, B’nai Israel Congregation provides a Book of Memory for use at the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, the eighth day of Pesah, and the second day of Shavuot. Including the names of our deceased loved ones in our Yizkor Memorial Book is a meaningful tribute to them and a tangible reflection of their impact on our lives. May the memory of our loved ones always be a blessing. For more information, click here.

holiday flowers

Keep in touch with family and friends with a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers. The cost is $60 for local delivery and $70 for out-of-area delivery. Orders must be received by Friday, August 13 for delivery before Rosh Hashanah. Questions? Contact Linda HellerClick here for the flyer.

Sat, July 24 2021 15 Av 5781