Westwood Kehilla


High Holiday Schedule & Halachic Guide

Erev Rosh Hashanah (Sunday, September 9)

7:30 am     Selichot/Shacharit/Hatarat Nedarim
12:49 pm   Chatzot – Midday (Many people fast until this time)
6:50 pm     Mincha
6:49 pm     Candlelighting (if later, light from an existing flame)
Short Drash by Rabbi Stewart
Followed by Maariv

Rosh Hashanah, Day 1 (Monday, September 10)

8:00 am     Shacharit
10:45 am   Shofar
Kiddush Following Services at about 1pm
6:50 pm     Mincha
7:05 pm     Shiur
7:30 pm     Maariv
After 7:45 pm   Candlelighting (earliest time, and light from an existing flame); preparation for evening meal after this time.

Rosh Hashanah, Day 2 (Tuesday, September 11)

8:00 am     Shacharit
10:45 am   Shofar
Kiddush Following Services at about 1pm
(Afternoon)    Tashlich at the Meyers – 10592 Wilkins
   6:50 pm    Mincha
7:10 pm    Shiur
7:30 pm    Maariv
7:45 pm    Havdalah


Tzom Gedalia, (Wednesday, September 12)

5:22 am     Fast Begins
6:30 am     Selichot/Shacharit
6:25 pm     Mincha
7:35 pm     Fast Ends

Thursday, September 13

6:15 am    Selichot / Shacharit
6:40 pm    Mincha

Friday, September 14

6:30 am  Selichot/Shacharit

Shabbat Shuva (Fri.-Sat., September 14-15)_

Parshat VaYelech

Friday Evening:

5:43 pm  Earliest Candlelighting
6:42 pm  Regular Candlelighting
6:45 pm  Mincha
Short Drash by Rabbi Stewart
Followed by  Maariv 

Saturday Morning:

8:45 am  Shacharit
11:15 am  Kiddush
   6:15 pm  Mincha (At Westwood Kehilla)
   6:35 pm  Seudat Shlishit
7:37 pm  Maariv
Followed by Havdala

Sunday, September 16

8:00 am    Selichot/Shacharit
6:40 pm    Mincha

Monday, September 17

6:15 am   Selichot/Shacharit
6:40 pm   Mincha


Tuesday, September 18, Erev Yom Kippur­­­­­

6:30 am   Selichot/Shacharit/Hatarat Nedarim
3:00 pm  Mincha (With Viduy)

Yom Kippur (Tues.-Wed., September 18-19)

Tuesday Evening:

6:00 pm  Tfilat Zakka
6:30 pm  Kol Nidre
6:37 pm  Latest Candlelighting, and Fast Begins
6:45 pm  Drash by Rabbi Stewart, followed by Maariv

Wednesday Morning and Afternoon:

9:00 am    Shacharit
11:30 am  Yizkor/Drash, followed by Mussaf
4:45 pm     Mincha
6:05 pm     Short Drash by Rabbi Stewart
6:15 pm     Neila
7:31 pm     Fast Ends; Maariv/Shofar
Followed by Havdalah/ Kiddush Levana


Thursday, September 20

6:30 am   Shacharit
6:40 pm  Mincha


Friday, September 21

6:45 am  Shacharit


An extremely important custom during the entire High Holiday period is to be extremely patient, forgiving, and sensitive to others.  Anger should be unheard of during this period.  How can we deign to beseech our Creator for forgiveness, compassion, and patience, if we do not behave in a similar fashion?  It is our love and sensitivity for each other which arouses His love and sensitivity for us.


SELICHOTSelichot begin at 8:00 am and are followed by Shacharit and Hatarat Nedarim.  There is a prevalent custom to fast until midday, which is at 12:49.  Many men go to the Mikvah in preparation for the holiday.

CANDLELIGHTING: The brachot for lighting the Yom Tov candles are Lehadlik ner shel Yom Tov and Shehechiyanu.  Most Sepharadim do not recite Shehechiyanu at candlelighting.  If one has such a custom, he/she may still recite Shehechiyanu.


GREETING:  It is customary to wish each other a good year after the evening service or upon arriving home from shul.  The proper greeting can be found in the Artscroll Machzor (p.90) and in the Soloveitchik Machzor (p.96).

SYMBOLISMS: See the Artscroll Machzor (p.96) and the Soloveitchik Machzor (p.102) for prayers (Simanim) recited over the following symbolic foods after Hamotzi:  fenugreek or carrots; leek or cabbage; beets; dates; gourd; pomegranate; fish; and head of a sheep (or fish).  Kindness and a pleasant disposition throughout the day are also considered a Siman with symbolic effect.

The Rav explains (Soloveitchik Machzor (p.102-3) that the custom of Simanim comes from the Talmud (Horayos, 12a).  There it is mentioned that kings of Israel were anointed at a spring, linking the hope for long rule with the characteristic of the spring in continually brings forth water.  One commentator cited in the Talmud observed that, based on this idea, omens can be significant, and therefore on Rosh Hashana we should eat specific foods whose designation implies a good year to come.  The Rav observed that since Rosh Hashana is linked to judgment by G-d as King, we engage in symbolic actions linked to a day of judgment by the King.

KIDDUSH:  Shehechiyanu is added (Women who made it during candle lighting should not repeat Shehechiyanu in the event that they are making Kiddush).

MEALS:  Rosh Hashana is a holiday and a celebration.  We toast the Creator as King and Master and rejoice that we are privileged to be His subjects.  Yet, the meals should be tempered with a degree of solemnity. This tension is reflected in the notion that we do not say Hallel on Rosh Hashana.  Torah discussions, in particular regarding teshuva, refining one’s midot and belief in Hashem, should be the focal point of the meal.  One should be especially careful not to speak Lashon Hora, for this grave character flaw enables the “Prosecuting Angel” to speak Lashon Hora about us.  If we refrain from speaking Lashon Hora, Hashem, in His great benevolence, will not let anyone speak ill about us during our day in Court.


THE PRAYER SERVICE:  A leading theme is the kingship of Hashem.  The blowing of the Shofar represents G-d’s entrance and his presence in our midst, and also our crying out to G-d. (Soleveitchik Machzor, 440).  The Shofar is sounded before Mussaf (preceded by the recitation of Psalm 47 seven times), three times during the Chazzan’s repetition of the Mussaf Shemona Esrei (preceded by references to G-d’s Kingship, Role in History, and Presence with the Shofar), and during the Kaddish following the Chazzan’s repetition.  With the exception of the Avinu Malkeinu (“Our Father and King”), which is said at the conclusion of Shacharit and Mincha, there is virtually no reference to sin or forgiveness on Rosh Hashana.  There is no recitation of Selichos or of Vidui.

KIDDUSH: The Kiddush for Rosh Hashana day is Tik’u Bachodesh Shofar, found in the Artscroll Machzor (p.594) and the Soloveitchik Machzor (p.660).


CANDLELIGHTING: The brachot for lighting the candles are again lehadlik ner shel yom tov, and shehechiyanu.   When reciting shehechiyanu one should have in mind that the bracha is also being made for the new fruit eaten during the meal.

KIDDUSH & NEW FRUIT: Shehechiyanu is again added.  A new fruit should be on the table and the shehechiyanu recited at the time of Kiddush (or candlelighting) should incorporate the new fruit.  Most wait until after Hamotzi to eat the new fruit. R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would recite the Bracha on the new fruit before Hamotzi (as he was concerned with an interruption between the Shehechiyanu and the new fruit).  If one has no new fruit one should still recite the Shehechiyanu.


TASHLICH: Many recite Tashlich on Rosh Hashana.  In reality, Tashlich can be recited any time between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  Some even recite it as late as Hoshana Rabba.  Tashlich can be found in the ArtScroll Machzor (p.630) and in the Soloveitchik Machzor (p.700).  (The Westwood Kehilla will have a community Tashlich at the home of the Meyers this afternoon.)


KIDDUSH: Standard Shabbat Kiddush.

This Shabbat is called “Shabbat Shuva” because of the Haftorah which begins “Shuva Yisrael”, “Repent Israel”. Sometimes it is referred to as Shabbat T’shuva, i.e the Shabbat that falls within the Aseret Yimei Teshuva.


This fast, one of the four fasts revolving around the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and the subsequent exile, is observed the day after Rosh Hashana.   The fast commemorates one of the most tragic events in our history.  When the Babylonians destroyed the first Beit Hamikdash, they allowed the farmers to remain on the land to continue cultivating this very fertile country.  The Babylonians appointed a Jew, Gedalia ben Achikam, as Governor.  Another Jew assassinated Gedalia and the remaining Jews, fearing retribution from the Babylonians, fled the land, thus completing the exile.


A shortened version of Selichot is said in the morning. Avinu Malkeinu is recited, but Tachanun, Lamnatzeach and Mizmor L’Todah are not. Those who did not do Hatarat Nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashana do so today.

There is a mitzvah to have a Seudah (festive meal).  Some have one Seudah in the morning and another after Mincha. Men go to the Mikvah after midday. Kapparot are performed, either with chickens or with money.  There will be baskets in shul for Kapparot  money, which is distributed to the poor for Yom Tov.  The text of Kapparot may be found in the Yom Kippur Artscroll Machzor (p.2) and the Soloveitchik Machzor (p.2).


Yahrzeit lamps are lit for one’s parents before Yom Kippur. It is customary to bless the children before Yom Kippur. The blessing may be found in the Artscroll Machzor (p.32) and the Soloveitchik Machzor (p.38).    One comes early to the synagogue to recite the special prayer known as Tefilah Zakah wherein he expresses forgiveness to those who wronged him.

CANDLELIGHTING: The brachot for candle lighting are lehdalik ner Yom HaKippurim, and shehechiyanu.  Women who live far from shul and wish to drive after lighting candles should have in mind while lighting that they are not yet accepting Yom Kippur.  They should also not recite shehechiyanu while lighting and should wait to recite it until Kol Nidrei when the Chazzan recites this bracha.

RESTRICTED ACTIVITY: The five prohibited pleasures on Yom Kippur are: eating and drinking; washing; anointing (perfumes, etc.); marital intimacy; and leather shoes.

PRAYERS OF REPENTANCE.  Yom Kippur is designated as a day set aside for repentance.  Vidui (confession of sins), notably the “Ashamnu” and “Al Chet”, is recited in the private Shemona Esrei at Mincha on erev Yom Kippur, and both in the private Shemona Esrei and in the Chazan’s repetition of the Shemona Esrei from Maariv on Tuesday night through Neilah late Wednesday afternoon.  Selichot (prayers asking for forgiveness) led by the Chazzan in his repetition of the Shemona Esrei on Yom Kippur, most notably the “Shma Koleinu”, introduce the Vidui in each service. Many beautiful Piyyutim (liturgical poems) are recited only once a year on this day.

YIZKORYizkor (remembrance of the Departed) is recited before Mussaf.

HAVDALAH: The bracha of Borei Meorei Haeish during Havdalah must be recited on a flame which was burning and “rested” during Yom Kippur.



Many have a custom to do a little Succah building or fixing right after Havdalah in order to start the New Year with a mitzvah.

Shana Tova U’metuka; K’tiva V’chatima Tova!

Posted in: Halacha, Holidays, Learning Library, Rosh Hashana, Shul Anouncements, Yom Kippur

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Halachot of the Three Weeks

The Three Weeks

The Three Weeks–Bein HaMetzarim (July 11  –  August 1)
The three weeks between the Fast of the 17th of Tamuz and the Fast of the ninth of Av divide into three distinct parts: The three weeks give way to the nine days from Rosh Chodesh Av until the Ninth, and then those days give way to the Ninth itself.  There are different degrees of mourning which apply to each part.  (For Sephardim, the restrictions don’t begin until Rosh Chodesh Av.)
R’ Yosef Baer Soloveitchik, Ztz’l, use to say that these three levels could be understood like the three levels of personal mourning for a parent–the three weeks are like the year of mourning, the nine days are like the 30 days immediately after the death, and the Ninth itself is like the week of Shiva.  This is a helpful way of thinking about the Halachot associated with this time, which can be divided up into three parts, each with a different degree of severity.

The Three Weeks

  •          For Ashkenazim, already from the 17th of Tamuz, certain kinds of happy occasions are avoided.
    Weddings are not performed although people can announce their engagements.  Playing and listening to live music is also prohibited, although professional musicians can play for non-Jews, and amateurs can practice, until Rosh Chodesh Av.
  •          Haircuts and shaving are also prohibited during this time, although anyone who shaves daily for work-related reasons is allowed to shave during this period.

The Nine Days (from Rosh Chodesh Av until the Fast)

  •          The Talmud says that Simcha should be curtailed during the first part of the month of Av.  Any construction not connected to an actual dwelling-place should be suspended, i.e. a vacation home or a patio; also, home decorating should be put off until after the Ninth of Av.  If the construction is meant to prevent damage, it is permitted.  Building connected to a Mitzva such as a Mikva or a Beit Knesset is permitted.
    Also, purchases of items which bring Simcha, such as silver or gold objects, should be put off unless they won’t be available at the same price after the Ninth of Av.
    Planting for pleasure–for shade or beauty or fragrance–should also be put off until after the Nine Days.
    Eating meat (including chicken) and drinking wine is forbidden during the Nine Days because they bring Simcha.  (One may cook in meat utensils, however.)  They may be eaten on Shabbat or at a Seudat Mitzvah like a Bris.
    For Havdalla, one is permitted to drink the wine but some give it to a child who has reached the age of Chinuch but still does not know what it is to mourn for Yerushalayim.
  •          Cleaning and laundering clothes, bed linen, and tablecloths is forbidden.
    during the Nine Days.  If one has no clean clothes, then one can clean them until the actual week in which the Ninth of Av occurs.  During that week, there is no alternative.  One may wash clothes for a child.
    Wearing freshly laundered outer clothes (as opposed to clothes like undershirts which are only meant for absorbing perspiration) or using freshly cleaned linen is also forbidden.  One can wear clean clothes for even a small amount of time before the Nine Days begin in order to avoid this issue.  These restrictions do not apply on Shabbat.
  •          During the Nine Days, showers are permitted only to remove dirt or perspiration. (This does not apply to women preparing to go to the Mikva.)  Swimming, except for medical reasons, is therefore also forbidden.  On Erev Shabbat, the custom is still to bathe as one would on every Erev Shabbat.
  •          Because we refrain from saying a Shehecheyanu on new fruit or new clothes during this time, it is customary not to buy or wear a new garment or eat a new fruit from Rosh Chodesh Av.  This Halacha is not aimed at mourning so much as it is aimed at this time of year, which was full of calamitous events for the Jewish people.  It is not a time which we want to mark with a Shehecheyanu.  Also, because of the nature of this period, it is recommended that parents and teachers should refrain from hitting children during this time.

The Ninth of Av

  •          On the afternoon before the Fast, the last meal is called the Seuda HaMafseket
    (the meal of ceasing to eat) and is intended to inaugurate the mourning of the next day.  The meal should have just one dish unlike meals of honor or pleasure.  The custom is to eat only bread, hard-boiled eggs and water and it should not be eaten as a social meal between lots of friends.  One is allowed to eat after this meal, unless one had in mind that this should be the last meal before the Fast.
    During the Fast, many Poskim consider smoking off limits unless one is absolutely compelled to smoke.  In the latter case, it is allowed only after noontime on the Ninth and only in private.
  •          Several customs associated with Shiva are in force during the Ninth.  Leather
    shoes are prohibited unless one must wear them because one would otherwise suffer ridicule.  Cohabitation between husband and wife is forbidden.  Also, washing of any kind is forbidden except for one’s fingers after one comes out of the bathroom.
    Learning Torah brings one to Simcha, and therefore one can only learn subjects on the Ninth which are connected to mourning such as Eicha, Job, or the stories about the destruction of the Temple.
    Greetings are forbidden, although one can answer if greeted.  Also, at least until noontime, one should sit on at least a low chair or on a pillow on the ground.
    Even after the Fast on the ninth, restrictions associated with the Nine Days continue until noon on the tenth (August 2).
    These are the Mitzvot Bein Adam L’Makom (between man and HaShem) which are unique to this time of year.  This is also a very important time to be careful about LashonHaRah.  The Spies whose Lashon HaRah about the Land of Israel sealed the fate of the Jews in the Desert performed their mission during this time of year and returned on the Ninth of Av.  Also, the Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred, making this a perfect time for causeless love between Jews.

Posted in: Halacha, Learning Library

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Labor Relations: Employer and Employee Conflict

Integrity in Action:  Judaism’s Attitude Towards Labor Relations 
Part six of series with Dr. Meir Tamari, former senior economist for the Bank of Israel and long-time lecturer on Jewish Business Ethics.

Posted in: Education, Halacha, Learning Library, Rabbi's Blog

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Judaism & Advertising

Integrity in Action:  Judaism & Taxation
Part Three of our four part series with Dr. Meir Tamari, former senior economist for the Bank of Israel and long-time lecturer on Jewish Business Ethics.

Posted in: Education, Halacha, Inspiration, Learning Library, Programs, Rabbi's Blog

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Judaism and Advertising

Integrity in Action:  Judaism & Advertising 
Part 2 of our four part series with Dr. Meir Tamari, former senior economist for the Bank of Israel and long-time lecturer on Jewish Business Ethics.

Posted in: Education, Halacha, Learning Library

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Israel in Crisis: Self Defense

In which we discuss the halachik rights, and duties of the Jewish people to defend themselves, on both a personal, as well as a national level.

Posted in: Education, Halacha, Learning Library, Programs, Rabbi Avi Stewart, Rabbi's Blog, Speakers

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