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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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Kehilla Book Club: Duet in Beirut

The Kehilla Book club meets on Wednesday, June 21 at 8:15 pm to discuss “Duet in Beirut,” by Mishka Ben-David. Kehilla’s resident librarian Joel Tuchman takes you on a riveting adventure of espionage, foreign intrigue, and revenge. The author was a professional spy for 12 years, taking part in secret operations on behalf of the Mossad, Israel’s legendary intelligence agency. All are welcome so get reading!

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Last chance to ‘Get Smart for the Seder’!

Join Rabbi Avi Stewart as he unravels the mysteries of the Haggadah and provides clever insights and stories to share at your Seder table. This week’s class will focus on the progression of the four cups.

  The final class is Wednesday, April 5 at the Westwood Kehilla. If you missed the first two classes, don’t despair. An audio of the first class and a Facebook video of the second class can be found here: Get Smart for the Seder.
Get Prepared for the Seder like Never Before!

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