High Holy Days at Congregation Beth Sholom

The High Holy Days are always a special time at Beth Sholom, as the community comes together to celebrate, pray, reflect and prepare for a year of new beginnings. A full schedule is viewable here.

Whatever your Jewish background, and no matter how you connect to the spirit of the High Holy Days, we’ve got you covered with the following variety of services and programs.

(Members, please email
events@bethsholomsf.org if you have not received your tickets or need to purchase more.)

Traditional Conservative Services with Rabbis Dan Ain and Amanda Russell
Rosh Hashanah Days 1 and 2, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur

Join Rabbi Dan Ain and Rabbi Amanda Russell for a spirited egalitarian service that brings ancient liturgy face-to-face with the urgent realities of modern life. Wrap yourself in familiar prayers, consider thought-provoking questions, and make yourself at home in a comfortable, inter-generational Conservative shul where everyone is welcome.

The services in our Sanctuary follow the traditional liturgy in the machzor (prayer book) and include shacharit, a full Torah service and musaf (afternoon prayers), with the familiar melodies that evoke the classic character of American/Ashkenazi High Holy Days, with lots of lively, interactive singing. We use the Machzor Lev Shalem, which provides both English translation and transliteration for the Hebrew prayers, as well as a compendium of additional sources.

Throughout the prayers, Rabbis Ain and Russell will provide new perspectives on the tradition, which bring the ancient wisdom of the High Holy Days prayers to our complicated, messy, digitally connected modern-day lives.


Meditation, Singing and Reflection with Rabbi Dorothy Richman
Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur

There’s no better time to create a space of deep listening in your life, a place you can be entirely present, than the High Holy Days. And even though it’s a personal journey, you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve been bringing meditation to Jewish practice since our beloved teacher, the late Rabbi Alan Lew (z"l), the “Zen Rabbi,” founded Makor Or, the first synagogue-based meditation center, here at Congregation Beth Sholom in 2000. Join Rabbi Richman and Makor Or co-founder, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, to create shared sacred space with song and silence to usher in the new year. Both traditional and creative, this is an invitation to “go deep”

and connect with prayer, with each other, and with the Divine. Rabbi Richman, who guides us on this journey says, “The focus is to pay attention to what is true and real in our bodies and in the present moment. That allows us to slow down and turn inwards, both alone and as part of a community engaged in introspection.”

Leave your shoes outside the door, disconnect from your phone and get comfortable with yourself and with each other, on floor cushions or chairs, enjoying the serenity of Makom Sholom. Rabbi Richman gets things rolling with simple chants to bring us all into a shared space and set our intention: to more deeply hear the rallying voice of the shofar and the kol demama daka (still small voice).


Alternative Music Service with Jeremiah Lockwood
Rosh Hashanah Day 1, Late Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur

Jeremiah Lockwood and his musical guests, including the extraordinary vocalists Terrie Odabi, Fay Victor, and Jewlia Eisenberg, create sacred, spiritual experiences, weaving together old-world cantorial singing and American blues and gospel, along with spiritual music from around the world.  

Jeremiah Lockwood – cantorial singer, guitarist, scholar and PhD candidate at Stanford University – has devoted his life to the notion that music has a unique power to open the body to emotions and ideas in a way that words alone cannot, providing a path to our spiritual selves that’s hard to find elsewhere. In this High Holy Days experience, Jeremiah invites you to open yourself to a variety of spiritual music, some familiar, some not-so-familiar, and some completely unexpected (electric guitar and gospel songs).  

“The new year is not only a moment for rebirth and repentance,” Jeremiah says, “but a moment to open ourselves to the awe-inspiring force of creation that brought the world into being – the creative force that shows itself today through artists creating and sharing their work.” With that in mind, he brings together a group of talented musicians who are dedicated to creating experiences of beauty that touch our deepest emotions.


Family Services
Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur

And Activities for Children - New this year, Camp Beth Sholom!
Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and 2, and Yom Kippur

Bring the whole mishpachah (family)!

Attending High Holy Days services with young children can be challenging. We want our children to hear the shofar, to feel what it’s like to be in synagogue, to experience prayer, to connect with old friends and make new ones. But we also want to take advantage of the High Holy Days to consider our own lives and to explore our grown-up relationships with prayer, repentance, new beginnings, and each other.

To help you make that happen, we have options for kids of all ages. For specific dates and times, please refer to the Camp Beth Sholom schedule on the previous pages. Family Together Services On the mornings of Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and on Yom Kippur, we offer a family service that ’s designed for you to attend with your child(ren) – newborns through kindergarten-age. With “Machzor Katan,” a delightfully illustrated prayer book, we introduce families to the prayers, melodies, and themes of the holidays in a friendly, relaxed space. Come and sing, learn, listen, and pray together as a family. No tickets are required. Camp Beth Sholom Drop-off High Holy Day Activities for children and teens (while adults attend services).

Newborn to Age 5

We provide a supervised, safe place for our youngest children to play, rest, learn and get a taste of the High Holy Days through age-appropriate songs, games, and activities. Snacks are provided. Supervision for children up to age 5 is provided by our preschool staff, and activities take place in our preschool.

Kindergarten - Grade 5

For school-aged children, we explore the themes of the High Holy Days with a variety of activities, including prayer, storytelling, music, and games (like Yom Kippur lawn darts to see if we “miss our mark” or “hit our target,” as we do in teshuvah. There are also (chag-friendly) art projects, discussion time, a visit to nearby Mountain Lake Park for Tashlich (a ritual in which we symbolically cast away our sins), shofar-blowing practice, snacks, and more. Daytime programming includes abbreviated age-appropriate services and Rosh Hashanah Day 1 activities include hearing the shofar service in the Sanctuary.

Teens (Grades 6 - 12)

Join Jennie Neuman, Regional Director of BBYO in the Bay Area, to engage in an exciting service alternative from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. for teens (Grades 6 - 12) on Rosh Hashanah Days 1 and 2 and on Yom Kippur. We look forward to exploring how the High Holy Days messages are applicable in our day-to-day lives while having fun together!

This is a great opportunity to meet more teens, hang out, and explore what being Jewish means today!

For more information about all the Camp Beth Sholom programming, please contact Rebecca Goodman, Director of Lifelong Learning at rgoodman@bethsholomsf.org