High Holy Days

HIGH HOLY DAYS 5781/2020

What you need to know to see our services in your home

This year, all of our High Holy Day services will be broadcast on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Here is all you have to do to attend the services at home…

TO WATCH ON ZOOM — See the schedule below. Next to each service or study session there is a “Click Here” button. Simply click on the button and you will be joined to the service or study session.

TO WATCH ON FACEBOOK LIVE — Go to Facebook and open the page for “Congregation Beth Israel Judea”. The livestream of the service should appear on the home page. If not, select “videos” and you will find the livestream there.

Here is the schedule with the links…

Friday, September 18 – 8:00pm
Click Here

Saturday, September 19
STUDY OF PSALMS (Rabbi Barth) – 9:00am
Click Here
Click Here

Sunday, September 20
MORNING SERVICE (B’nai Emunah & Ner Tamid)
Click Here

Click Here

Sunday, September 27 – 8:00pm
Click Here

Monday, September 28
STUDY OF PSALMS (Rabbi Barth) – 9:00am
Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

STUDY SESSION #1 (Rabbi Gottlieb) – 12:15pm
Click Here

STUDY SESSION #2 (To Be Announced) – 1:30pm
Click Here

STUDY SESSION #3 (Rabbi Barth) – 2:45pm
Click Here

MUSIC & MEDITATION (Rabbis & Ricki) – 4:00pm
Click Here

Click Here

YIZKOR – 6:15pm
Click Here

Click Here

HAVDALAH (Rabbi Barth) – 7:45pm
Click Here



This year, in addition to our High Holy Day services, which will be broadcast on Zoom and Facebook Live, we will be holding a limited number of “in-person” events.

All of the “in-person” events will require masks and social distancing, in accordance with local health department regulations.

Here is a list and description of all of the “in-person” events of this High Holy Day season.


ROSH HASHANAH 2nd Day – Sunday, September 20

2nd DAY ROSH HASHANAH HIKE with Rabbi & Ricki -10:00am
The hike will begin at Pacifica Pier. We will maintain social distancing and all music will be recorded (no singing). Masks required.

We will meet at the bridge at the south end of Lake Merced, where we symbolically cast away our sins (casting bits of stale bread into the water) and welcome a year of goodness and blessing, led by Rabbi Gottlieb.

Come in your cars, roll down your windows, and hear the sounds of the Shofar. Don’t forget to bring your masks, so you can talk with friends, (keeping your cars 6 feet apart). We will be joined for this service by our friends from B’nai Emunah.

There will be another opportunity for Tashlich, led by Rabbi Elisheva Salamo. Meet at Ocean Beach and Taraval.


YOM KIPPUR – Monday, September 28

PERSONAL PRAYERS at the ARK – 3:00pm
This year you are invited to offer personal prayers before the Ark set up in the Courtyard at BIJ.
(Social distancing will be observed. Masks required.)

Get in your car and drive to BIJ for a conclusion to our High Holy Days. Roll down your windows and we will make Havdalah together, led by Rabbi Gottlieb and Canorial Soloists Ariela Morgenstern and Ricki Weintraub, followed by a “drive-thru” around the BIJ building where you can pick up a “Break-the-Fast To-Go Box”.


10 Ways to Make Your Home a Sacred Space for Worship…

With the sheltering in place due to the pandemic, and restrictions on group gatherings, our kitchens have become our classroom, our basements are our yoga studios, and the dining room has become our office. Where then, is our synagogue?

The rabbis asked this same question right after the destruction of the Temple. Without a localized place of worship, how could we pray together? We are the inheritors of their answer: every home will be transformed into a “mikdash m’at,” a miniature sanctuary, a holy place. Our current challenge is to create a sacred space at home while we sit in front of our computers on Zoom or Facebook Live. What can help us create both the spiritual mindset and the spiritual refuge that transform the space from “ordinary” to “sacred”?

Watching the services this year, we will certainly miss being in person together, sitting and standing close to friends and family, listening to our cantorial soloists and our choir, and singing in harmony all the familiar melodies. But we will be “together”–from the safety of our own homes. This year, we have a unique opportunity to create a sacred space in our home–a mikdash m’at-for the High Holy Days and beyond.

Here are ten suggestions to help you enhance the High Holy Day experience at home, while creating a communal atmosphere for us all. Families can easily adapt these activities to involve children in making a special mikdash space. You can find good resources HERE.
We appreciate the time and effort it takes to make your mikdash m’at a reality. Think of it as a “work in progress!”

Please don’t be overwhelmed or hard on yourself if you cannot do all these things. Do whatever is possible and comfortable for your own living situation. There are no “musts” and no judgement!


May these ten suggestions add joy and meaning to your observances…

1. Choose your prayer space carefully in advance, by spending a few moments of individual contemplation/family discussion. Look at any possible space and think about some ways to make it different and special.

2. Once you have chosen your space, say a blessing or kavannah (“intention”) over it to mark it as your mikdash m’at. Suggestions of verses and blessings are below.

3. What chair will you sit on? Put a cushion or festive pillow on it, or drape it with a tallit, special piece of fabric, or scarf.

4. Change where you put your computer from a work space to a contemplative space by covering the desk or table with a white tablecloth, white runner, or white placemat, and a vase of flowers.

5. Find meaningful objects to grace your space. On Rosh Hashana include holiday objects like candlesticks and kiddush cup, apples and honey. On Yom Kippur you can place cherished mementoes, family heirlooms, and photos of loved ones to surround you. If you own a shofar, put it where it’s visible.

6. If possible, move the computer space back so that you are “watching” the screen more than “manipulating” it. Consider connecting your computer to a TV screen so it feels less like a work device.

7. Try to limit or disconnect auditory distractions. You can turn off your email and text message ping sounds, and/or close your email program and other apps so you can be fully present during the service.

8. Wear clothing that makes you feel as if you are entering a spiritual space. Kippah and tallit are welcome if they help you express a connection to this special worship.

9. You may want to have a machzor (High Holy Day prayer book) with you, just like on past High Holy Days when we gathered at the synagogue. As you feel its cover and edges and flip its pages, remember the times you’ve used it before–who you sat with, what moved you in the service, the first time you used it, etc. The prayers will be on the screen, but even so, having a machzor means you can participate more fully.

To order a set of High Holy Day prayer books, Click Here.
You can pick them up at the synagogue on Friday afternoon between 12:00 and 1:00pm.

10. Historically, many synagogues have decorative work on the walls to adorn the sanctuary and mark it as sacred space. You may wish to find some Jewish artwork or to make a poster to decorate your worship space. This will help to establish it as “sacred space” for the duration of the High Holy Days.

Please don’t be overwhelmed or hard on yourself if you cannot do all these things. Do whatever is possible and comfortable for your own living situation. There are no “musts” and no judgement!

Seven verses and blessings to help create your sacred space/mikdash m’at:

1. Numbers 24:5

יַעֲקֹ֑ב מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶ֖יךָ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ אֹהָלֶ֖יךָמַה־טֹּ֥בוּ
Ma Tovu ohalecha Yaakov, miskenotecha Yisrael
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, Your sacred places, O Israel!

2. Birkat Habayit (home blessing):
הַשַּׁעַר לֹא יָבוֹא צַעַרבְּזֶה
בְּזֹאת הַדִּירָה לֹא תָבוֹא צָרָה
תָבוֹא בֶּהָלָה הַדֶּלֶת לֺאבְּזֹאת
בְּזֹאת הַמַּחְלָקָה לֺא תָבוֹא מַחְלוֺקֶת.
בְּזֶה הַמָּקוֺם תְּהִי בְרָכָה וְשָׁלוֺם
Bazeh hasha-ar lo yavo tza-ar Let no sorrow come through this gate.
B’zot hadirah lo tavo tzarah Let no trouble come in this dwelling.
B’zot hadelet lo tavo behalah Let no fright come through this door.
B’zot hamachlakah lo tavo machloket Let no conflict come to this section.
B’zeh hamakom t’hi brachah v’shalom Let there be blessing and peace in
this place.

3. Exodus 20:21:
בְּכָל־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַזְכִּ֣יר אֶת־שְׁמִ֔י אָב֥וֹא אֵלֶ֖יךָ וּבֵרַכְתִּֽיךָ
B’chol hamakom asher azkir et shemi avo eylecha u”veyrachticha
In every place where My name is mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.

4. Exodus 3:5
כִּ֣י הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ עוֹמֵ֣ד עָלָ֔יו אַדְמַת־קֹ֖דֶשׁ הֽוּא׃
Ki hamakom asher ata omed alav admat kodesh hu
Indeed, the place on which you stand is holy ground.

5. Psalms 121:8
וּבוֹאֶ֑ךָ מֵֽ֝עַתָּ֗ה וְעַד־עוֹלָֽם׃יְֽהוָ֗ה יִשְׁמָר־צֵאתְךָ֥
Adonai yishmor tzeytcha u’vo-echa mayatah v’ad olam
Adonai will guard your going and coming, now and forever.

6. The last line of the blessing said at havdalah separating Shabbat from weekday can be used to “separate” this sacred space:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ הַמַבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחוֹל
Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bayn kodesh lechol.
Blessed are You Adonai, who separates between holy and ordinary.

7. The traditional prayer for healing can be used to “heal” a space too:
רופא כל בשר ומפליא לעשות’ אתה הברוך
Baruch atah Adonai, rofeh kol basar, u’maflee la’asot.
Praised are You Adonai, healer of all flesh, doing wonders.



“Will there be Children’s Services this year?”

Yes, there will be Children’s Services for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. You can find them (pre-recorded) on our Facebook Page in the video section, and you can watch them at whatever time is convenient for you and your family.

“What is the best way to watch the services?”

We recommend that you dress as you would for the synagogue, sit comfortably at home, and if possible, connect your computer to your TV screen using an HDMI cable. (Everything which is on your computer screen will then appear on the TV.) This will give you a larger screen on which to view the services.

“Do I need a MAHZOR (High Holy Day Prayerbook) to follow the services?”

All of the prayers will be displayed on the screen during the services. However,


Click Here and select “Rosh Hashanah Home Kit” to order your set(s) of prayerbooks, including a new copy of Rabbi Morris’ “Hear Our Prayer” mahzor. You can pick them up at BIJ on Friday, September 18th. You will also receive a High Holy Day gift box containing a round challah, a jar of honey, and some other treats as a gift from the synagogue.

L’shanah Tova Tikateyvu
May you be Inscribed for a Good New Year!