High Holy Days Services at Kerem Shalom – Welcome to All!

We welcome in the New Year 5778 together and you are invited to join us! 

High Holy Days Schedule:

  • Erev Rosh Hashanah Community Service – Wednesday, September 20th at 7:30 p.m.
  • Rosh Hashanah first day – Thursday, September 21st
    • Young Family Service – 8:30m.
    • Community Service – 10:00 am
    • Tashlich at the Old North Bridge, Concord – 4:30 p.m.
  • Rosh Hashanah second day Community Service – Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m.
  • Kol Nidre - Erev Yom Kippur – Friday, September 29th at 7:30 p.m.
  • Yom Kippur – Saturday, September 30th
    • Young Family Service – 8:30m.
    • Community Service – 10:00 a.m.
    • Yizkor (Memorial Service) – 12:30 p.m.
    • Meditative Yoga – 2:00 p.m.
    • Torah Study – 3:00 p.m.
    • Musical Musaf Service – 4:15 p.m.
    • Mincha (Afternoon Service) – 5:00 p.m.
    • Neilah (Closing Service) and Break-Fast – 6:00 p.m.

Complete High Holy Days Information for Members can be found here.

High Holy Days Reservations & Attendance Form

Description of Services & Programs

Community Evening Services will begin at 7:30 pm in the Social Hall. Please note that Rabbi Darby will deliver his Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur sermons at the Evening Services on Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Yom Kippur.

Young Family Morning Services, led by Family Education Director Nancy Kaplan, will begin at 8:30 am in the Sanctuary and last about an hour. They will include lots of singing, storytelling and thought-provoking discussion, as well as some out-of-your-seat movement. On Rosh Hashanah, the Young Family Service will conclude with the blowing of the Shofar. Young Family Yom Kippur services will conclude at the end of the day with Mincha and Neilah (see below). Families attending these services are encouraged to stay for at least the family-friendly start of the Community Morning Services, either with their children or using child care.

Community Morning Services, led by Rabbi Darby and cantorial soloist Rosalie Gerut, will begin at 10:00 am in the Social Hall. Conducted in a mixture of English and Hebrew (all transliterated), these spiritually fulfilling services will engage the multi-generational span of our community. Morning Community Services will end around 12:45 pm. On Yom Kippur, the Community Service will continue without pause into Yizkor, the memorial service. Community Yom Kippur services will conclude at the end of the day with Mincha and Neilah (see below).

Of course parents know best what to expect from their children, but as a guideline we believe Family Services will be appropriate for families with children in preschool through 2nd or 3rd grade, and Community Services for those with children in 3rd or 4th  grade and up. Please know that children of all ages are welcome in the Community service if they choose. It is quite customary for children (and adults, for that matter!) to take breaks and return. In the interest of supporting a multi-generational community, we happily accommodate the resulting movement and murmuring.

Tashlich will be held on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, rain or shine, at the Old North Bridge in Concord. We gather next to a moving body of water and cast away breadcrumbs to symbolically release the last year’s regrets and contemplate what we wish to draw from the water to nourish us as we enter the New Year.

Second Day Rosh Hashanah morning services will be led by long-time Kerem Shalom member David Orlinoff. For 29 years David has led this illuminating, uplifting service. It’s a great way for adults and families to more fully experience the start of our new year.

Yizkor, the Memorial Service on Yom Kippur afternoon, provides an opportunity to witness the ongoing presence of our ancestors in our own lives. The Yom Kippur Morning Service continues into Yizkor without pause.

You are invited to sustain the contemplative mood of Yom Kippur with Meditative Yoga, led by Susan Chormann, and Torah Study, led by Reb Rachmiel Langer. The Musical Musaf Service, with the Tiferet String Quartet,  will provide a restful and spiritual prelude to Mincha and Neilah.

Mincha, the afternoon service, will be highlighted by a dramatic presentation of the story of Jonah by Nancy and Kerem Shalom teens. Neilah, “the Closing of the Gates,” is the last service of Yom Kippur, completing the arc of the High Holy Days. It is a meaningful, moving and fulfilling service for all ages. All who attend morning services on Yom Kippur are warmly encouraged to return for Mincha, Neilah and the community Break-Fast that follows.

Honors (readings, ritual participation, etc.) during Services: We are experimenting this year with a new system for distributing honors ahead of time. If you would like to participate in services in this way, please let us know by August 20 by emailing Elisabeth Sackton, VP of Spiritual Life, esacktonatgmaildotcom  (esacktonatgmaildotcom)  . If you would like to  chant from the Torah, please email David Orlinoff, orlinoffat1cfodotcom  (orlinoffat1cfodotcom)  .

Child Care

We will provide child care for children 2 years old and older during Erev Rosh Hashanah, first and second day Rosh Hashanah, Erev Yom Kippur, and Yom Kippur morning and Yizkor services. Child care will be staffed with teen volunteers from Kerem Shalom, under the supervision of an adult. Children are welcome in child care for the entire service, or you can bring them over when they get restless. The space will be set up with holiday-inspired crafts, books, toys, games, and snacks. There is no charge for child care

Parents and their babies under 2 years old are also welcome to join us in child care. Audio from the sanctuary will be piped in so parents can hear what’s happening. Older children are also welcome if they need a break from the Community services. 

But wait! There’s more!

Following on the heels of Yom Kippur are the festivals of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Sukkot is a time of transition from self-reflection and repentance to Z’man Simchateinu, “the season of our joy.” It’s the one time of the year that we are commanded to celebrate outside!  By eating and spending time in the sukkah, we celebrate our harvest and our blessings as we commemorate our ancient ancestors’ wanderings. On Sunday morning, Oct. 1, the day after Yom Kippur, come to the temple for our Sukkah Raising Party, with brunch, outdoor games and fun for all. Kerem Shalom’s community Sukkot dinner will be on Friday evening, Oct. 6.

Simchat Torah (“Joy of Torah”) celebrates the completion of the annual cycle of reading the Torah and the beginning of a new cycle. Kerem Shalom will observe Simchat Torah on Friday evening, Oct. 13. We will unroll the entire scroll, read the closing and opening passages and re-roll it. Then we will share snacks and drinks, and dance with the Torah to Klezmer tunes provided by Kerem Shalom’s own musicians. Enjoy our community at its liveliest!

Please watch The Grapevine and Next Week at KS for more details about Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

With our best wishes to you and your loved ones for the coming New Year,

The High Holy Days Committee
Susan Brager Murphy (Chair)
Jessica Busiek
Laura Heideman-Dowd
John Langell
Susan Phillips
Marty Plotkin
Pam Rockwell
Elisabeth Sackton
Lloyd Simon


If you have any questions about the High Holy Days that are not answered here, please contact Jessica Busiek at the Kerem Shalom office 978-369-1223, or email ksadminatkeremshalomdotorg  (ksadminatkeremshalomdotorg)