High Holy Days 5781

This year’s High Holy Days, marking the start of the year 5781, will begin at sundown on Friday, September 18 and conclude at sundown on Monday, September 28. We warmly invite you to join in community to celebrate this solemn and joyful occasion. 

To keep each other safe, we will not gather in person this year for any of our High Holy Days programs. But our online gatherings will, we hope, connect us to each other and create a genuine sense of community.


Members: You will use the same Zoom link for all services and events, that you received after registering for High Holy Day services. The link will be resent on Sunday, September 27.
Non-members: We invite you to join us online for Kerem Shalom’s High Holy Day services 5781! Please CLICK HERE to register.

Prayer Books

CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the Kerem Shalom High Holy Day Supplement, the booklet with supplemental prayers that will be used during the High Holy Days. 
CLICK HERE to download the Mahzor/Mahzor Hadash for Yom Kippur.

High Holy Days Appeal

As shared in more detail in our High Holy Days Appeal, if you have the financial means to do so, we ask you to consider giving in two ways. First, for your immediate family’s reservations, please consider making a voluntary donation to support the 5781 High Holy Days Appeal. (The suggested amount is $486/family, but any amount is welcome.) Second, as in the past, we recommend that you make a donation of $180 for each adult (post B’nai Mitzvah) member of your extended family or adult child not living at home, and $360 for each adult non-family guest who will be joining us for services on the High Holy Days. You can make your donation online or by sending a check to Kerem Shalom, P.O. Box 1646, Concord, MA 01742. Thank you! We are grateful for your generosity.

High Holy Days Schedule

Online Services, Real Community

Erev Rosh Hashanah
Friday, Sept. 18
7:30–9:00 pm, Community Service

Rosh Hashanah
Saturday, Sept. 19
8:45-9:30 am, Young Family Service
10 am- 12 pm, Community Service
Afternoon/Any time Individual or Family Tashlich

Rosh Hashanah Day 2
Sunday, Sept. 20
10 am–12 pm, Community Service

Erev Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre)
Sunday, Sept. 27
6:20 pm, Musical meditation by the Tiferet String Quartet (New event, see details below)
6:30–8:30 pm, Community Service (note the early start time)

Yom KippurSee details following the calendar of events.
Monday, Sept. 28
8:45–9:30 am, Young Family Service
10 am–12:00 pm, Community Service
2 pm – 2:55 pm, Mindfulness Meditation with Cheryl Steinberg and Scott Sancetta (New event, see details below)
3–3:55 pm, Torah Study with Reb Rachmiel Langer
4 –5 pm, Musaf Musings (See description below)
5:15–6 pm, Mincha (Afternoon Service)
6–6:30 pm, Neilah (Closing Service)
6:30 pm, Havdalah

Enrich Your Experience of Yom Kippur!

Suggestions from Kerem Shalom to make this most holy day of the year a meaningful one for you. . .

Prelude to Kol Nidre (New!)
You are warmly invited to join Zoom 10 minutes prior to the formal start of the Kol Nidre service, at 6:20 pm on Erev Yom Kippur (Sunday), for a pre-recorded musical meditation by the Tiferet String Quartet: the sweet Andante from Schubert’s Quartet No. 13 in A minor, Op. 29 (“Rosamunde”).

Remember Our Loved Ones
Toward the end of morning services on Yom Kippur (Monday), be prepared for a visually stunning and emotionally moving experience: more than 150 photographs of those we remember at Yizkor, accompanied by Rosalie’s beautiful rendition of Mizmor l’David, the 23rd psalm.

Refresh Your Spirit
Yom Kippur is supposed to be a day of prayer, meditation, and fasting, not a continuous Zoom meeting. Rabbi Darby will close morning services with some suggestions for ways to renew yourself before closing services later in the afternoon—take a walk in nature, talk with your family or friends, participate in some of the scheduled afternoon activities below, and more.

Mindfulness Meditation (New!)
At 2:00 pm, KS congregants Cheryl Steinberg and Scott Sancetta will lead Mindfulness Meditation. No prior experience with meditation is required. All you need to do is sit quietly, sink into the awareness of your breath, and as the psalmist wrote, “dwell in the house of Adonai.”

Torah Study
At 3:00 pm, KS congregant Reb Rachmiel Langer will lead a session of Torah Study. Using selections from the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic writings, all of which will be shared on screen, he will guide us in an exploration of deep themes of Yom Kippur and the HIgh Holy Days. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required, just a curious mind and a hungry spirit.

Musaf Musings
At 4:00 pm, you are invited to gather (virtually on Zoom, of course) to share your experience of Yom Kippur afternoon. Where did you walk, and what did you see? What was it like to sit quietly in meditation? Was there something that struck you in the Torah texts you studied, or in the day’s services? We will break into small groups and learn from each other. And if you join five minutes early, at 3:55, you will hear a reprise of the Tiferet Quartet’s musical prelude from Kol Nidre.

Closing Services
At 5:15 pm, we round the final turn of Yom Kippur and head for home. Mincha, the afternoon service, will be highlighted by thoughts from Rabbi Sam about the story of Jonah. Neilah, “the Closing of the Gates,” is the last service of Yom Kippur, completing the arc of the High Holy Days. Havdalah brings Yom Kippur to a close—and it’s the moment for KS members to light the many-wicked candle and smell the sweet spices we received in our KS@Home kits. If you attend morning services on Yom Kippur, or even if you don’t, you are warmly encouraged to return for Mincha, Neilah, and Havdalah.

Our services this year will not simply be our usual High Holy Days services broadcast to your living room. They will be shorter—we know there is a limit to how long anyone can sit in front of a Zoom screen! Rabbi Darby, KS Cantor Rosalie, Family Engagement Specialist Nancy, and Director of Congregational Learning Rabbi Sam, in collaboration with their colleagues around the world, are crafting new outlines for the Days of Awe, designed to create real community through online presence. All of our most precious and meaningful moments will be included—from singing Avinu Malkeinu to hearing the shofar and the Tiferet Ensemble, from the ASL Choir and Rabbi Darby’s thought-provoking sermons to our children’s inspired interpretation of Jonah—along with new elements and perspectives.

You will see innovative opportunities for our younger members to participate in the High Holy Days. In addition to Young Family Services led by Nancy and Rabbi Sam on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur mornings, Rabbi Sam is planning activities to engage school-age children and teens, leading up to and during the holidays. 

The High Holy Days Committee

Marty Plotkin, co-chair
Elisabeth Sackton, co-chair
Deborah Alevy
Jan Huber O’Callaghan
Dan Knapp
John Langell
David Luberoff
Lloyd Simon
Jon Sutton
Deena Whitfield