We invite you to join with us in community for the High Holy Days, which will begin at sundown on Friday, September 15, 2023, and continue through Simchat Torah, which we will celebrate on Friday, October 6.
Almost all of this year’s Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and activities will be held both in-person at Kerem Shalom and via Zoom. The exceptions are Tashlich, which we will share together in person only at the Old North Bridge on Sunday, September 17, the second day of Rosh Hashanah; and the Yom Kippur afternoon learning programs, which also will not be available via Zoom.
As we approach these solemn and joyful holy days, we look forward to repeating long-standing rituals; some of them centuries-old practices done by Jews around the world and some of them decades-long traditions that are unique to Kerem Shalom. At the same time, the High Holy Days are an entirely new experience every time we come to this point in the cycle of the year. As they have always done, this year’s High Holy Days will provide an opportunity to reflect on where we are, individually and collectively, and to consider what we want to keep nourishing and what we hope to change in the coming year.
We also hope you will join us in whatever ways are best for you. We are glad that for the first time since 2019, those who choose to do so can be unmasked in our communal gatherings. At the same time, we also embrace those who choose to be masked when they join us in person and those who choose to join us online.
We look forward to being with you as we come together and say “hineni”: I am here; we are here; and we open our hearts for whatever the new year will bring.
REGISTRATION FOR SERVICES (IN-PERSON & ONLINE)
Members and non-members must register to attend services—whether attending in-person or online.
The button below will take you to an online registration form. After you submit that form you will receive a confirmation email.
If you are planning on attending any in-person services—Before Rosh Hashanah you will receive an email from Kerem Shalom with a Reservation Card to print out and bring with you when you come to services. You should share the reservation card with any family members or guests who will be arriving separately. (If you, your family members, or your guests forget to bring it, check in at the table in the atrium.)
If you are planning on attending any services online—you will need to register for the Zoom link. The Zoom registration link will be on the last page of the registration form; it also will be in the email confirmation you will receive after you submit the registration form. Please share that link with any family members or guests who will be logging on from separate devices. We will resend the link, which is the same for all services, before the start of both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
If you have already registered for in-person services, but your plans have changed and you would like to attend some services online, CLICK HERE to register for the Zoom link.
If you registered for the High Holy Days by Wednesday morning, September 13, 2023, you should have received a “Registration Confirmation” email to print out and bring with you to services. If you register(ed) after that time, please stop by the registration desk, and we will give you a registration card.
HIGH HOLY DAYS APPEAL
We acknowledge the deep commitment members of Kerem Shalom make to sustain our sacred community and we note that the beginning of a New Year offers an opportunity to give Tzedakah (contribute financially), to support Kerem Shalom in being a dynamic, program-rich, spiritually nourishing community.
While gifts of any amount are appreciated, we ask that you consider giving in two ways. First, please consider making a voluntary donation to support the 5784 High Holy Days Appeal; we suggest a donation of $540/family. However, gifts of other amounts—which traditionally are done in multiples of Chai (18)—are welcome. In addition, if you will be joined by an adult family member (post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah) who is not living at home or a non-family guest for our High Holy Day services, we ask that you make a donation of $180 for each non-resident member of your extended family and $360 for each adult non-family guest.
Thank you for supporting KS!
MEMBERS, PLEASE VOLUNTEER TO HELP
Helping before, during, and after the High Holy Days is an enjoyable and rewarding way to get ready for the holidays, to meet and connect with other members, and to help the community. Opportunities include helping set up the social hall for services, welcoming people to services, handing out prayer books, and helping set up and clean up the extended outdoor Kiddush that will follow services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and the modest break-fast that will follow the closing services on Yom Kippur.
Members, CLICK HERE to see and sign up for one of the many volunteer opportunities.
PROGRAMMING FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS
Children of all ages are welcome at all services—and, as described below—many elements of various community services are particularly appropriate for children. In addition, child care will be available throughout most of our High Holy Day services. In particular,
- Childcare for children 3-to-9 years old will be available at the evening services for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; from 9:30 am-12:30 pm on Rosh Hashanah; and on Yom Kippur from 9:30 am until the end of Yizkor.
- Age-appropriate programming for students in grades 3 through 6 will be offered by Rabbi Sam on Rosh Hashanah during the Torah services and on Yom Kippur during both the Torah service and Yizkor.
- Childcare and supervised activities and snacks for children ages 3 and up will be offered during the Yom Kippur afternoon services, which start at 5 pm. Children are welcome to drop in if they need a short break or a snack.
When registering for services, please indicate if a member of your family or your guests are likely to want childcare or supervised activities. Doing so will help us plan those offerings.
SCHEDULE OF SERVICES & ACTIVITIES
(Scroll down for full descriptions of services & programs)
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Friday, Sep 15, 2023
7:00 pm – Community Service, in-person and online with live captioning available for those attending via Zoom
Childcare for ages 3 to 9 will be available.
Please note: Rabbi Darby will deliver his main Rosh Hashanah sermon at this service.
Saturday, Sep 16, 2023
8:30 am – Early Childhood Family Service, in-person, with ASL, and online
10:00 am – Community Service, in-person and online, with live captioning for those attending via Zoom
All children are welcome during the community service. We also will offer childcare primarily geared to young children (ages 3 to 9). Students in grades 3 to 6 are invited to come to the first part of the service and then to join in age-appropriate holiday activities with Rabbi Sam during the Torah Service. Students will return for a special blessing during the Shofar Service.
12:30 pm – Kiddush following the Rosh Hashanah service.
Note that because the first day of Rosh Hashanah is Shabbat, Tashlich will be held on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
Rosh Hashanah Day 2
Sunday, Sep 17, 2023
10:00 am – Community Service led by David Orlinoff (for the 36th consecutive year), in-person and online, with Zoom AI-captioning
4:00 pm – Tashlich at the Old North Bridge – At the Monument Street entrance (NOT Liberty Street). Please note this service will not be available via Zoom.
- Please refrain from going near the bulkhead and shoreline, for safety reasons.
- Please don’t throw breadcrumbs into the river as they disrupt the ecosystem.
- Instead, we ask that you please only throw leaves.
Erev Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre)
Sunday, Sep. 24, 2023
6:00 pm – Community Service, in-person and online, with live captioning
Childcare for ages 3 to 9 will be available.
Please note: Rabbi Darby will deliver his main Yom Kippur sermon at this service.
Monday, Sep. 25, 2023
8:30 am – Early Childhood Family Service, in-person, with ASL captioning and online
10:00 am – Community Service, in-person and online, with live captioning
All children are welcome during the community service. We also will offer childcare primarily geared to young children (ages 3 to 9). Students in grades 3 to 6 are invited to come to the first part of the service and then to join in age-appropriate holiday activities with Rabbi Sam during the Torah Service and, optionally, continuing through Yizkor.
12:30 pm – Yizkor (Memorial Service), in-person and online, with live captioning
See below for information on the Yizkor slide show and how to submit photos.
2:00 pm – Torah Study, with Rabbi Sam, in-person only
3:00 pm – Mindfulness Meditation, with Scott Sancetta, in-person only
4:00 pm – Musical Musaf Service, with Tiferet Ensemble, in-person only
For those at home, CLICK HERE to view the Musical Musaf video from 2020.
5:00 pm – Mincha (Afternoon Service), in-person and online, with live captioning
Childcare and supervised activities and snacks for children ages 3 and up will be offered during all Yom Kippur afternoon services.
6:00 pm – Neilah (Closing Service), in-person and online, with live captioning
7:00 pm – Havdalah, in-person and online, with live captioning
7:15 pm – Community Break Fast
- You are welcome to break your fast with light snacks that will be available after Havdalah.
- You are also welcome to join us for a community potluck Break Fast.
RSVPs are required by Friday, September 22, 2023.
Please CLICK HERE to sign up.
Below are links to sections of the prayer book you can use if you are attending some services online.
Here are links to sections of the prayer book that we will use for the services that will be available online. You should also download the High Holy Days Supplement which is used in all of those services.
High Holy Days Mahzor:
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah Morning
Yom Kippur Maariv-Kol Nidre
Yom Kippur Morning
Yom Kippur Afternoon
High Holy Days Supplement
If you are attending online and prefer to have a hard copy of the prayer book and supplement, please contact the Temple Administrator to arrange a time to either pick up a prayer book or, if you are unable to come to Kerem Shalom, we can have someone drop it off. You can reach the administrator by email at or by phone at 978-369-1223 ext. 0.
DESCRIPTIONS OF SERVICES & PROGRAMS
Community Evening Services will begin online at 7:00 pm on Erev Rosh Hashanah and 6:00 pm on Erev Yom Kippur. As has been his recent practice, Rabbi Darby will deliver his Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur sermons at the evening services. Childcare for children ages 3 to 9 will be available at both services.
Early Childhood Family Services, led by Director of Congregational Learning Rabbi Sam Pollak, will begin at 8:30 am and last about an hour. These services are highly participatory and include lots of music and storytelling as well as some out-of-your-seat movement. Early Childhood Family Services are appropriate for families with children in preschool through 2nd grade, though all ages are welcome to join the festivities. On Rosh Hashanah, the Young Family Service will conclude with the blowing of the Shofar.
Community Morning Services, led by Rabbi Darby and KS Cantor Rosalie Gerut, will begin at 10:00 am. Conducted in a mixture of English and Hebrew (all transliterated), these spiritually fulfilling services will engage the multi-generational span of our community. On Yom Kippur, the Community Service will continue without pause into Yizkor, the Memorial Service. Childcare for children ages 3 to 9 will be available. Children in grades 3 to 6 (and any younger children who want to join their parents) are warmly invited to join the first hour of community service before leaving with Rabbi Sam who will lead breakout activities geared to children in grades 3 to 6 that will last until the start of the Shofar service on Rosh Hashanah and the end of Yizkor on Yom Kippur.
Second Day Rosh Hashanah Morning Services will be led for the 36th year in a row by long-time Kerem Shalom member David Orlinoff. It’s a great way for adults and families to more fully experience the start of our new year. Come see why this year’s service will be especially sweet!
Tashlich on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah, will be held rain or shine, at the Old North Bridge in Concord on the second day of Rosh Hashanah (because the first day is Shabbat). During this family and child-friendly service, we will cast small stones, sticks, or leaves into the moving water to symbolically release last year’s regrets and contemplate what we wish to draw from the water to nourish us as we enter the New Year. (Please note that this service will not be available online.)
Yizkor, the Memorial Service immediately after the morning service on Yom Kippur, provides an opportunity to witness the ongoing presence of our now-deceased loved ones in our lives. The online service will end with a slide show of those we are remembering. The slide show will also be available on the KS Member Portal following Yom Kippur. See below for details on how to submit photos.
Torah Study and Mindfulness Meditation You are invited to sustain the contemplative mood of Yom Kippur with in-person Torah Study led by Rabbi Sam Pollak, our Director of Congregational Learning, and Mindfulness Meditation, led by Scott Sancetta, which will also be offered in-person only.
The Musical Musaf Service, with the Tiferet String Ensemble, will provide a musical and spiritual prelude to Mincha, Neilah, and Havdalah. This will also be in-person only. Those viewing remotely can CLICK HERE to view the Musical Musaf video from 2020 when our services were online.
Mincha, the afternoon service, will include a creative reading of the Book of Jonah.
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 and fulfilling service for all ages. Everyone is warmly encouraged to return (in-person or via Zoom) for this moving service. We will then conclude with a very short Havdalah service. After the service, a light snack will be available for everyone. We also will have a community potluck Break Fast.
CLICK HERE to register here for the community Break Fast.
RSVPs are required by Friday, September 22, 2023.
PARKING FOR HIGH HOLY DAYS
Because many people are planning on attending in-person services, the parking lot will quickly fill up. Parking lot volunteers will let you know if space is available and where you should park. If you are directed to park on the grass or the sidewalk please make sure all four wheels are off the pavement, which will ensure that the fire lane remains open. Please do not park in spaces designated for Handicap Accessible Parking unless your vehicle has a handicap tag. If you do not have a handicap tag but someone in your party has mobility challenges, please drop them off in the front circle and then park elsewhere. In addition, please do not park in the circle near the entrance.
Once the parking lot is full, you can park on the “other side” of Elm Street or on two, nearby side streets—Nimrod Drive and Coburn Hill Road—that are on the left when heading down Elm Street towards Concord Center. Please do not block any driveways when parking on the street, and please do not park in any of the lots on Elm Street across from Kerem Shalom (at the Best Western, the office building at 676 Elm Street, or the now-closed Papa Razzi restaurant).
YIZKOR SLIDE SHOW PHOTOS
For those who are online, the Yizkor service will be followed by a visual memorial slideshow. After Yom Kippur, those who attend the Yizkor service in person can view the slide show, which will be on the KS Member Portal.
If you submitted a photo last year, we will be using it again, and there’s no need to resubmit it.
If you would like to add an additional photo to the slide show, please send it in as soon as possible—by September 8, by 5 pm, at the latest. If the photo is not in a digital form, you can scan it OR take a picture of it with your phone.
To submit new photos:
- Email it to as an attachment
- Upload it to the cloud app of your choice (Google Photos, DropBox, etc.), and send an email to including a link to the photo. (Please remember to include login permissions or credentials if required.)
- Please include the name of the person in the photograph.
- If you need help email us at
JOIN US ON SUKKOT
Please join us at Kerem Shalom as we celebrate Sukkot, which begins on Friday, September 29, 2023.
- Tuesday, September 26, 4-6 pm – Sukkah building
- Friday, September 29 – Sukkah decorating from 5-6:30 pm, followed by dinner from 6:30-7:30 pm
Look for more details in upcoming KS Weekly News emails.
CELEBRATE SIMCHAT TORAH WITH KS
On Friday, October 6, we will celebrate Simchat Torah (“Joy of Torah”) when we complete the annual cycle of reading the Torah. Our festivities, which will be in-person only, will include:
- A Tot Shabbat from 5:45-to-6:15 pm
- A Community Dinner from 6:30-7:30 pm
- A Simchat Torah Celebration with Dancing from 7:30 – 9 pm (led by Rabbi Darby & Rosalie with Kerem Shalom’s Klezmer Band)
We are mindful that COVID infection rates have been rising. The COVID Task Force and Kerem Shalom’s Board of Directors continue to closely track the public health guidelines for COVID, which have not changed. However, we are mindful that gathering together as a large group presents more risk of transmitting COVID and other respiratory infections (such as the flu, RSV, and colds). Therefore, we encourage you to care for yourself and wear a mask if you so choose. High-quality (KN95) masks will be available in the atrium for anyone who would like to use one. We also reiterate: if you have symptoms, please join us on Zoom but do not come to Kerem Shalom in person. And if you have recently had a known COVID exposure, please consider participating on Zoom. If you have been exposed and still choose to attend in-person services, please test for COVID before you come to services, and wear a high quality mask while you are in the building.
CLICK HERE to see Kerem Shalom’s current COVID policies.
We look forward to seeing you, other members, and special guests at the High Holidays either in-person or online.
With our best wishes to you and your loved ones for the coming New Year,
High Holy Days Committee:
Elisabeth Sackton (Co-Chair)
David Luberoff (Co-Chair)
Marty Plotkin (Co-chair)