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Days of Awe: JRC High Holiday 5781 Overview

Shana tova haverim! We can't wait to see your faces for the New Year. Take a look at our full schedule of JRC High Holiday experiences. Rabbi Weiss, Cantor Friedland, Rabbi Eber, and our staff and lay leadership look forward to welcoming a new, different but very sweet year together.

We know that this year is hard. We are all feeling elements of loss and disappointment that we cannot be in person. One of the most heartening parts of reading our survey responses was that the thing most people will miss is physically being with our community and seeing JRC friends. While this is painful, it demonstrates that the heart of JRC is the relationships our members have with one another and with this community, and that is still here.

Public Health is a Jewish Value. Saving a Life is a Jewish Value. Please know that our High Holiday Team, our COVID leadership team and our board have been wrestling with and dreaming up ways we can celebrate that mitigates risk and keeps our community as safe as we can. We look forward to new and innovative ways to make our High Holidays meaningful this year, as our JRC Ritual Programming will take place online.


If you do plan on gathering with fellow JRC members in person, we hope you'll use our JRC Congregational Covenant to guide your practices and activities. For more information about member-led Community Building activities, email Jerry Herst or Monica Lasky.

 Click here to see JRC's COVID-19 Community Covenant


Days of Awe: JRC High Holiday Overview

Please note that all of our JRC High Holiday Rituals (with the exception of one Tashlich option) will take place online. While these services, rituals and experiences will not look like typical services, they will contain the essential elements from our JRC traditions and new and creative modalities


Quick Links: SelichotErev Rosh Hashanah | Rosh Hashanah Day 1 & 2 | Days of Awe | Yom Kippur | Family Programming | Sermons, Readings, & Reflections | Resources

How to Join In for Members

All current members will receive an email with Zoom links to join our High Holiday services and activities (look for the email around September 9 and a reminder will be sent just before the Holidays). If you have not yet renewed now is the time! Click here to access your JRC renewal form. If you need any help accessing Zoom, or would like some one-on-one coaching, email us at We have a team of volunteers ready to reach out!


How to Invite Friends

We would love for you to invite your friends and relatives from all over to share the JRC High Holiday experience. Rather than charging a ticket fee, we are asking non-members to register, and encouraging donations to support our High Holiday budget. If you know someone who would like to join us, please share this non-member registration link.


Selichot: The Gateway to the High Holidays

As we prepare for this year, how do we keep track of our blessings? In a time of so much struggle, how might we "count our blessings?" We open the High Holidays with the first shofar blast, and the chance to do Heshbon Nefesh – an accounting of our souls. By candlelight we prepare the Torah scrolls for the Days of Awe, and open our hearts for a very personal Al Chet.

As has become our custom, we recognize that all of us have committed wrongs/chataim. This year at Selichot we'll gather and confess our wrongs anonymously, which will be shared collectively over the course of Yom Kippur.

Saturday, September 12
  • 8:00 - 9:00 pm Rabbi Weiss teaches: Blessing the New Year:An Acrostic of Blessings
  • 9:00 - 10:00 pm Rabbi Weiss and Cantor Friedland lead Selichot Services

This Night is Different: An Erev Rosh Hashanah Seder

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Friday, September 18 at home and individually

A Complete Rosh Hashanah Seder, full of history, symbols and suggestions.

This is great if you are looking for a full guide to a new tradition.  Created by the Charles and Lynne Schusterman Foundation

JRC Rosh Hashanah Seder Symbols This JRC-created Seder guide gives you 6 foods (Fish Heads, Carrots, Green Beans, Beets, Dates and Pomegranates) to eat during your Shabbat Dinner /Seder, with guiding questions for personal growth and social justice.

This One-Page printable photo is a suggestion of symbolic foods to eat, discuss, and represent various blessings for the New Year.

Tekiah! The call for Return and Renew from chaos toward creation

Rosh Hashanah Day: Saturday, September 19. 
  • 9:00 - 9:30am: Young Family Service with Stories and Songs
    • This program is aimed for families with children in Pre K through 2nd grade. Adults are welcome to join!
    • Engaging and uplifting services for children and families that are 30 minutes, featuring stories, songs, movement and creative interaction. Our Pre K service will be led by Rabbi David, with Early Childhood Center Director Shelli Patt and Religious School Pre K teacher Fran Landt. 
  • 10:00 - 11:30am: Rosh Hashanah Service
    • Main community Rosh Hashanah service, including Avinu Malkeinu, Unetaneh Tokef, the music of our choir, sermon by our rabbi, reflections and poetry and the sounds of the Shofar.
    • Feel free to stay in this Zoom call lobby and schmooze with fellow members and High Holidays visitors.
  • 11:45am – 12:15pm: Torah Service with Torah and Haftarah Reading
  • 2:00 – 3:00pm: Envisioning Mentschy-ness: A Rosh Hashanah Vision Board: Family programming designed for all ages, including high schoolers.
    • 3rd grade and up can do independently, 2nd grades and under we recommend doing as a family. Adults are welcome.
    • Rabbi Hillel said, “In a place where there are no human beings, strive to be a human.” The word Rabbi Hillel used was mensch. Being a mensch means being a good person, a person of integrity, and our world needs mensches! All of us are already amazing humans, made in the Divine Image (B'tzelem Elohim), and we are always learning and growing. Together we will create vision boards to help inspire us during the year on meeting our menschy goals. 
  • 4:00 – 4:30pm: Virtual Tashlich
  • 4:00pm: Creative elements of Tashlich (in small outdoor spaces/groups as organized by our members, guided by our JRC Community Covenant)
Rosh Hashanah 2 Day: Sunday, September 20. 
  • 10:00 - 11:30am: Second Day Rosh Hashanah Service with a fuller Shacharit liturgy, including Torah a reading.
  • 11:45 – 12:45pm: Torah study and Discussion of the Akedah

Shevarim! Different elements of Days of Awe In Between, choosing your own path

Readings for Reflection on these Days of Awe
Wednesday, September 23: 
  • 4:30 - 5:00pm: It’s a Bee’s Life: The Science of Honey Making and Bees
    • Designed with 2nd through 7th grade in mind, but all are welcome, including adults.
    • On Rosh Hashanah we wish people a “Shanah Tovah U’metukah,” may you have a good and a sweet new year. To symbolize the sweetness we hope for, many people eat honey. 
    • Join JRC and West Suburban Temple Har Zion Religious Schools for this joint program with local Jewish Beekeeper Leonard Rau. He will show us his amazing collection of hives, and discusses the process of how bees make the honey that helps our year be so sweet during this season.
Sunday, September 20-Sunday, September 27. 

Join fellow JRCers for a variety of member-led in-person, virtual, and asynchronous gatherings and activities designed to appeal to folks young and old. While these events are not officially sponsored by JRC, we are grateful for our community of members who have planned so many options. We offer this Community Covenant to help guide our fellow members in best safety practices.

T’ruah! The call to Rise and Rebuild from grief toward wholeness

See this year's Yizkor Memorial Book 5781, formatted and designed by members Nancy Zwick and Darlene Grossman.
Erev Yom Kippur: Sunday, September 27. 
  • 7:00 - 8:30pm: The Music of Kol Nidre and of our choir, sermon by our rabbi, reflections and poetry, and personal prompts to dedicate this day to inner reflection and our potential for change.
Yom Kippur Morning: Monday, September 28. 
  • 9:00 – 9:30am: Young Family Service with Stories and Songs
    • This programming is aimed for Pre K through 2nd grade, adults are welcome!
    • Engaging and uplifting services for children and families that are 30minutes, with stories, songs, movement and creative interaction. Our PreK service will be led by Rabbi David, with Shelli Patt and Fran Landt, and will feature stories in breakout rooms by age range.
  • 10:00 – 11:15am: Personal reflections, Hineni from Cantor Howard Friedland, Sharing Al Cheit confessions and liturgy for Yom Kippur Morning
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm: Open Mic - A JRC Tradition!
  • 12:45 – 1:15pm: Torah and Haftarah reading
  • 1:30 – 4:30pm: Discussion, Learning Sessions, Labyrinth Walking Meditation:
    • This Walking Labyrinth Guide was created by Reconstructionist Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta, GA.  It provides both a walking labyrinth meditation plus a “finger labyrinth” as a guided way to explore your inner path into the new year with intention
    • 1:30 - 2:15pm:
      • Family Friendly Program: Digital Time Capsule Scavenger Hunt! Designed for all ages, including high schoolers.
        • 3rd grade and up can do independently, 2nd grades and under we recommend doing as a family. Adults are welcome.
        • This year, JRC kids and families will create a digital time capsule of their lives in this moment with a focus on how you have found joy and connection, even in a hard year. Join us for this interactive session where we will photo scavenger hunt in real time and share our photos with one another. Following the program, we will collect your photos and create a JRC 2020 Digital Time Capsule Book to share. 
      • Kol Nidre Sermon Discussion with Rabbi Weiss 
    • 2:30 - 3:15pm: 
      • Member-led Discussion and Learning Session 1: Carol Friedman short story
      • Member-led Discussion and Learning Session 2: Harry Goldin on Loss
    • 3:30 - 4:15pm:
      • Member-led Discussion and Learning Session 3: Hannah Tzuker-Seltzer poem
      • Member-led Discussion and Learning Session 4: Eleanor Smith K'racheim Av
  • 4:30 - 5:00pm: Contemplative Music
  • 5:30 - 6:45pm: Yizkor, Ne'ilah, and Havdalah
    • Yizkor Remembrance: bringing close the memories of our loved ones
    • Ne’ilah: We close the gates with the sunset together - bring your havdalah candles (and your zoom screens) outside for the final shofar!


Tue, April 20 2021 8 Iyyar 5781