General Information: High Holidays at JRC

High Holiday Flowers

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Tickets are required in advance for the High Holidays at JRC. Tickets are not required for Rosh Hashanah Day 2, Our Yizkor/Ne'ilah Service on Yom Kippur, or for our morning family services. 

Order High Holiday Tickets

Ticket Prices

  • Members: Tickets are included in JRC membership and will be mailed to members' homes in late August.
  • Non-Members: $396
  • Parent/Adult Child of a Member: $270
  • Young Adults Ages 13-35: $18 
  • Full Time College Students: Free 
  • Children 0-12: Free
  • Family Services: Our morning family services are open to children and their grown-ups - no ticket needed.


Prayer Books

JRC members bring their own prayer books to services. Prayer books are $48 each and can be ordered on the online ticket form or in person at the JRC office. A limited number of prayer books will be available to borrow for guests joining us for the first time.

Service Schedule 

Erev Rosh Hashanah 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

8pm: Erev Rosh Hashanah Service

Rosh Hashanah Day I

Monday, September 30, 2019

9:30am: Morning service begins 

Family Programming 
10–11am: T’fillah (spiritual programming) 
      0—Pre-K service with grownups
      K—2nd grade service, grownups optional
      3rd—6th grade service, grownups optional at The Merion senior community
      7th—12th grade programs
11-11:30am: Oneg (snacks and socializing) For All ages in the Great Hall
11:30-1pm: Community Hofshi (free time with activity choices)
For Grades K-6, supervised by Grades 7-12 and adult volunteers in the Great Hall. Includes social justice projects, art, games, music jam and singing, and supervised play

11:45am: Rabbi’s Sermon begins in Main Sanctuary (for parents who wish to attend)

4:30-5:30pm: Tashlich Service at Dawes Park

Rosh Hashanah Day II

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

9:30-11:30am: Morning Service at JRC

11:30am-1pm: Discussion Groups

Kol Nidre (Erev Yom Kippur) 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

6:30pm: Kol Nidre Service

Yom Kippur

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

9:30am: Morning service begins

Family Programming
10–11am: T’fillah (spiritual programming) 
      0—Pre-K service with grownups
      K—2nd grade service, grownups optional
      3rd—6th grade service, grownups optional 
      7th—12th grade programs
11-1pm: Community Hofshi (free time with activity choices)
For Grades K-6, supervised by Grades 7-12 and adult volunteers in the Great Hall. Includes social justice projects, art, games, music jam and singing, and supervised play

11:45am: Rabbi’s Sermon begins in Main Sanctuary (for parents who wish to attend)

1-2pm: Open Mic

2-3pm: Discussion Groups

4:30-5:30pm: Contemplative Music 

5:30pm: Yizkor/Ne'ilah Service 

7:30pm: Break-the-Fast Potluck (dairy/veg, nut-free)

Getting to Services

Unless otherwise specified, our High Holiday services are held at the spacious First United Methodist Church in Downtown Evanston, 516 Church Street in Evanston (map)

Travel/Public Transportation

Whenever possible, we encourage you to walk, ride your bike, take public transportation, or carpool when attending High Holiday services. 

For information on bus routes and schedules, visit the CTA website for routes and trip planners or contact the CTA, (312) 664-7200, or the RTA, (773) 836-7000. First United Methodist Church is walking distance from the CTA Davis Street Purple Line stop and the Davis St. Metra station.


  • Church Street Self-Park525 Church Street (Evanston Place Building)
    This parking structure fills up early! The city charges for all hours vehicles are parked, except Sundays. There are 6 designated parking spaces near the Church Street entrance for persons with disability licence plates or placards. The maximum vehicle height is 8’ on the first level only; other levels have a clearance of 6’5”. The garage is open until 11 pm nightly.

  • Sherman Plaza Self-Park821 Davis Street
    Parking is available 24 hours daily – cars enter from Davis Street or Benson Avenue.
  • City Lot #3, behind Evanston Public Library on Church Street
    The 2-hour meters are enforced from 9 am-9 pm, and are strictly enforced. The city will be ticketing in this lot during the High Holidays; the fine for overtime is $30. Do not park in the underground lot.
  • NU Campus Parking, Northwestern University
    Parking will also be available during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the 2-level parking structure at the south end of the Northwestern University campus. Enter the lot from the first driveway off Sheridan Road at the curve.

Street Parking

  • Plan to arrive early so that you have ample time to look for parking and walk to services.

  • For our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services the City of Evanston will waive the daily 2- and 3-hour time limits on all residential streets including Sheridan Road.

  • Time limits at parking meters will be strictly enforced and the City will not void or forgive tickets issued for expired meters or overtime parking.
  • Vehicles displaying disability plates or placards can park in the loading zone area in front of the church on Hinman Avenue (but not on Church Street) or at any parking meter free of charge and without regard to the time limit.

Please Note:

  • The Church Street Self-Park fills up early.

  • Parking spaces are not reserved or guaranteed at any location listed above.

  • Plan to arrive early enough to park and walk to services.
  • Accessibility

  • Accessible Entrance at First United Methodist Church: There is an ADA-compliant ramp on the north side of the building on Church St. This is the only accessible ramp to the building. There are wheelchair accessible restrooms on the first floor and elevator access to restrooms on the second floor.

  • Priority Seating: There are reserved seats available in several areas of the Sanctuary, including aisle seats, during High Holiday services for persons with special needs. Please ask ushers for assistance. These seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Assistive Listening Devices: The First United Methodist Church uses an induction loop system that provides amplification of voices from the microphone. Those with telecoil equipped hearing device should switch them to the T or MT position to use this system.
  • Additional Assistance: Please contact an usher during the service.

JRC Traditions

About our Services | Tikkun Olam | Discussion Groups | Taschlich Service | Open Mic | Contemplative Music | Yizkor Service | Break-The-Fast | Meal Sharing

What are JRC's High Holiday services like? 

Our services, led by Rabbi Rachel Weiss and Cantor Howard Friedland are a mix of what is familiar and comforting about the High Holiday season, along with things that are new and inspiring. As Reconstructionists, we value making Jewish rituals accessible, modern, and egalitarian.

We offer unique ways to observe the High Holidays beyond attending services. From discussion groups focused on social justice, personal reflections from people in the congregation, contemplative music, family services, and a break-the-fast potluck, there are lots of ways to get involved.

Kippot and Tallitot

As an egalitarian congregation, JRC encourages both women and men to wear kippot (head coverings) and tallitot (prayer shawls). A limited number of these religious articles are available for people who do not have their own to use during the service. It is traditional to wear a tallit on Erev Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre) and during daytime services. It is also customary to dress in white or light colored clothing and to avoid leather on Yom Kippur.

Entering and Exiting the Sanctuary

To help build kavanah (prayerful concentration), we request that there be a minimum of movement near the bimah, especially during the more contemplative moments of the services. If you must exit or enter at these times, please use the doors at the back of the Sanctuary.

Discussion Groups

Among JRC’s extensive High Holiday programs, Discussion Groups are a traditional favorite. Offered on both the second day of Rosh Hashanah (held immediately following services) and on Yom Kippur (starting at 2pm), these groups are led by JRC members and others on a range of topics and themes related to the High Holidays. 

Tashlich Service

JRC’s Tashlich service will be held at Lake Michigan on the first day of Rosh Hashanah at 4:30 pm. This traditional ceremony of casting sins into the water will be given contemporary meaning. Meet at Dawes Park (Church and Lake Streets) on the north side of the lagoon. Bring things to toss...breadcrumbs, bird seed, tiny stones, whatever fits your taste.

Open Mic

A traditional Yom Kippur service includes an additional service called the Musaf featuring Avodah—the offering of the High Priest.  Similarly, the JRC Open Mic, which directly follows the morning service on Yom Kippur, provides an opportunity for JRC members to make a personal offering by sharing personal reflections as we move into the new year. It is the thoughtful reflections of diverse congregant voices that makes Open Mic so rich each year. We invite your participation.

Open Mic Guidelines:

  • Reflections should express a personal perspective.
  • Opinions should be expressed in a way that is sensitive to the congregation and to the privacy of congregational members.
  • Reflections should be no longer than 500 words or 3 minutes in length.
  • Time notifications for the three minute limit will be given by musical instrumentation.
  • A speaking order will be assigned ahead of time. Speakers will sit in the front rows of the sanctuary and approach the podium on their assigned side as the person before them begins speaking. Speakers will alternate, beginning immediately after the former person finishes, and leave the podium after their speech. 
  • Individuals may give personal reflections about the personal impact of JRC committee membership.  However  “advertisements” for committees are excluded from Open Mic. 
  • V.P. for Ritual Practice retains the right to ask for revisions or to exclude any piece that doesn't’t meet the stated guidelines.

Submit to the V.P. for Ritual Practice, Marla Baker by Rosh Hashanah. 

Past Open Mic Speeches

Contemplative Music

We're continuing what has become a special tradition: an hour of contemplation with musical accompaniment at 4:30 pm preceding our Yom Kippur afternoon services. Featuring the JRCymphony, comprised entirely of JRC member musicians, we hope you'll find that this quiet interlude provides both peace and clarity for a new year. If you are a teen or adult musician who would like to play, contact Michelle Brodsky.

Yizkor Service & Memorial Book 

It is a tradition to honor our beloved deceased by reciting Yizkor (memorial) prayers on Yom Kippur afternoon. Rabbi Weiss will read submitted names of Members’ loved ones who have died since last Rosh Hashanah during the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur afternoon. In addition, each year JRC members submit names of deceased loved ones for our Memorial Book, which will be distributed at the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur. 

Memorial Book Guidelines 

Break-the-Fast Potluck 

This year everyone is invited to a community break-the-fast potluck hosted by JRC's Chibur (20s-30s) group following the Ne'ilah service. Adults and children of all ages are welcome. Please bring a vegetarian/dairy dish to share. Please note that JRC is a nut-sensitive environment so do not bring any food with nuts. 

High Holiday Meal Sharing

Are you interested in hosting fellow JRC members for a holiday meal or sharing the celebration at someone's home? It's a great way to make new friends at JRC. We are looking for homes with room at their holiday table for one or more guests for lunch for the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Contact Reese Gratch to volunteer to host or be matched with a host family. 


We are always looking for volunteers especially during High Holiday season. In fact, our services are organized and run with the active involvement of our members.

For the High Holidays, you can volunteer to

  • Blow the Shofar
  • Usher at Family Services 
  • Moving (equipment set-up & take down)
  • Assist with Children/Youth Services 
  • Post Signs in the Church 
  • Assist with children’s Tikkun Olam project 

Many more opportunities are available!

Be a High Holiday Volunteer

Shofar Blowing

Everyone who has access to a shofar and wishes to participate in the group shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur is invited to do so. An all-levels shofar-blowing class will be held before the High Holidays with member Carol Goldbaum at JRC. 

Printable Guide

For your convenience, we've include the Services Schedule, directions to United Methodist Church, and important information about ADA accessibility, Kippot and Tallitot and Sanctuary etiquette all in one document. 

JRC's Guide to the High Holidays


Each year, we select readings and poems from a wide variety of sources other than our prayerbook in order to deepen and enrich our experience of the High Holiday liturgy. Out of respect for the value of Bal Tashchit (Do Not Waste), we will not be providing printed copies of these readings at our services. If you wish to have a copy during services, please print them at home and bring with you to services. You can download a PDF for easy printing or a Word Document for use in an accessible e-reader if that is in align with your High Holiday observance.

Download PDF  Download Word Doc

Song Sheets

We have one packet with music and words for songs as well as the Al Chet for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. Copies of this packet will be avalaible at services, but if you would like an electronic copy you can download it here. 

Download Song Sheets

Looking for a spiritual home?

If you found your High Holiday experience to be moving and you feel at home here, we hope you'll choose to become part of the JRC community.
Join by December 1, and the cost of your tickets will be credited towards your membership.

Learn More About Membership

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