JRC Traditions



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. Instead they will be available for download from our website. 
High Holiday Readings

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. 
Discussion Groups

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.

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

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. 

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.

Tashlich Service

JRC’s Tashlich service will be held at Lake Michigan on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Monday, October 3 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.

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 

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. 


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. RSVP and sign up to bring a dish to share>>

See the full high holiday service schedule

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