The Rhythms of the Jewish Year
Temple Avodat Shalom is a modern Reform congregation with deep roots in our tradition. We celebrate the Holy Days and Festivals with prayer and song, both in Hebrew and English, and seek to offer all participants a meaningful and spiritual connection to each other, to the people Israel and to our God. On this page, we describe how we celebrate Holy Days and Festivals at our Temple and offer you links to the URJ holiday pages.
Calendar of Jewish Holidays
High Holy Days
The Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, the High Holy Days: At TAS, late summer and early fall are very busy as we get ready for the start of the sacred calendar and the beginning of Jewish education. Our teens are particularly busy preparing to lead services for the younger children and helping to set up the chairs to accommodate the nearly 1000 people who join us for Services in our Sanctuary. Our Brotherhood and Sisterhood also prepare for the complicated and important task of welcoming worshippers to our synagogue for the High Holy Days. At our services, we honor our members who have made contributions – of their bodies, minds and souls as well as financially – to our synagogue life throughout the year as well as those who have suffered health or other losses so that they all may be part of our community. Our S’lichot and certain of the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services are open to the public.
- Learn about the free high holiday ticket program available to new members of the community
- See the 2019 and the guest ticket request form
- Make your Book of Life inscription request
Selichot-Saturday, September 21, 2019
This warm, intimate service ushers in the Days of Awe and sets the tone for our High Holy Days’ services. We often begin the evening with a concert, a movie or learning session, followed by a congregational oneg before a late evening service. One of the highlights of our S’lichot service is when we communally change the covers on our Sifrei Torahfrom our everyday covers to the special white Holy Day covers.
Temple Avodat Shalom celebrates two days of Rosh HaShanah. Each morning, in addition to our service in the sanctuary we offer two services for children four and under and five to eight followed by a service for children nine and older that is led by our teens. We also offer baby-sitting during the morning services.
Our Kol Nidre Service begins with all our Clergy, the President and the Past Presidents walking from the rear of our Sanctuary to the Bema with our Sifrei Torah. In the morning, in addition to our service in the sanctuary we offer two services for children four and under and five to eight followed by a service for children nine and older that is led by our teens. We also offer baby-sitting during the morning and afternoon services. After the morning service, we usually have an “Ask the Rabbi” session before turning to the afternoon service, Yizkor and Nei’la. We then have a congregation wide sweet break fast.
Our observance of Sukkot begins shortly after Yom Kippur when our Brotherhood and their families build our Sukkahand our Religious School children decorate it. Our Sukkah is filled throughout the holiday with congregational and school events as everyone gets the opportunity to shake the lulav and smell the etrog.
Like most Reform congregations, we observe the holidays of Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret together. At our evening service, as we finish reading the final parsha of Deuteronomy but before we turn to Genesis, we surround the congregation with an unfurled Torah scroll held by all our seventh and eighth graders who have held their bnai mitvah in the prior year. We then joyously dance with the Sifrei Torah in our social hall in honor of completing the mitzvah of reading the complete Torah. We observe Yizkor the next morning.
On the Shabbat of Chanukah, we celebrate with a congregational dinner of latkes and other traditional foods before the special service in which we sing Chanukah songs.
Our Purim evening service finds our clergy as well as our congregation in costume as we enjoy a Purim shpiel by our teens, swing our groggers at Haman’s name, and chant the prayers to baseball and other “traditional” melodies. Highlight of Purim for all ages are our Purim carnival, run by our teens for the Religious School, and the beautiful mishloach manot (Purim gifts) from our Sisterhood.
Pesach is traditionally a family observance at Temple Avodat Shalom. We observe Yizkor on the seventh day evening and morning service.
Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron & Yom HaAtzmaut
We commemorate these special holidays, in which we remember our loved ones and other members of clal Israel lost in the Holocaust or in defense of the State of Israel as well as celebrate Israel’s Independence Day, throughout our synagogue and Religious School.
Counting of the Omer and Lag B’Omer
We begin counting the omer (counting the 49 nights between Pesach and Shavuot) on the second night of Pesach and continue throughout. We traditionally celebrate Lag B’Omer (the 33rd day) with an end of school year picnic.
We commemorate the revelation at Sinai and the giving of the Torah by celebrating the confirmation of our teens who have completed their post-b’nai mitvah study. We also have a Yizkor service.
In recent years, Tishah B’Av has become a community-wide service that commemorates the many tragedies suffered by the Jewish people, turning a mournful event into the opportunity to recognize that the Jewish people will remain strong when they pray together.