Where a Feminist Can Welcome the New Year


Pop-up Services in the Nation’s Capital
The Sixth and I Historic Synagogue will be offering, in addition to its full roster of longer services, a one-hour “High Holiday Pop-Up Service” at 5:30 pm on Rosh Hashanah afternoon October 3. “The Pop-up Service aims to accommodate those unable to secure morning service tickets, as well as those unable to take a day off from work to observe the holiday. The service makes space for all those who want to welcome in the New Year with prayer, reflection, and community.”

High Holidays at Summer Camp in the North Georgia Mountains
Shalom b’Harim (Harim is Hebrew for mountains) is an unaffiliated synagogue in Dahlonega, GA with congregants who travel 50+ miles to attend. They usually rent space from a local church to meet once a month. However, for the High Holidays, congregants of Shalom b’Harim go to the Reform movement’s Camp Coleman in Cleveland, GA. Tashlikh is held at the fire circle by a lake with catfish and snapping turtles. “Every year since I was little we went to camp for High Holidays,” says Rachel Glazer, Community Engagement Fellow at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. “Even before I understood camp as a place that was for the summertime and kids running around, I understood it as a place full of grumpy older people blowing the shofar and being grouchy that we were fasting.”

Community Tashlikh at Dimond Park in Oakland, CA at 5:15 pm on October 3
Reform, Conservative and Orthodox congregations team up to perform this ritual together at the start of the new year. A female rabbi might stand next to an Orthodox man as together they reflect on the year gone by and watch the crumbs they tossed into the moving water float away, carrying regret with them. The participating congregants of Beth Abraham, Beth Jacob and Temple Sinai will gather together on Monday, October 3 at 5:15 pm at Dimond Park. 

Reflect with Chanting Expert Rabbi Shefa Gold in Santa Monica, CA 
Listed as one of the Forward’s 33 most influential rabbis of 2015, Renewal Rabbi Shefa Gold runs Kol Zimra, a chant leadership training program. This year she’ll be leading High Holiday services at the Santa Monica Synagogue with Metivta, a center for “reflective Judaism” in California. “Turn towards your practice, towards each other, towards the Great Mystery that is just waiting for our attention, to be revealed,” Gold encourages participants. “Pay attention to the questions that emerge, to the promptings of your heart, to the deeper longings that pull you.”

Having a Vulnerable New Year in Philadelphia, PA
Congregation Kol Tzedek’s theme for their services for the new year is “vulnerability.” Members and non-members alike are welcome—at no cost—at this Reconstructionist synagogue for the High Holidays. “Through song, silence, sharing and schmoozing, we will open our hearts, heal, connect and transform.”   

Ponder Jonah and the Whale at Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn, NY
This Brooklyn synagogue led by Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Cantor Lisa B. Segal, and student Rabbi Miriam Grossman has a full line up of High Holiday services. On Yom Kippur, the former artistic director of Storahtelling, Franny Silverman, will lead an interactive text study of Jonah and the Whale. All are welcome, free of charge.

Walk-ins Welcome Services throughout NYC
In Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, Ohel Ayalah will be holding egalitarian and traditional services that are welcome to all, free of charge. They’re especially geared towards folks in their 20s and 30s and/or Israelis and Russians who might feel alienated from other established Jewish communities. Rabbi Judith Hauptman, a professor of Talmud at the Jewish Theological seminary, will be leading the Manhattan services.