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High Holy Days 2023 ~5784


L’Shanah Tovah and welcome to Temple Sinai! We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the High Holy Days together with you and we are looking forward to a wonderful new year filled with opportunities for learning and growth for all.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur provide the time and space to look back on the year just ended and look forward to the new year just beginning. We can review the highs and lows of the last year—our moments of triumph and success as well as the moments of challenge and sadness. We can see how our decisions made a difference in our lives and in the lives of others.

And we can look forward to the new year, considering how we want to change and how we want to maintain the good we have. We can project, dream, imagine, hope, and plan as we look forward. And we can see how our choices will make our lives, and the lives of others, better.

This year, our celebrations at Temple Sinai will be a mix of celebration and concentration. We will revisit the melodies of the holidays, celebrating all that we have enjoyed and hope to enjoy. And we will explore new ideas and new melodies, hoping that we can make positive change for ourselves and our community in the coming months.

We have wonderful plans for our annual learning at the holidays. Once again, we will hear the individual stories of Sinai members and a bit about their Jewish journeys. We will return to our Beit Midrash on Yom Kippur afternoon to explore ideas and questions for the new year, and we will return to the sukkah to dine together and bask in the company of each other as we celebrate Sukkot.
I can’t wait to celebrate with all of you, and I hope the new year is filled with hope, possibility, and blessing.

L’Shanah Tovah!
Rabbi Daniel J. Fellman



The High Holy Day season holds for us practically every emotion and experience all rolled into one. My esteemed teacher Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller defined Jewish music through five modalities or moods, and these faces of Jewish music can be found throughout all our days of awe. We find elements of the majestic as the capstones of our experiences, whether in the glorious sound of 
Kol Nidre, or as our hearts beat strongly to the melody of Avinu Malkeinu. These are moments that captivate us in body and soul when they happen but once a year. 

We turn inwards quite often for the meditative, as we reflect and review on where we have come from in the past year and then look forward as we create momentum into the year to come. We are gathered as a community and in doing so, our voices ring as one in the sound of meeting. Each of us, whether gifted in song or carried away by the harmonies surrounding us, find ourselves bound together as a holy congregation of worshippers. And, finally, the High Holy Days resonate for so many of us as an echo of the memories that have come before. We remember our experiences of long ago and we hold close to our hearts the souls of those dear to us who are no longer with us. Together, we recognize that we can, in the words of Rav Avraham Kook, “renew the old and make the new holy.” 

May this year be one of sweetness and blessing.

L’Shanah Tovah Tikateivu. 
Cantor David Reinwald



High Holy Day Services Schedule


Saturday, September 2    
8 PM Panel discussion on Transgender Rights followed by an oneg and the S’lichot Service (To begin at approximately 9:30 PM)


Sunday, September 10 (Note new time)
2:30 PM Service of Remembrance with Temple David at Temple Sinai Memorial Park, 7740 Saltsburg Road, Plum, PA 15239


Friday, September 15        
5:15 PM Erev Rosh HaShanah Tot Service* (Snacks starting at 5 PM)
6 PM Erev Rosh HaShanah Dinner (Reservations required; seating is limited)*
7:45 PM Erev Rosh HaShanah & Shabbat Evening Service*  

Saturday, September 16                    
8:15 AM Rosh HaShanah Tot Program with Danie Oberman*
9 AM Rosh HaShanah Youth & Family Service   
11 AM Rosh HaShanah & Shabbat Morning Service    

Sunday, September 17
10 AM Rosh HaShanah 2nd Day Morning Service*
4:30 PM Tashlich Service at Frick Park 
(Cards of Admission not required.)    


Sunday, September 24
5:15 PM Kol Nidre Tot Service* (Snacks starting at 5 PM)
7:45 PM Kol Nidre Service  

Monday, September 25    
9 AM Yom Kippur Youth & Family Service  
11 AM Yom Kippur Morning Service  
1:30 PM Yom Kippur Beit Midrash*
1:30–2:30 PM Jewish Journeys with David Johnson
2:30–3:45 PM Beit Midrash Discussions
4 PM Yom Kippur Minchah Afternoon Service*  
5:15 PM Yom Kippur Yizkor Service & N’ilah Service*   
(Rabbi Emeritus Jamie Gibson will deliver the Yizkor Service sermon.)

Yom Kippur Break Fast (a light snack to break your fast) will follow N’ilah.

Please note that all times are approximate for Yom Kippur afternoon.


Friday, September 29
5:45 PM Soup, Salad, & Sandwiches in the Sukkah
7 PM Erev Sukkot & Shabbat Evening Service followed by a Sundae Oneg

Saturday, September 30            
10 AM Sukkot & Shabbat Morning Service at Rodef Shalom Congregation 
(4905 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213) 
6 PM Sensory Havdalah in the Temple Sinai’s Sukkah


Friday, October 6
10 AM Simchat Torah Morning Service with Yizkor Service at Temple Sinai 
5 PM Dinner for New Students & New Members (Reservations required)
6:30 PM Mostly Musical Shabbat & Simchat Torah Evening Service with Consecration of New Students

*Open to the community. Advanced registration and Community Cards of Admission are required.
 American Sign Language interpreter provided

Livestream and Zoom links will be provided closer to the dates above.



what are the High Holy Days?

The High Holy Days are a period that spans nearly two months and might better be called the “Season of Return.” Throughout this time, our rituals and services try to guide us back to the best versions of ourselves, which often gets lost in the busyness of life. Our many observances encourage us to pause and reflect, so that we return our various relationships to wholeness and renew our commitment to righteous living.

Elul (אלול)
Change rarely happens overnight, especially when we are the ones trying to break old, unhealthy habits and develop new, healthy ones. The month of Elul gives us time to reorient ourselves to our personal missions and visions so that we can identify where we’ve succeeded and where we’ve fallen short. We offer S’lichot prayers that remind us of the qualities embodied by our ancestors and the divine attributes that we might want to emulate. In Sefardi tradition, S’lichot begins at the beginning of Elul; in Ashkenazi tradition, S'lichot starts at the end of Shabbat about a week before Rosh HaShanah. During Elul there is also a practice of reciting Psalms 27 and 130, symbolically asking God to guide us back to the path of righteousness.

Rosh HaShanah (ראש השנה)
Our preparation in Elul leads us to Rosh HaShanah on the 1st day of the month of Tishrei, which celebrates the creation of the world and God’s sovereignty. We eat round challah to remind us of the cycle of the year and a crown. We hear the blasts of the shofar that announce the presence of God in our midst. The shofar’s penetrating sound rouses our lazy souls to do the work of repentance. 
We call upon God as a loving and forgiving parent who only wants the best for us.

Ten Days of Repentance (עשרת ימי תשובה Aseret Y’mei T’shuvah)
The ten days from the beginning of Rosh HaShanah to the end of Yom Kippur invite us to repair the mistakes of the past year and commit to doing better. One of the rituals during this time is Tashlich, which we often do on the afternoon of Rosh HaShanah. During Tashlich we try to unburden ourselves of our failures and missteps by casting sticks, pebbles, or birdseed into flowing water. (People have often used bread for Tashlich, but it harms the fish and birds and pollutes the water.) This period also includes the Fast of Gedaliah, which takes place on the 3rd of Tishrei. During the daylight fast, we mourn the assassination of the Judean governor Gedaliah by other Jews and remember how important it is for us to support each other and our community. The Shabbat between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah and includes special insertions into prayers that ask God to remember us for goodness and inscribe us in the Book of Life.

Yom Kippur (יום כפור)
By the time we reach Yom Kippur, we have hopefully done much of the work of repair to return our human relationships to wholeness. If so, then the services of Yom Kippur focus on how to bring wholeness to our relationship with the Divine. With a full sundown-to-sundown fast from food, drink, sex, cosmetics, and leather; simple clothes (often white); and a day spent in prayer, we ask God to forgive us for the harm we have caused and to guide us toward a better life. The final blasts of the shofar at the end of Yom Kippur mark the Days of Repentance but reverberate within us so we continue 
the work.

Sukkot & Sh’mini Atzeret-Simchat Torah (סכות ושמיני עצרת-שמחת תורה)
The High Holy Days don’t end with Yom Kippur but continue with the festival celebrations of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. On Sukkot we celebrate our many blessings—it’s called Z’man Simchateinu, the Time of Our Joy. We build sukkot, temporary structures with sturdy walls but a porous roof, to remind us to enjoy what we have despite the impermanence of life. We are commanded to “dwell” in the sukkah for seven days, which the rabbis of old understood as eating meals there. You’re also welcome to study, work, and even sleep in it, too! We also shake the lulav, a bouquet of date palm, willow, and myrtle, and etrog (a lemon-like fruit) to acknowledge God’s presence all around us and the gift of the fall harvest.

The Torah also mentions a holiday called Sh’mini Atzeret that’s observed eight days after Sukkot begins. We combine that holiday with a celebration of the Torah called Simchat Torah. During Sh’mini Atzeret-Simchat Torah, we sing and dance with the Torah scrolls. We also read the last chapters 
of the Torah and begin again with the first chapters. 

From the beginning of Elul through the end of Simchat Torah, we have finally come back full-circle—to beginning of the year to the beginning of the Torah, and to our truest selves.


Tue, June 25 2024 19 Sivan 5784