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High Holy Days

“The great shofar is sounded and the still, small voice is heard.”

During the High Holy Days, and the month of Elul leading up to them, Jews look inward at our own soul and deeds, while drawing strength from our community coming together. Services and programs at Temple Isaiah (described below) are designed so that congregants of all ages and abilities will feel welcome, finding meaningful opportunities for prayer, study, and reflection. Many services are multigenerational, geared to be spiritually fulfilling for all ages. Information on disability access and inclusion may be found here. Due to the large turnout, you will see that passes (a benefit included with annual membership commitment) are required for some services. Information on membership may be found here. Start with smaller preparatory classes and/or participate at larger services. We look forward to starting the year as the warm, welcoming community that is Temple Isaiah - Your Jewish Neighborhood. L’Shanah Tovah Tikateivu. May you be inscribed for a good year.

Prepare your Mind, Body, and Spirit for the High Holy Days

We invite you to join us at Temple Isaiah in the Hebrew month of Elul to prepare our minds, our bodies, and our spirits for the coming Days of Awe.  Come to one or as many of these opportunities as you can!

Thursday, August 20 at 7pm in the Adult Lounge: Embodied Judaism with Kendra Fried
Join Kendra Fried (of Neshamah Yoga and Wellness) for an engaging and nourishing session that will help you connect head and heart through gentle movement, guided meditation, journaling, and self-reflection.  Discover how an embodied Jewish practice can deepen your experience of renewal, self-evaluation, teshuvah, and returning to your soul, as you listen to the still small voice within.  No experience necessary! 

Thursdays August 27 and Thursday September 3 at 7pm in the Adult Lounge: Text Study with the Rabbis
Prepare for the High Holy Days with your intellect by engaging in text study related to the themes of teshuvah (repentance) and cheshbon ha’nefesh (self-reflection), led by Rabbi Greninger and Rabbi Graetz.

Fridays August 21 and 28, September 4 and 11: Learn High Holy Day Melodies
The High Holy Days are a time when the melodies and liturgy change from what we are accustomed to on Shabbat.  We are eager for everyone to feel comfortable fully participating in the worship on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  In order to feel ready, at Friday night services during the Hebrew month of Elul, we will be devoting part of our service to singing and learning congregational melodies that we will be singing and praying on the High Holy Days. 

S’lichot Program and Service
Saturday, September 5

8:30 p.m. S’lichot program in the Social Hall with Rabbi Jessica Oleon Kirschner followed by dessert reception around 10pm
10:30 p.m. Service in the Sanctuary. A beautiful and moving service to awaken us to the task of repentance.

From Ferguson to Charleston and Beyond: Creating a Jewish reflection and response to racial injustice in our own time.  Led by Rabbi Jessica Oleon Kirschner, Northern California Organizer for Just Congregations and Reform CA. The shofar blasts of Elul remind us that in Jewish time, the season of reflection and repentance is upon us.  In our secular world, there have been many calls this year to recognize the deep pain systemic racism continues to cause in America.  Together we will examine what this means for each of us as individual Jews, for our Jewish community, and how we might become better allies to people and communities of color in the coming year.  The program will be followed by a dessert reception in the Adult Lounge at about 10:00 p.m. and will be followed by the 10:30 p.m. S’lichot Service in the Sanctuary.

Saturdays Sept 5 and 12 at 10:30am in the Beit Knesset: Mussar & Meditation- Preparing your Heart for the High Holy Days
Through meditation, prayer, and song, we will reflect on middot to help prepare our souls and spirits for the coming Days of Awe.

Graveside Gathering of Prayer and Remembrance

Sunday, September 13 at 10:00 a.m.
We will join together at Isaiah Garden at Oakmont Memorial Park and Gan Shalom for a ceremony of remembrance led by our clergy, which will be followed by private time to visit the graves of our loved ones.

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Sunday, September 13

8:00 p.m. Service in the Sanctuary
A service of inspirational readings and contemporary instrumental and vocal sacred music designed to awaken our souls to the solemn, transformational and uplifting themes of the Holy Days. We use a Machzor created by our Temple Isaiah clergy, which includes creative and contemplative poetry. The choir and orchestra fill the Sanctuary with music.

Rosh Hashanah Morning: Monday, September 14

8:45 a.m. Tot Service for ages 0-5, CCJDS Makom (2nd floor)
A service geared toward families with children 0 - 5 years with stories, songs, the shofar, snacks and activities led by our Rabbi and Cantor.
8:45 a.m. Family Service for K-7th grade, Sanctuary
A participatory, informal and multigenerational service for families with children in grades K - 7 and all those who prefer earlier morning worship.  The service includes chanting from the Torah, sounding the shofar and inspirational messages from our Rabbis. A Tashlich Ritual will take place at the Lafayette Reservoir at the conclusion of the service around 11am. Bring your own picnic lunch or order from Noah’s Bagels at
11:00 a.m. Teen Service & Program for 8-12 grade, Adult Lounge
For 8th- 12th graders, led by Rabbi Alissa Miller, Youth Director Jory Gwasdoff and members of our teen community, including a service and informal programming on the themes of Rosh Hashanah.
11:00 a.m. Morning Service, Sanctuary
Adults and older children will worship using the Machzor created by our Temple Isaiah clergy continuing the warm, uplifting, contemporary feeling begun the night before. The service includes the beautiful music of the choir, the sounding of the shofar, chanting from the Torah and Haftarah and the Rabbis’ inspirational messages for the New Year. Members of the congregation are called up for aliyot during the Torah service in creative and meaningful categories that enhance the feeling of community.  At the conclusion of the service we will participate in a Tashlich ritual at the Lafayette Reservoir.

Tuesday, September 15
9:00 a.m. Rosh Hashanah 2nd Day Service, Beit Knesset
A smaller, shorter service using the Temple Isaiah Machzor, further continuing the warn, uplifting feeling of Rosh Hashanah.

Kol Nidre: Tuesday, September 22

5:15 p.m. Kol Nidre Service, Sanctuary
5:15 p.m. Kol Nidre Children’s Program for up to 3rd grade, TTC   Click here to register.
8:15 p.m. Kol Nidre Service, Sanctuary

The service contains the haunting melody of the Kol Nidre (all vows) prayer played by the orchestra with featured cellist and sung by Cantor Korn and the choir. Temple Isaiah has a tradition of donning our talisim in unison at this service. The Machzor, created for Kol Nidre by our Temple Isaiah clergy, includes contemplative poetry and contemporary themes as we face our transgressions and seek forgiveness during the day of atonement. This service ends at a pause, rather than a conclusion, symbolizing this continuous day of prayer. The congregation is encouraged to follow tradition and wear white during Yom Kippur and you will notice many people doing so.

On Kol Nidre we will have both an early and late Service in our Sanctuary. While parents and older children attend the early Kol Nidre service with their families in the Sanctuary, we invite young children through 3rd grade to attend a Kol Nidre Children’s Program in the Talmud Torah Center.  The children will eat dinner and participate in an interactive and educational Yom Kippur program. Registration is required. To register your child click here. The Kol Nidre children’s program is funded by the Charles Emold Memorial Fund.

Yom Kippur: Wednesday, September 23

8:45 a.m. Tot Service for ages 0-5, CCJDS Makom (2nd floor)
A service geared toward families with children 0-5 years with stories, songs, the shofar and activities led by our Rabbi and Cantor.
8:45 a.m. Family Service for K-7th grade, Sanctuary
A participatory, informal and multigenerational service for families with children in grades K-7 and all those that prefer earlier morning worship. The service includes chanting from the Torah, and inspirational messages from our Rabbis.
11:00 a.m. Teen Service & Program for 8-12 grade, Adult Lounge
Led by Rabbi Alissa Miller, Youth Director Jory Gwasdoff and members of the teen community, including a service and informal programming on the themes of Yom Kippur.
11:00 a.m. Morning Service with Yizkor, Sanctuary
Adults and older children worship using the traditional liturgy in the Gates of Repentance, supplemented by readings selected by our clergy. The music of our choir and Cantor Korn add to the majesty and awe of our prayers of atonement. The service includes a Torah service, the sounding of the shofar, and inspirational messages from our Rabbis. We continue the practice of calling up the congregation for aliyot during the Torah service in creative and meaningful categories. During the Yizkor service, we remember our departed loved ones and pray that their memories will be for sweet and loving blessings.

After Service: Study, Chant and Reflection in the Beit Knesset
At the completion of the morning service in the Sanctuary, those who wish to remain on the Temple campus through the end of the day may join in a Mussar and Meditation session led by Rabbi Shanks and Jeanette Gross in the Beit Knesset.  We will focus our silent and guided meditations on Yom Kippur themes and have the opportunity to share with one another Mussar responses to these High Holy Days. Those who have been studying Mussar and those who are brand-new to Mussar are most welcome to use this service as a deepening of your experience or as an introduction and an opportunity to add Mussar study into your New Year calendar. All are welcome!

4:00 p.m. Afternoon Service, Sanctuary
The afternoon service incorporates a contemporary liturgy and an opportunity for personal prayer in front of the open ark.
5:30 p.m. Neilah Service, Sanctuary
Neilah, the beautiful concluding service for Yom Kippur, follows directly after the Afternoon Service and includes a special role for the children of our community to bring light into our Sanctuary as dusk falls and the day is ending. We conclude the day by exiting the Sanctuary to the hushed tones of the choir.

Sukkot, Simchat Torah & Shemini Atzeret

Our month of Holy Days continues with the celebration of the harvest in our Sukkah and dancing with the Torah scrolls on Simchat Torah.

Sunday, September 27
5:30 p.m.
Community-wide Erev Sukkot Celebration. Click here for details and to RSVP.
Get ready for Sukkot by ordering a Lulav & Etrog Set!
Have you ever thought about owning your own lulav/etrog set for Sukkot? Shaking the lulav is a fun Jewish home ritual, especially for families with kids! The cost is $35 per lulav/etrog set, and they will arrive in time for Sukkot. Now is a great time to place your order as the deadline to order is Tuesday, September 1st. Email Rabbi Greninger at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and let her know how many sets you’d like and whether you’d like to pay by check or credit card.

Monday, September 28
9:00 a.m.
Sukkot Service

Simchat Torah
Sunday, October 4
4:30 p.m.
JQuest classes
5:30 p.m. Free pizza dinner for JQuest families
6:15 p.m. Community-wide Simchat Torah Service in the Sanctuary
Come sing and dance with the Torah scroll and Dennon and Doyle, as we celebrate restarting our cycle of Torah readings. All ages come together as we welcome our youngest students to JQuest.

Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret
Monday, October 5
9:00 a.m.
Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret Service with Yizkor in the Beit Knesset


High Holy Days passes allow entry to any High Holy Days services, rather than to specific (i.e. early or late) services. Attendees will be permitted to mix and match early and late services. Passes should only be used by the pass holder.

Passes are not required for Tot services, and there is no charge to attend these services However, attendees will need to obtain a security pass to get on the property. Non-members click here for Tot services.

Passes to High Holy Days for each household are included with membership and will be mailed to all Temple Isaiah members (adults and children ages 13-26 living at home) in September, once membership commitment is made for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and in good standing (please renew by August 28). Need to renew? Please visit Passes for adult children not living at home or age 27+ are $75. Passes for adult guests of members are $250. These prices are reduced by 50% after Rosh Hashanah. See order form here.

The High Holy Days packet includes passes for entry to two services, security passes for entry to the Temple Isaiah campus during the High Holy Days, and information about parking. Those attending Tot services only need a parking pass to enter, and won’t need passes for the services.

Seating is first come, first served for services, unless you have requested special seating due to a disability, which entitles you to one seat, plus one companion seat (maximum three seats for a caretaker in addition to companion). Members with special seating needs due to a disability should click here to make the request, or contact the Temple Office. It is highly recommended that those with special seating needs arrive early. Special seating will only be held for those who reserve it in advance until 15 minutes prior to the start of each service.

Passes will be mailed in September. If you are a member in good standing and have not received your passes by September 9, please call our office at (925) 283-8575.

Members of other URJ (Reform) and USCJ (Conservative) synagogues who submit verification of membership are eligible for passes without charge. Contact our Temple Office at (925) 283-8575 to apply for reciprocal seating at Temple Isaiah.

Passes will be available to non-members at $350 each for all services. These prices are reduced 50% after Rosh Hashanah. Click here or call our office at (925) 283-8575 for more information.




Were you or a loved one unable to attend Temple for High Holy Days? We recorded our services online.
CLICK HERE to view our High Holy Days services 5776

You can also listen to the recorded sermons online at the links below

Erev Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana

Kol Nidre

Yom Kippur Morning

The following services were recorded:

Sunday, September 13, 2015
8:00 p.m
. Erev Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 14, 2015
8:45 a.m
. Rosh Hashanah Family Service
11:00 a.m. Rosh Hashanah Morning Service

Tuesday, September 22
5:15 p.m.
Kol Nidre Service
8:15 p.m. Kol Nidre Service

Wednesday, September 23
8:45 a.m.
Yom Kippur Family Service for K-7th grade
11:00 a.m. Yom Kippur Morning Service with Yizkor
4:00 p.m. Yom Kippur Afternoon Service
5:30 p.m. Yom Kippur Neilah Service

If you have any questions, please call our office at (925) 283-8575 as soon as possible. We want everyone to start the new year in a peaceful, joyful and meaningful way. L’shanah Tovah.