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High Holy Days

Photo by Jen Boxerman


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

During the High Holy Days, we Jews look inward at our own souls and deeds, and, strengthened by our community, we strive to make the changes that will enable us to become better people in the New Year. Services, classes and programs at Temple Isaiah (described below) allow congregants of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to feel welcome and find meaningful opportunities for prayer, study, and reflection. Many services are multi-generational, 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. We hope you learn and grow with us during the beautiful Ten Days of Awe.  We look forward to starting the year with you in the warm, welcoming community that is Temple Isaiah - Your Jewish Neighborhood. L’Shanah Tovah Tikateivu. May your New Year be filled with sweet blessings!


Photo by Michael Fox Photography

High Holy Days Passes

Members click here to login to your online Temple account and order additional high holy day passes.

Non-members click here to order high holy day passes.

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 are welcome. Please contact (925) 283-8575 for Tot services, or complete the non-member form above.

College students are our guests during High Holy Days. Show ID, Get In Free!

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 2016-2017 fiscal year and in good standing (please renew by August 31, 2016). 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.

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 contact the Temple office at (925) 283-8575 to make the request. 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 the week before services - 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. Please call our office at (925) 283-8575 for more information.

Mishkan HaNefesh Machzor

During the High Holy Days of 2016 (5777), our congregation will be using a wonderful new Machzor (High Holy Day Prayer Book). This Machzor comes in two volumes, one for Rosh Hashanah and one for Yom Kippur. These beautiful and inspiring editions represent the first new High Holy Days texts to be introduced in the Reform Movement in nearly 40 years!

Members have an opportunity to sponsor personalized bookplates to remember a loved one, celebrate a lifecycle occasion, or honor clergy, family and friends. These bookplates are beautifully designed and will be placed in each of the volumes. More details and sponsorship information at

Prepare yourselves for the High Holy Days

View our Welcome to Elul video series with our clergy at

Thursdays, September 15, 22 and 29, 2016 at 7pm in the Oneg Room (note location)
Join Rabbi Shanks, Rabbi LeVine, and Rabbi Greninger as we spend three weeks preparing for the High Holy Days by exploring Mishkan Ha’Nefesh, the new Machzor (prayerbook) that will be used at Temple Isaiah this year.  As we delve into the theology, history, structure, and spirituality of the new machzor, we will turn our hearts, minds, and spirits toward the new year ahead.

S’lichot Program and Service
Saturday, September 24, 2016

7:00 p.m. Join us in the Social Hall where we will watch two short films:  “The Science of Character” and “The Making of a Mensch,” followed by learning and discussion.
8:00 p.m. Service in the Sanctuary. A beautiful and moving service setting us on the path of repentance, forgiveness and renewal. We will also participate in the ritual of changing the Torah mantles to white for the High Holy Day season.

A dessert reception will follow in the foyer. Please sign-up to bring dessert at

Graveside Gathering of Prayer and Remembrance

Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
We will join together at both Gan Shalom and the Isaiah Garden of Tranquility at Oakmont Memorial Park for a ceremony of remembrance led by our clergy, which will be followed by private time to visit the graves of our loved ones. When you enter Oakmont, make the very first turn to the right and continue toward the mausoleum at the end of the road. We will gather near the mausoleum for the service.

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Sunday, October 2, 2016

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 will use the Mishkan HaNefesh Machzor. The choir and musicians fill the Sanctuary with music. Sermon: Rabbi Judy Shanks.

Photographer unknown

Rosh Hashanah Morning: Monday,October 3, 2016

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 ECE Director Rachel Mylan.
8:45 a.m. Family Service for K-7th grade, Sanctuary
A participatory, informal and multi-generational service for families with children in grades K - 7 and all those who prefer earlier morning worship. The service, led by Rabbi Greninger and Rabbi Miller, 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 10:45am. Parking passes available in the Sanctuary lobby.
11:00 a.m. Teen Service & Program for 8-12 grade, Adult Lounge
For 8th- 12th graders, led by Rabbi Alissa Miller, our Youth Director 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 Mishkan HaNefesh Machzor 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. We will offer a special blessing for the non-Jewish members of our community. Sermon: Rabbi Jay Asher LeVine.

Immediately following each Rosh Hashanah service, we will participate in a Tashlich ritual at the Lafayette Reservoir. After the 8:45am Family service, we invite families to bring their own picnic and Noah’s bagels and cream cheese will also be provided. Parking passes available in the Sanctuary lobby for both Tashlich rituals.

Rosh Hashanah Second Day: Tuesday, October 4, 2016
9:00 a.m. Poetry and Chant with Rabbi Shanks and Cantor Korn, Beit Knesset
Join us for an opportunity to learn from a non-traditional approach to the central themes of the High Holy Days, using study and discussion, poetry, music and personal reflection.  Rabbi Shanks and Cantor Korn will lead us in this creative exploration of Teshuvah, T’filah, Tzedakah (Return to the Right Path, Prayer, Righteous Giving) utilizing texts from our new Machzor and other sources. We will have time during our gathering for discussion of the Rosh Hashanah sermons given by our rabbis.

9:00 a.m. Contemplative Walk with Rabbi Jay Asher LeVine, Lafayette Reservoir
Gather at 9 am at the far left (east) side of the reservoir parking lot for this Rosh Hashanah Second Day experience. We will stroll through nature, discuss reflections on the services and sermons, and ponder the deep questions of our lives. Rabbi LeVine recommends 10Q (, an online opportunity to put into writing your answers to these questions between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. You won’t need it for the hike, but it may augment your experience afterwards!

Kol Nidre: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sermon: Rabbi Judy Shanks
5:15 p.m. Kol Nidre Service, Sanctuary
5:15 p.m. Kol Nidre Children’s Program for Temple member children up to 3rd grade, TTC. Registration required by Thursday, October 6. 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 our cellist and sung by Cantor Korn and the choir. Temple Isaiah has a tradition of donning our tallitot in unison at this service. We will use the Mishkan HaNefesh Machzor 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. Sermon: Rabbi Judy Shanks.

While parents and older children attend the early Kol Nidre service with their families in the Sanctuary, we invite our member’s 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. Please click here to register. Questions? Contact (925) 284-9191. The Kol Nidre children’s program is funded by the Charles Emold Memorial Fund.

Yom Kippur: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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 ECE Director Rachel Mylan.
8:45 a.m. Family Service for K-7th grade, Sanctuary
A participatory, informal and multi-generational service for families with children in grades K-7 and all those that prefer earlier morning worship. The service led by Rabbi Greninger and Rabbi Miller, 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, our Youth Director 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 will worship using the Mishkan HaNefesh Machzor. 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, 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. Sermon: Rabbi Jay Asher LeVine.

Mind, Body and Spirit
2:30 p.m. Opportunities for the Mind, Body and Spirit, Various Locations
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 participate in these study, chant and movement opportunities.

Talmud Study in the Talmud Torah Center Room 204
Kol Nidre - “all these vows”. What do we want to get out of our commitments? Come ponder this question and more with Rabbi LeVine as we read Talmud stories of commitments gone wrong.

Mindful Movement in the Beit Knesset
Join temple member Kendra Fried for a gentle and nourishing afternoon of mindful movement, breathing, and reflection, as we embody and integrate the potency of Yom Kippur. Come as you are, no change of clothes or supplies needed. Kendra is the founder of Neshamah Yoga & Wellness.™  She is a yoga therapist, health coach, educator, and facilitator of embodied Judaism and spirituality. 

Sacred Chant in the Adult Lounge
Please join Jeanette Gross for our annual Yom Kippur Sacred Chant Healing Circle in the Adult Lounge from just after morning services until just before our 4pm Mussar Service begins. Using sacred phrases from our tradition paired with simple melodies, we will explore themes of the Days of Awe and the powerful sense of being held in a healing circle at the center of a prayerful community. While directing our prayers to ALL in need of healing, we will focus on our own healing of the spirit, mind and body as well. No prior knowledge of Hebrew or singing is required, just an open heart - willing to give and receive as we learn together. (This session is designed so that you can come in at any time and stay as long as you like. Please feel free to come just for the closing ritual/chant at 3:30)

Remembrance in the CCJDS Makom:
For those wishing to remember a loved one,  HaMakom, a place of comfort for mourners, will be available at 2:30pm in the CCJDS Makom for quiet reflection and sharing of memories with grief group leaders Dawn Boyer Comer and Karen Kupetz.

4:00 p.m. Mussar Service, Sanctuary
There is no higher compliment in the Jewish world than to be called a “mensch,” a kind, generous, honest and loving person.  Jewish tradition gives us a path toward “mensch-hood,” called Mussar.  Like the holy day of Yom Kippur, the Mussar path invites us to examine both our inner life and our outer actions and gives us tools to become the people we truly want to be.  We start small, one character trait at a time, so we can really see growth and change in our lives before we move on to the next.  It’s a life-long pursuit, but one that will help us, from this Yom Kippur to the next, to miss the mark less and be a mensch more.  During this service we will pray, study together, sing and enjoy quiet reflection on the character trait of awe.  What does awe have to do with repentance, growth and love?  Come find out.  All are welcome~no previous study required, only your curiosity and eagerness to become, or continue to be, a mensch. As the afternoon service concludes we will open the Ark for the community to stand on the bima for moments of private prayer and repentance. 

5:00 p.m. Neilah Service, Sanctuary
This service begins with an opportunity for personal prayer in front of the open ark. Neilah, the beautiful concluding service for Yom Kippur, follows directly after the Mussar 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 with a final sounding of the shofar. All shofar players are invited to bring their shofarot for this final blast of the High Holy Days.

Neilah is followed by a community potluck Break-the-Fast in the social hall. CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Photos by Michael Fox Photography

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.

Sukkot: Community-Wide Sukkot Celebrations
Sunday, October 16, 2016
4:00 p.m. - Early Childhood Education Sukkot at Gan Ilan Preschool. Click here for details and to RSVP.

Community-wide Sukkot Celebration
NEW Friday, October 21, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. following the 6:30 p.m. service in the Sanctuary (postponed from Sunday, October 16 due to rain)
Anshei Isaiah and Kulanu invite you to join together in our Sukkah in the upper parking lot to shake the Lulav and Etrog, and sing and learn with clergy. We’ll enjoy a Community-wide potluck Sukkot meal under the open sky and there will be sukkot activities for the kids. Click here to RSVP.

Deadline: Monday, September 19. 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. Email Nina Jones 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. If you have questions about Sukkot traditions, please contact Rabbi Greninger at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Monday, October 17, 2016
9:00 a.m.
Sukkot service in the amphitheater sukkah

Shabbat Friday, October 21, 2016
6pm Happy Half Hour Oneg
6:30pm Shabbat Service in the Sanctuary

Simchat Torah
Sunday, October 23, 2016
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 Denon 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 24, 2016
9:00 a.m.
Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret Service with Yizkor in the Beit Knesset

Contact Us

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