High Holy Day art by Sol Yael Weiss

שמיטה – Shmita
The Rhythm of Rest & Radical Change
Kehilla High Holy Days 2021/5782

Rosh Hashanah Evening Monday, Sept. 6
Rosh Hashanah Day One  Tuesday, Sept. 7
Rosh Hashanah Day Two  Wednesday, Sept. 8

Tashlich  Wednesday, Sept. 8

Kol Nidre Evening  Wednesday, Sept. 15
Yom Kippur & Ne’ilah  Thursday, Sept. 16

Can you remember the last time you felt fully rested? When you really stopped striving to create, in order to just be?

What are the rhythms of rest that support us to live and grow?

The Jewish tradition of Shmita teaches us the radical practice of rest and release.

This Rosh Hashanah we begin a Shmita year, a once-in-seven-years Shabbat for the land in which we are called to refrain from planting or harvesting. Tradition asks that in this time, the land itself should be allowed to rest, to just be. The Shmita year is also a time of release – of releasing debts and forgiving loans. It’s a year of re-setting, a year of letting things unfold in their own time, instead of pushing; it’s a year of receiving whatever is given, instead of pursuing what we think we want or need.

As we engage in teshuvah, tefillah, and tzedakah (re-alignment and repair, prayer and reflection, righteous action and resource sharing) this High Holy Day season, we’ll explore how the wisdom of Shmita allows for the healing, joy and justice we seek to emerge in new ways. We will be joined by special guest Corrina Gould, Spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, as our teacher on Rosh Hashanah Evening.

Our High Holy Day services are open to all – everyone is welcome!

Kehilla Community Synagogue is an open-hearted, inclusive and welcoming Jewish Renewal synagogue of social progressives and spiritual seekers of all ages, identities and family constellations. We are located on Lisjan-Ohlone land in Oakland’s Grand Lake district.

Accessibility note: All main services, not including Family and Tot services, will feature live text captioning.

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About Kehilla’s High Holy Days

Due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfire smoke, our Main, Family & Tot Services will be live-streamed on Zoom. All tickets are for both Rosh Hashanah AND Yom Kippur. Our ticket site will remain open throughout the High Holy Days.

Does your family wish to attend only our Family & Tot Services? Visit the Kehilla Family & Tot Service ticket page here. Tickets to our Main Services includes access to Family & Tot Services.

Kehilla members receive High Holy Day tickets with membership – become a member here! If you have not yet renewed, please click here to renew today. Members can register friends and family below.

Already have your tickets? The links to all services will be emailed in the days before holidays. If you haven’t received them, please be sure to check your spam folder (really!). Still can’t find them? Contact us at tech@kehillasynagogue.org.

Get Tickets Here!

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Preparing for High Holy Days

Accessing the Kehilla High Holy Day Machzor / Prayerbook
Kehilla High Holy Day Machzor [PDF]

Deepening Your Practice for Virtual Services
Explore ways to transform your space and activate ritual with these possibilities dreamed up by Rabbi Dev and Hazzan Shulamit.

Upcoming Services

Yom Kippur – Thursday, September 16

Storytime with Rabbi Gray Myrseth: 9:30 am – 9:55am

Storytime with Rabbi Gray Myrseth

Aimed at children and their grown-ups.

Main Services, Beginning with Sound Mikvah: 9:30 am, Zoom Webinar

see service description

Main Services begin with a 10 minute “Mikvah in Sound” with Debbie Fier on handpan. 

Morning D’var Torah by Fresh “Lev” White.* Service led by Rabbi Dev and Hazzan Shulamit with musical prayer leaders Julie Nesnansky and Debbie Fier. Torah service with Rabbi Gray Myrseth.

Yom Kippur Afternoon Workshops: 2:45pm – 3:45pm, Zoom Meetings

A Movement Practice to Reflect and Refresh with Sandra Razieli

Take some time to honor your body with gentle movements to rejuvenate and refresh your soul. Our practice will incorporate yoga-based movements as well as other modalities. The practice will be gentle but will require the ability to move from reclined to standing. Please bring a strap or a belt and whatever you need to sit comfortably on the floor.

Sandra Razieli served for many years at Kehilla as the Director of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program and as a Spiritual Leader. She has been a movement instructor for over 20 years.

Stepping In: Building a BIPOC Community with Ruthie Levin

Led by Ruthie Levins, Kehilla’s People Of Color Coordinator. A workshop focused on ways for Jews of Color to step into Jews of Color spaces and connect.

QiGong & Meditation with Diana Lion

You are warmly invited to an hour of relaxing meditation and Qigong practice.  During this Shmita year, we each get to explore our own rhythms and connect more deeply with what radical rest means to our own system. The practices I offer support us to harmonize our bodies, heart-minds, spirits, and life-force.  We will combine gentle movements and alive stillness, while sitting, standing and/or lying down – whatever fits best for you.

The emphasis is on connecting internally during this sacred time.  Embodying our spiritual commitments can help them become an even deeper part of our Being and practice.

Anyone wanting to attend is welcome to come just as you are.  No prior experience with meditation or Qigong is needed.  You are always welcome to adapt any movements to fit your own needs.

Becoming Allies with Palestinians with Rabbi Burt Jacobson

Members of Kehilla’s Middle East Peace Committee have been part of delegations to Palestine sponsored by the Center for Jewish Non-Violence, working on projects that support Palestinians who are facing Israeli brutality. What if members of Kehilla could be part of such an alliance with Palestinians without leaving the Bay Area? Kehilla’s Founding Rabbi has been developing a blueprint for such a project which would act as a form of teshuvah and reparations for the destruction that has been caused by Israel.

In this workshop Rabbi Burt will describe the possibility of an alliance with a Palestinian village in which members of our congregation would be able to directly aid the residents of the village. If we decide to undertake such a project, we would be working in partnership with non-violent Israeli activists, supporting their efforts on the ground, and we would be in direct electronic contact with the villagers. During the workshop there will be time for attendees to ask questions, and because the plan is still in a formative state, Burt welcomes the ideas of those who might feel called to participate in implementing such a project.

Attendees will be invited to join an ongoing bi-weekly working group with Rabbi Burt to study the spiritual and moral dimensions of such an alliance, its roots in Jewish tradition, and the many practical aspects that would be necessary to initiate the project.

The workshop is sponsored by Kehilla’s Middle East Peace Committee.

“It’s About Time; It’s All About Time” with Rabbi David Cooper, 4:00pm – 4:45pm, Zoom Meeting

see service description

A teaching from Rabbi David on the life-long Jewish spiritual journey through time. Heschel said that Judaism builds cathedrals of time. These time-edifices enable us to live in time as a heightened or sacred experience. Shmittah, Omer, Shabbat, holiday-cycles, shiva, jubilee, all create the tools whereby we can “number our days” and redeem our lives.

Yizkor: 5:45pm, Zoom Meeting

see service description

Led by Victoria Alara Alcoset with Wren Ganin-Pinto, Hazzan Shulamit and Debbie Fier. 

Ne’ilah: 6:45pm, Zoom Meeting

see service description

Ne’ilah will be in a Zoom meeting where we’ll see each other’s faces. Led by Howard Hamburger, Hazzan Shulamit, Debbie Fier, Julie Nesnansky, and Beth Dickinson. Before Yom Kippur ends and the gates of teshuvah swing shut, we gather our strength and courage to delve deeply inward, to pour out our prayers like water, and to raise our voices in song and lift the roof!

Hangout Rooms

see service description

Zoom hangout rooms will begin 5 minutes after services conclude so we can celebrate and share a sense of community during our virtual services:

Community Hangout Room Starts fifteen (15) minutes after Main Services (All are welcome!)

Glitter Hangout Room Starts five (5) minutes after Main Services (For folks in their 20s or 30s, loosely interpreted!)

*A “D’var Torah” is a Torah teaching – literally, a word of Torah.

 

Past Services

Selichot – Saturday, August 28, Update: Virtual Only

Evening Service: 8:00 pm

see service description

Selichot is our portal into the Days of Awe and the process of teshuva, of turning inward with love and curiosity to face ourselves with clarity and truth. Selichot limbers up our ability to ask for forgiveness. Before we enter the great time of Rosh Hashanah, we gather in the intimate circle of Selichot – just us – to begin the tender and life-giving practice of looking deeply and clearly at our lives. Join Rabbi Dev, Hazzan Shulamit Wise Fairman, and Kehilla’s bima team for song, prayer, and story to get us on our way.

Bring (optional): Please prepare by finding a piece of white string or yarn (cooking twine or dental floss will do!) and if you have wine/grape juice, spices, and/or a Havdalah candle, we’ll be making Havdalah at the beginning of this service.

UPDATE: Due to rising Delta cases, we have had to cancel the in-person option for Selichot. Please join us on Zoom to welcome in the Days of Awe. Join us here!

Erev Rosh Hashanah – Monday, September 6

Main Service: 7:00 pm, Zoom Webinar

see service description

Welcome the new year, celebrate the birthday of the world, and gather with our community as we face this moment together, and begin to draw on the practices of this season to sustain us and uplift us in difficult times.

Sermon by Corrina Gould, Spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. Service led by Rabbi Dev Noily and Hazzan Shulamit with Musical Prayer Leaders Debbie Fier and Beth Dickinson, and an update on our Belonging and Allyship Project from Ruthie Levin, our POC Organizer.

Bring (optional): Candles to light with us at the beginning of service, challah and wine or juice for Kiddush and Motzi after services.

Hangout Rooms

see service description

Zoom hangout rooms will begin 5 minutes after services conclude so we can celebrate and share a sense of community during our virtual services:

Community Hangout Room (All are welcome!)

People of Color Hangout Room (This hangout space is for people who identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous and/or People of Color ONLY)

Glitter Hangout Room (For folks in their 20s or 30s, loosely interpreted!)

Rosh Hashanah Day 1 – Tuesday, September 7

Main Service: 9:30 am, Zoom Webinar

see service description

Led by Howard Hamburger and Hazzan Shulamit Wise Fairman, with a teen sermon by Anthony Rose-Strochlic and musical prayer leaders Julie Nesnansky and Debbie Fier.

Bring (optional): Tallit/prayer shawl and challah, wine or juice for Kiddush and Motzi after services, plus shofar, kazoo or horn!

Tot Service: 9:30 am, Update: Virtual

see service description

With Jen Miriam and Alon Altman.  Enjoy a Rosh Hashanah experience with puppets, music and lots of fun for our youngest celebrants and the grown-ups who love them.

Important Update: Due to concerns about wildfire smoke and the COVID-19 variants, we have made the difficult decision to transition our in-person Rosh Hashanah Family & Tot gathering to a virtual event. We will be hosting a special Family circle at our outdoors Tashlich!

Family Service: 10:45 am, Update: Virtual

see service description

Join Musical Prayer Leaders Beth Dickinson and Wren Ganin-Pinto with Rabbi Gray Myrseth for stories, songs, and a fun, kid-centered experience that includes Shofar sounding, a Torah story, and other Rosh Hashanah traditions. Designed for children in grades 1 to 6, and open to all ages.

Important Update: Due to concerns about wildfire smoke and the COVID-19 variants, we have made the difficult decision to transition our in-person Rosh Hashanah Family & Tot gathering to a virtual event. We will be hosting a special Family & Tot circle at our outdoors Tashlich!

Hangout Rooms

see service description

Zoom hangout rooms will begin 5 minutes after services conclude so we can celebrate and share a sense of community during our virtual services:

Community Hangout Room (All are welcome!)

People of Color Hangout Room (This hangout space is for people who identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous and/or People of Color ONLY)

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 – Wednesday, September 8

Chanting: 9:15 am, Zoom Meeting

see service description

Gathering, chanting, and settling in begins at 9:15 a.m.

Main Service: 9:30 am, Zoom Meeting

see service description

We invite you to a morning of sacred song and teachings, mindfulness, prayer, healing, and shared community experience. Led by Rabbi Chaya Gusfield and Buddhist teacher Eve Decker.

Bring (optional): Tallit or prayer shawl, challah, wine or fruit juice

Virtual Oneg: 11:30 am, Zoom Meeting

see service description

Join us for blessings over wine and challah, followed by time to reflect and an opportunity to get to know each other.

Tashlich with Jews on Ohlone Land – Wednesday, September 8

Socially-Distanced/Outdoors at West Berkeley Shellmound: 5:00 pm

see service description

Start time to be announced soon!

Join Jews On Ohlone Land, Jewish Youth for Community Action, and Kehilla Community Synagogue for an outdoor, socially distanced, family friendly, community Tashlich ritual. Tashlich is the tradition of casting into the water the mistakes we’ve made over the last year, and cleansing ourselves to begin anew.

We’ll gather at the West Berkeley Shellmound at 1900 Fourth St at 5:00 pm for a short program and then walk together to the Berkeley Marina. Between 6:00 and 7:00pm we will gather near Adventure Playground, just east of the Cal Adventures West Dock on the Berkeley Marina for Tashlich. Please bring greens, duck or fish food, or another organic biodegradable material for your Tashlich. You’re also welcome to bring a shofar to blow at our closing circle at the Marina.

Tashlich Family Program: We’ll gather at 5:15 at the West Berkeley Shellmound (following the main program). After an opening activity, we’ll walk together to the Berkeley Marina, pausing along the way for learning and activities. We’ll rejoin the main group near the Adventure Playground, just east of the Cal Adventures West Dock, for tashlich. Any young people who have shofars to blow are particularly encouraged to join the shofar blowers at the closing circle.

Shabbat Shuva & Healing Service – Saturday, September 11

Morning Service: 10:00 am; Healing Service: 11:00am, Zoom Meeting – RSVP Required

see service description

Practice in the power of this single Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – the Shabbat of Turning. Shabbat prayers led by Howard Hamburger and Julie Nesnansky through the Amidah. Then from 11:00am-12:00 pm, the Healing service will be led by Rabbi Elliot Kukla and Beth Dickinson.This will be a service of prayer and self-reflection, as we focus on marking losses and interconnected healing for our bodies, communities, and the planet. According to Jewish tradition this Shabbat in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is a particularly holy time for reflection and return to our most authentic ways of being. This service will center a Disability Justice approach, which is intersectional and sees racial justice as inextricably tied to healing. All are welcome to attend. Everyone (from all backgrounds, and all abilities) is welcome! Howard and Julie will lead concluding shabbat morning prayers following the Healing Service.

Register and join us for this service here!

Teen Program: Various Start Times, Kehilla Courtyard

see service description

Middle School Program (6th-8th Grades): 4-5:30pm
High School Program (9th-12th Grades): 5:45-7:15pm

Join Natalie Boskin in-person in Kehilla’s courtyard for our 5782 teen High Holy Day teen program! 5782 is a “Shmita year”—but what does that mean? And how does an ancient cycle of resting the land relate to our world today? We will use our time together to explore those questions (and others), as well as celebrate our first in-person teen gathering since High Holy Days 5780! 

What to expect? During each age group-specific program, the first hour will be structured (including a combination of ritual and discussion exploring the themes of renewal, return, and rest). The last half hour will be an unstructured time for us to hang out together. 

Enrollment is on a first come, first serve basis and we may need to cap this program. So please be sure to enroll if your child is interested in attending. Please click here to register for this program (same link for middle and high school registration).

Please email Natalie directly if you have any questions or concerns: natalie@kehillasynagogue.org.

Kol Nidre – Wednesday, September 15

Tot Service: 5:30 pm, Zoom Meeting

see service description

Jen Miriam and Alon Altman bring their warm, loving and puppet-filled world to a musical Kol Nidre experience for little ones up to age 5 and their grown-ups.

Family Service: 6:30 pm, Zoom Meeting

see service description

Designed for children in grades 1 to 6; everyone welcome!

Join Kehilla’s Rabbi Educator, Rabbi Gray Myrseth, for a special family experience of Kol Nidre. Enter into the holiness of Yom Kippur with stories, songs, and family activities on the theme of teshuvah (literally “turning,” but also means “relationship repair”). Are there things we want to say sorry for? Are there ways we want to try again in the new year? Together we’ll explore these questions and others.

Main Service: 6:30 pm, Zoom Webinar

see service description

Sermon by Rabbi Dev Noily. Services led by Avi Rose and Hazzan Shulamit Wise Fairman with musical prayer leaders Beth Dickinson and Debbie Fier.

On this holiest night of the Jewish year it’s our custom to wear white, to avoid leather, to fast, and to pray wearing a tallit/prayer shawl – the only time in the year that a tallit is worn at night. This service, beginning with the chanting of Kol Nidre, initiates a practice period that will last for the next 25 hours.

Hangout Rooms

see service description

Zoom hangout rooms will begin 5 minutes after services conclude so we can celebrate and share a sense of community during our virtual services:

Community Hangout Room (All are welcome!)

People of Color Hangout Room (This hangout space is for people who identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous and/or People of Color ONLY)