High Holy Days 5781 (2020)

2020/5781 High Holiday Highlights

Join us for worship on ZOOM

ZOOM links for services and other events are posted on our home page in the upcoming services and events section towards the bottom of the page. ZOOM links will be posted a few days (not necessarily weeks) in advance. You will need a passcode to join. Members will receive the code in mailed and emailed versions of this information. Call 802-862-5125 or email the office if you need help.

This year’s High Holy Day services will be a different experience to what we are used to. Our services will be led by Rabbi David Edleson and Cantor Mark Leopold. Due to the pandemic and the significantly heightened risks of singing in closed spaces, we will not be celebrating in the Sanctuary but will continue our worship on ZOOM as we have been every Shabbat. Services will be a bit shorter than our usual High Holy Day services to help avoid “ZOOM fatigue.” Still, we will strive to create meaningful spiritual experiences and a sense of connection even if we can’t be together in the sanctuary.

Please share this with others you know and trust if they wish to join us. As we have the past two years, we are not requiring tickets. We need and welcome your financial support.

TECHNICAL HELP – If you need technical help getting on ZOOM, just call the temple and leave a message or email us. Our administrator, Stacie Gabert will get back to you. If you haven’t been on ZOOM, get in touch early, and please don’t wait until the day before to get in touch. You can also consult our ZOOM help page.

CAN’T PRAY ON ZOOM? For many of us, ZOOM gets in the way of having a spiritual experience, we will also be sending short “audio-only” and printed prayer services and kavanot (meditations) for you to use at home, or even better, out in nature.

2020 High Holy Day Service Descriptions and Schedule

For additional information and service descriptions, just click on the service title!

View/Download a PDF of the HH schedule and information

A Glossary of High Holiday Words and Phrases


S’lichot Service with Ohavi Zedek
Saturday, September 12 | 8:00 pm

Rosh Hashanah

Celebrate the spiritual New Year of the Jewish people. Our services will be participatory, full of music and collective singing, joyful at the goodness of creation, sensitive to the ache of the human heart, and mindful of the myriad ways that we as individuals and a community could be more just, accepting and kind.

Erev Rosh Hashanah Worship
Friday, September 18 | 6:30 pm

Rosh Hashanah Young Families Service 
Saturday, September 19 | 9:00 am

Rosh Hashanah Morning Services
Saturday, September 19 | 10:00 am

Tashlich CeremonyVarious Locations (Watch your email and our home page)
Saturday, September 19 | 4:00 pm

Insomniac Lounge – an alternaive Rosh Hashanah service
Saturday, September 19 | 10:00 pm


Services Between RH & YK

Shofar Drive-thru
Sunday, September 20  | 11:00 am

JCVT Vermont-wide  Shabbat Shuva Service
Friday, September 25  | 5:30 pm Study session, 6:00 pm Shabbat service

Insomniac Lounge – Shabbat Shuva meditation service
Friday, September 25  | 10:00 pm

Shabbat Shuvah Morning Shacharit
Saturday, September 26 | 9:30 am

Shabbat Shuvah Torah Study
Saturday, September 26 | 10:30 am

Yom Kippur – Coming Clean

Yom Kippur is a time of reflection, confession, and atonement, but it is also a time of spiritual cleansing and renewal. The ability to admit when we are wrong is crucial to growth and integrity, and Yom Kippur is set aside for us to jump start that process.

Kol Nidre/Erev Yom Kippur
Sunday, September 27 | 6:30 pm

Yom Kippur Morning Young Families Service
Monday, September 28 | 9:00 am

Yom Kippur Morning Service
Monday, September 28 | 10:00 am

Yom Kippur Yizkor Service
Monday, September 28 | 1:00 pm

Special Program – Making Prayer Real: Engaging Yom Kippur
Monday, September 28 | 3:00 pm

Yom Kippur Minchah and Torah Study
Monday, September 28 | 4:30 pm

Monday, September 28 | 6:00 pm

Break Fast
Monday, September 28 | 7:00 pm

More questions? Please email us or use the Contact Us form on this website.

Additional Service and Event Information

Rosh Hashanah

Erev Rosh Hashanah Service – Awe and humility in the face of life’s power and fragility
Friday, September 18 – 6:30-7:30 pm

This year, we have had many reasons to reflect on the fragility of life, and the thin line that separates life from death. As we enter our spiritual new year, let’s appreciate the power of life and the beauty of creation as we renew our relationship with God.

Rosh Hashanah Morning – Young Families Service
Saturday, September 19 – 9:00-10:00 am

The key parts of Rosh HaShanah reimagined for little Jews and their friends. Songs, stories, and key ideas of the New Year with Saragail Benjamin and Rabbi Edleson.

Rosh Hashanah Morning Services – In the Image of God
Saturday, September 19 – 10:00-11:30 am

Judaism teaches that every person is created in the image of God. What would it mean to live our lives and build our society according to this radical idea?

Tashlich Ceremony – Casting off the Angst (and sins) of the Past Year
Saturday, September 19 – 4:00 pm Place to be determined

This year, we will symbolically let go of some of the angst and tensions we have built up over the year, and cast our sins symbolically into the water. Those who feel safe gathering outdoors at a local waterfront will join for this ritual. Those who can use our ‘Tashlich do-it-yourself” kit (just add bread!) with audio guide that will be sent to you, along with maps to other places you might go near you to enjoy nature and perform your tashlich ceremony.

INSOMNIAC LOUNGE: Alternative Rosh Hashanah Service
Saturday, Sept 19 – 10:00-11:00 pm

Want to honor the holy day, but don’t get much out of traditional services? Join Rabbi Edleson for this one-hour alternative style service, one that focuses on personal transformation through guided meditations, chants and discussion.

Between RH & YK

Shofar Drive-thru
Sunday, Sept 20 – 11:00–11:30 am

Does hearing the Shofar over ZOOM not quite cut it? From 11 – 11:30am, drive through the Temple Sinai parking lot with your windows down to hear the Shofar blown live, and get a gift bag for the new year. Rain or Shine.

Shabbat Shuva Services

Shabbat Shuva Kabbalat Shabbat Service
Friday, September 25 – 5:30 pm (study), 6:00 pm (worship)

With a focus on teshuvah, or spiritual renewal, Shabbat Shuva is meant to open us up to the sacred and remember the divine spark within. Jewish Communities of Vermont (JCVT) brings together the statewide Jewish community for a study session and special service with clergy from throughout Vermont.

With Beth El Synagogue, PJ Library in Vermont, Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, Temple Sinai, Ruach HaMaqom, BAJC-Shir HeHarim, Jewish Community of Greater Stowe (JCOGS), Beth Jacob Synagogue, Rutland Jewish Center, WAJC-Shir Shalom, and Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation (NH).

Insomniac Lounge – Shabbat Shuva Meditation Service
Friday, September 25 – 10:00-11:00 pm

Join Rabbi Edleson for this alternative-style service that include visualization, discussion, chanting, and perhaps a nightcap. If regular services aren’t for you…

Shabbat Shuvah Shacharit
Saturday, September 26 – 9:30-10:30 am

Our one-hour Shacharit service is rooted in the traditional chanting of prayers, but includes English readings and song as well so that all can be included. (This service does not include a Torah service.)

Shabbat Shuvah Torah Study
Saturday September 26 – 10:30-noon

Study some key Bible texts of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur through the lens of MUSSAR.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is a time of reflection, confession, and atonement, but it is also a time of spiritual cleansing and renewal. As on Rosh HaShanah, our services will be primarily on ZOOM, but we will include alternatives for those who don’t like to worship through a screen.

Kol Nidre/Erev Yom Kippur – Facing Our Broken Promise
Sunday, September 27 – 6:30-8:00 pm

We have all broken promises. We also have promise we have not realized, as individuals, as family members, as Jews, and as citizens. In this solemn service, we will face the dark mirror of our broken promise and promises.

Yom Kippur Morning Young Families Service
Monday, September 28 – 9:00-10:00 am

The key themes of Rosh HaShanah reimagined for little Jews and their friends. Songs, stories, and key ideas of the New Year with Saragail Benjamin and Rabbi Edleson.

Yom Kippur Morning Service
Monday, September 28 – 10:00-Noon

Yom Kippur calls to us in the voice of our ancestors, reminding us of the importance of humility and empathy in the face of a culture torn by polarization, consumption and egoism.

Yom Kippur Yizkor – (This year, expanded with a new time!)
Monday, September 28 – 1:00-2:00 pm

Join us for an expanded Yizkor to remember members of our family and community who have died. We will also remember those we have lost to COVID, and to violence against immigrants, people of color, transpeople, and Jews.

Discussion: Making Prayers Real – Prayers of Yom Kippur
Monday, September 28 – 3:00-4:00 pm

Year after year, we have heard these prayers, but do we really pray them? In this session, Rabbi Edleson will consider ways to open more fully to prayer by exploring key prayers of the day. Who wrote them? Why? Do we agree with them? How might we find meaning in them today?

Yom Kippur Minchah Service
Monday, September 28 – 4:30-5:30 pm

Change is difficult. Each repetition of the Yom Kippur prayers is meant to deepen our experience as we peel away layers of resistance to t’shuvah. Join us for this service of concentrated prayer and offer your private confessions as we atone together.

Yom Kippur Neilah – The Closing of the Gates
Monday, September 28 – 6:00-7:00 pm

Prayers for forgiveness turn to songs of gratitude and celebration at being forgiven and starting the new year afresh. We will also use songs to inspire us to do the work we need to do in the world in this new year full of challenges and opportunities. The day culminates in the final T’kiah G’dola blast of the shofar as the sun sets over the Green Mountains.

Break Fast – “Do Not Separate Yourself from the Community” ~Hillel
Immediately following closing prayers 

Join us to start the year off by being together virtually as a community. BYOBagels!