Qabbalat Shabbat: Friday, 6:00 p.m. Torah Study: Saturday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Weekday Minyan: 6:15 p.m.

High Holy Days 5778

High Holy Days 5778

A Colorful Array of Services...

Our worship services are inviting, fulfilling, comforting, joyous, and filled with music. We come from many places; our memories span the globe and many religious streams. We are creating Jewish experiences that embrace our heritage as they acknowledge the spiritual hunger and search for God in contemporary society. Come pray with us during High Holy Days 5778. Add to the sound of our voices. Together, we make a joyful noise.

At Temple Israel, we follow the tradition of Reform Judaism, observing all festivals. Our services are open to innovation and strike a harmonious chord with tradition. We hope our services reflect the joy that Judaism can bring to one’s life, and at the same time be an opportunity for self-reflection and reaching out to the community.

The Orange, Yellow, and Silver Services are Temple Israel’s High Holy Day services in the sanctuary. The majesty of the traditional High Holy Day liturgy will be enhanced by the beautiful accompaniment of a professional string quartet and the poetry of our machzor Mishkan HaNefesh.

"TI is blessed with learned and inspirational clergy. We had the good fortune at last year's Yom Kippur Orange service to hear Rabbi Zecher ask "what are we willing to be wounded for in the name of repairing the world?" Fresh back from a march from Selma to D.C. for voters' rights and racial justice, Rabbi Zecher transfixed us with the significance of symbols and both the relevance and responsibility of being "chosen." It was the first time we found out the distinction between gumption and chutzpah, the latter being the "willingness to show moral grandeur and spiritual audacity, even rightful indignation for the sake of justice and kindness." Repairing this world and country seem more urgent that ever. We know Rabbi Zecher's perspective and wisdom will help pave the way."  

Susan Edgman-Levitan & Richard Levitan,
Orange Service Reflection

Bring your whole self to our creative, experimental Purple Service. Services are held “in the round,” creating a greater sense of intimacy and community. Traditional and contemporary music are interwoven with congregational singing. Meditation, poetry, and interactive conversation are interspersed throughout the liturgy. Our musical prayer and liturgy will be accompanied by the TI Band, and we will use our machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh, as an integral part of the experience.

"This was the instruction as we entered for the afternoon service: on the small red index card on our seat write down a transgression and then place it beside the Torah scroll, laid open in a symbol of vulnerability. Lining up to lay these offerings of human frailty on the altar felt unexpectedly--breathtakingly--powerful. Likewise, the power of standing for Neilah, chairs pushed back, closing the spaces between us so we could feel each others’ physical presence and our spiritual place within this community. This is what I appreciate most about the purple service, the creative ways in which the clergy rethinks each aspect of the service to uncover new meaning and the brave willingness of the participants to open themselves to it. Does it always work for me? No. But, maybe it works for the person next to me. And maybe the next word, the next song, the next newly-interpreted action will touch me in a way this service never has before. There is comfort in repetition--of the seasonal melodies, of liturgy so familiar I can recite it with the prayer book closed. But changing up our expectations offers a new entry point and the possibility of finding new meaning."  

Ellen Steinbaum,
Purple Service Reflection

A new prayer experience that cultivates spiritual practice through meditation, contemplative chanting, and soulful music. Held in the chapel and seated in concentric circles without a formal sermon, this service is rooted in tradition, branching beyond. On Erev Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Sage Service ticket holders will join the Purple Service. Space limited.

Join us in the Blue Service if you are looking for a participatory service designed for families with children ages 7 to 13. This service also contains a sermon or story geared to the age group. On Erev Rosh Hashanah, the Blue Service will be from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. followed by delicious New Year treats. If you have your own shofar or can borrow one, please bring it to the Rosh Hashanah morning service. On Kol Nidre, the service will begin at 6:15 p.m. We do not recommend the Blue Service for children under the age of 7, and encourage you to take children 6 and under to the Rainbow Service.

"We have attended the Blue Service as a family for the past several years. It is a perfect experience for young children and families. The liturgy is designed for kids using a “home grown” siddur specifically for families and the music and fun keeps everyone engaged. We usually sit together as a family but often our kids find friends from religious school to sit with. It is a very interactive service that gets everyone involved: from passing the Torah through the entire congregation to the Rabbis and Cantor getting input from parents or kids during the “sermon”. The sermon time itself has never felt like a traditional sermon. It is always appropriate for kids but the themes and message always hit home for families. We have enjoyed the Blue Service as a way to share the High Holidays together as a family."  

Jen Weber & Laurence Bailen,
Blue Service Reflection

Join us on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at 8:45 a.m. Wayne Potash and the TI rabbis will lead services designed for young children and their families. The services will be followed by activities, art projects, music, and movement. The Rainbow Service is from 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. on Erev Rosh Hashanah and 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. on Kol Nidre and includes fun singing, storytelling and a chance to connect with other families with young children. Every family with children under the age of 6 will automatically receive a complimentary rainbow ticket in the ticket mailing at the end of the summer.

High Holy Days 5778

Service Details


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Begin this season with us on Saturday, September 16, 2017.

A beautiful and inspiring experience awaits you to usher in the Days of Awe. The evening will begin at 8:15 p.m. in the garden or downstairs depending on the weather as we enjoy one another’s company and partake in some refreshments.

At 9:00 p.m., we will have a brief text study of our Congregational Read, The Road to Character, with each of our rabbis sharing a​n inspiring, thought provoking​ passage to help inform our intention as we move closer toward the Days of Awe.

At 10:00 p.m., a unique opportunity to usher in the High Holy Days 5778 will take place. Candles will light up the atrium and their flickering flames will reflect off of the glass ceiling. Harmonious voices will resonate throughout the hall. The Torah scrolls will be brought forward and their velvet coverings will be changed into the white adornment for the holidays.

Enchanting music, time for reflection, moments of introspection, and the presence of one another will create an inspiring experience.

Congregational Read

The Road to Character

Jewish tradition understands that spiritual and moral transformation is an ongoing process, with the High Holy Days serving as an important communal opportunity to focus and encourage our individual growth. The month of Elul, the 30 days prior to Rosh Hashanah, is a time for reflection and contemplation, allowing us to get the most out of our High Holy Day prayer and celebration. Join us this year as we read David Brooks’ book The Road to Character and engage in this important process together.

About the book
David Brooks focuses on the deeper values that can inform our lives. Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our “resume virtues” – achieving wealth, fame, and status – and our “eulogy virtues,” those that exist at the core of being: kindness, bravery, honesty, and faithfulness. Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character.

To learn more about this book and the community it has inspired visit

We invite you to buy or borrow this book and read it throughout the High Holy Day season and join the Temple Israel community as we learn together.

Shabbat Discussion Groups
We will be using four Shabbatot of Elul (August 25, September 1, 8, and 15) at Qabbalat Shabbat to lift up some of its themes and ideas.

On S’lichot, the clergy will be using this book as a foundation for our learning and reflections. We will be sharing sections that will be meaningful to those who are reading the book and accessible to those who have not read the book.

Yom Kippur Afternoon Discussion Groups
Spend an hour together with other Temple Israel members who have read the book to discuss the section on Yom Kippur.

Erev Rosh Hashanah - Together and Under the Tent!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Throughout the High Holy Days 5778 you will have many opportunities to choose from a variety of worship experiences and settings. However, on Erev Rosh Hashanah, we invite you to join the Temple Israel community in a communal entrance to the High Holy Day season. Joined by the full Temple Israel clergy team, we combine the Purple, Yellow, Orange, Sage, and Silver services in the Sanctuary beginning at 7:45 p.m. to welcome the New Year. After the family service ends and before the adult service begins, come into the tent where we will have the opportunity to have hors d’oeuvres with friends and family. After the adult service, linger for a glass of wine and a petit dessert.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

On Rosh Hashanah, rather than ending the services in our seats, we will go across the street to the Muddy River for the experience of Tashlich. The Tashlich service, a beautiful ritual which allows us to symbolically cast our transgressions into the river, will follow each of the late services. The last group leaves at approximately 2:15 p.m.

Extending the Joy of Rosh Hashanah

Friday, September 22, 2017

Everyone interested in observing the second day of Rosh Hashanah is welcome to attend a service on Friday, September 22. Temple Israel members, families, and friends are invited to join a service, led by TI members Andy Sherman and Jeanne Rintell, with prayer, music, and discussion. The service will be held at 10:00 a.m. followed by a dairy/vegetarian pot-luck lunch. No tickets are required and everyone is welcome. Please contact Melissa Carp for more information at 617-566-3960 or

What will you do between the Yom Kippur morning and afternoon services?

Saturday, September 30, 2:00 - 2:45 p.m.

The High Holy Days often stir up many questions, and our rabbis are here to offer their insight and conversation. Bring your thoughts about the important spiritual themes of the day.

Deepen your relationship to prayer through this contemplative dive into poetry with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson.

For first-timers or experienced meditators—we will explore some techniques to relax the body, focus the mind, and open the heart. Led by Carol Targum.

Join us for discussion, meditative exercises, and spiritual reflection on our connections to nature as a source of life, spiritual nourishment, and joy. Led by Roger Gottlieb.

The Road to Character
Spend an hour together with other Temple Israel members who have read the book to discuss the section on Yom Kippur.

Prepare for the afternoon service through text study led by Rabbi Jen Gubitz. Meet other members of the Riverway Project community as we delve, together, into texts.

Calling all teens grades 8-12. This is a time just for you.

Between the morning and afternoon services of Yom Kippur, the ark in the Sanctuary will be left open. During that time, please enter this space in silence and stand before the ark with your own private thoughts. Take as much time as you need and then please exit in silence.




Erev Sukkot
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Sportsmen’s Tennis Club, 950 Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester. Celebrate Sukkot outside with Temple Israel’s TIkkun Central as we volunteer at the Urban Farming Institute. We’ll learn about UFI’s mission to engage urban communities in building a healthier and more locally based food system while volunteering with community members at the farm. RSVP to Tali Puterman at

7:00 p.m. at Temple Israel. Enter our Sukkah of Justice and Compassion at Temple Israel where we will be joined by outside partners from the farm and
other faith communities in a festive celebration.

Thursday, October 5, 2017
10:00 a.m. Younger Children’s Sukkot Program
10:00 a.m. Festival Service with Study Session

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
6:00 p.m. Sukkot Harvest Celebration (20’s & 30’s)

For all of the subsequent days of the holiday, take advantage of our one-of-a-kind indoor sukkah, set up in the atrium and outside in the courtyard! We will host various programs and study sessions. BYO dinner and enjoy eating it under the Sukkah.

Simchat Torah

Erev Simchat Torah
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
4:15 p.m. Yizkor
5:00 p.m. Consecration for new students, programs for children of all ages, and adult Torah study
6:00 p.m. Festival service for all in the Sanctuary, followed by dancing with the Torah on Nessel Way

Simchat Torah
Thursday, October 12, 2017
10:00 a.m. Younger Children’s Program
10:00 a.m. Festival Service with Study Session

Forms and Registrations

Machzor Book Plate

Due August 28, 2017

The Reform Movement’s High Holy Day machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is the result of collaboration among rabbis, cantors, lay leaders, and members of Reform congregations. A machzor for the present and the future needs to balance tradition and inspiration.

In 2015 we established a Mishkan HaNefesh Book Fund. We ask that you consider dedicating a book plate, in the amount of $72, to be placed in the front of our beautiful siddurim to remember or honor a loved one, teacher, or friend. We look forward to sharing the High Holy Day season with you.

Yizkor Memorial Book

Due September 8, 2017

Our Yizkor Memorial Book is a treasured tradition at Temple Israel. It is distributed at the Yizkor Service in lieu of reading aloud the names of those whom we wish to remember. The Memorial Book automatically includes the names of Temple Israel members who have passed away since last Yom Kippur and those who have memorial plaques in the Memorial Alcove or on the Memorial Menorah.


We will be offering babysitting for children up to age 10 during High Holy Day services. The licensed provider is, and a nominal fee will include child care, a nut-free snack, and fun activities. Limited space available, so please register using the link below.


Due August 28, 2017

The membership has expressed its desire to follow the Temple Israel bylaws, which requires tickets for admission. Please help us ensure that your tickets are for your use only. Tickets will provide you with seating in a particular color service. All forms are due back by August 28, 2017, and tickets will be mailed in early September. 

We are pleased to offer complimentary tickets to military personnel and full-time students. Temple Israel members may purchase extra tickets for family members at a cost of $118 for each extra ticket.

We offer non-members tickets for $180 each. This is a wonderful opportunity for any of your friends who are looking to try Temple Israel for the High Holy Days and to get to know the Temple Israel family. For anyone who joins during the year, membership dues will be credited with the total price of the tickets. This is only applicable to those who have never been Temple Israel members in the past and is only good for one year.

The Riverway Project offers a free service for those in their 20’s and 30’s led by Rabbi Gubitz. Pre-registration required.

Be An Ambassador

It takes a minimum of 70 volunteer ambassadors to make sure that the High Holy Days schedule runs smoothly. We will train you. All you really need is a welcoming smile and a friendly demeanor. As an ambassador, you will still be able to worship with your family. Please let us know that we can count on you. Contact Traci Laichter to volunteer (, 617-566-3960).