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 5779

Shanah Tovah!

We look forward to celebrating the High Holy Days together with you!

Rabbi Elaine Zecher


Cantor Roy Einhorn


Rabbi Matthew Soffer

clergy clergy-2

Rabbi Suzie Jacobson

clergy clergy-2

Rabbi Jen Gubitz

clergy clergy-2

Our Pathway Through the High Holy Days

Tickets and Forms

Temple Israel members may purchase extra tickets for family members at a cost of $118 for each extra ticket, using the link below.

As a reminder, tickets are non-transferable; please do not share your tickets. Children under the age of 8 do not need tickets. You will receive your High Holy Day tickets approximately two weeks prior to Rosh Hashanah. All families with children under the age of 6 will automatically receive Rainbow tickets. Please note that, as stated in our Bylaws, it is Temple Israel policy that “…at least 25% of annual dues be paid prior to receiving High Holy Day tickets…also any previous monies owed.” To guarantee you receive your tickets on time in the mail, please make sure all necessary payments are made by August 15, 2018.

If you are a member in good standing and plan on celebrating the High Holy Days elsewhere, you may be able to receive High Holy Day courtesy seating at another Union for Reform Judaism congregation. For more information, please contact Dekel Luban at or 617-566-3960.

Please confirm your membership in the field below to continue:

Enter your Household ID to validate your membership

You can find your member ID number on the upper right-hand corner of the billing statements you receive from Temple Israel. If you have any questions about this, please call us at 617-566-3960.

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.

Join us for the 5779 High Holy Day season! In partnership with Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), we are excited to be offering this open door opportunity to connect 20s and 30s to Judaism and to each other during this important moment in the Jewish year. This year, after our Erev Rosh Hashanah service, we will once again be hosting a Jew Years Eve celebration (previously known as “The Big Schmooze”), an oneg-style light dinner & hangout. Please contact Riverway Project Coordinator, Nikk Modell-Wasserman with any questions.

Erev Rosh Hashanah Services: Sunday, September 9 at 6:15 p.m.
Kol Nidre Services: Tuesday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m.

We are pleased to be able to offer these services at no cost to those in their 20s and 30s in the Boston area (regular service tickets for non-members are $180!). Please consider contributing so that we can continue to offer affordable and accessible High Holy Day programming, and so we can serve the Riverway community all year long.

Space is limited; if you register and your plans change, please let us know so we can accommodate as many people as possible.

We are pleased to offer complimentary childcare services to members during High Holy Day services! Professional, licensed caregivers will be providing onsite care to children aged 10 and under, from: 

  • 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Rosh Hashanah (Monday, September 10)
  • 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Yom Kippur (Wednesday, September 19)

Registration is required – space is limited so please sign up today!

The Reform Movement’s High Holy Day machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is the result of collaboration between 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! Please contact Sue Misselbeck at 617-566-3960 with questions.

Our Yizkor Memorial Book is a treasured tradition at Temple Israel. It is distributed at the Yizkor Service (Wednesday, September 19, 2018) 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. No action is necessary for the names of individuals falling under these categories to be listed in the Memorial Book. If you would like to include a listing for anyone else, we ask that this form be filled out along with a nominal contribution of $25 per name to defray production costs. Please contact Sue Misselbeck at 617-566-3960 with questions.

We are pleased to offer complimentary tickets to military personnel and full-time undergraduate students.

If you are a member in good standing and plan on celebrating the High Holy Days elsewhere, you may be able to receive High Holy Day courtesy seating at another Union for Reform Judaism congregation.

For more information, please contact Dekel Luban at or 617-566-3960.

Prepare for the High Holy Day Season with us

In 1946, amidst a world still aching and broken by war, our former Senior Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman published his book Peace of Mind, in an attempt to provide solace and hope to a community that was struggling to come to terms with the war’s new horrors and hatreds. As we read Rabbi Liebman’s book today, we not only honor his insightful and compassionate legacy, we also find new meaning and urgency in his words, as we as a society once again find ourselves disturbed by newfound hatreds and institutional violence in the world. In Rabbi Loth Liebman’s own words:

“It may seem strange for a man to write a book about peace of mind in this age of fierce turmoil and harrowing doubts. I have written this book in the conviction that social peace can never be permanently achieved so long as individuals engage in civil war with themselves… In this book I try to present some answers that have proved helpful to me about the universal human dilemmas of conscience, love, fear, grief, and God– crucial problems that present themselves in every kind of society, and, I believe, will present themselves as long as man is man.”

We invite you to buy or borrow this book and read it in preparation for the High Holy Day season. You can also find the original version of the book online, here. We will be using four Shabbatot of Elul (August 17, 24, 31, and September 7) at Qabbalat Shabbat to lift up some of its themes and ideas, and we will spend an hour together with other Temple Israel members who have read the book to discuss the section on Yom Kippur afternoon.

8:15 p.m. Garden Gathering & Discussion

9:30 p.m. Candle-lit Service

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” (Hillel).

We start on this pathway of thought on S’lichot, our evening gathering, which draws us into these Days of Awe. With candles illuminating our path, we begin to pose the eternal questions of our existence. Through exploration, forgiveness, apology, we return to our best selves. Out in the garden, as the sun sets, the clergy will be using our congregational read, Peace of Mind, as a foundation for our learning and reflections by sharing sections that will be meaningful to those who are reading the book and accessible to those who have not read the book.

See who else is planning to come!

Make you service experience meaningful

Choose from 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 5779. 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.

See service details below the full service schedule.

The majesty of the traditional High Holy Day liturgy in our Sanctuary will be enhanced by the beautiful accompaniment of professional instrumentalists 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

Services are held with 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

A new prayer experience on Rosh Hashanah Morning, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur Morning 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 afternoon, Sage Service ticket holders will join the Purple Service. Limited space available.

A welcoming Erev Rosh Hashanah service (followed by a Jew Year’s Eve Celebration with an informal light dinner) and Kol Nidre service for those in their 20s and 30s led by Rabbi Jen Gubitz. Pre-registration required.

A participatory service designed for families. This service contains a sermon or story geared to children ages 7 – 13. If you have your own shofar or can borrow one, please bring it to the Rosh Hashanah morning service. At the conclusion of the service on Rosh Hashanah morning, join us for a Blue and Rainbow service Tashlich, a beautiful ritual which allows us to symbolically cast our transgressions into the river.

“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

The Rainbow Service, led by Temple Israel clergy and with Wayne Potash in the morning services, includes singing, storytelling, and a chance to connect with other families with young children. Every family will automatically receive a complimentary rainbow ticket by mail at the end of the summer. If you do not need it, please share it with someone who does!

While you’re in the later morning services…take advantage of our babysitting program! We will be offering babysitting for children up to age 10 during High Holy Day services. A nominal fee will include child care by a licensed provider, a nut-free snack, and fun activities. Limited space is available, please register online:

Rosh Hashanah

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

Rosh Hashanah is our New Year, our great communal homecoming, returning from our scattered places and spaces, gathering with our utmost questions and aspirations. As one community, we affirm the very best of who we are and can become. We return to the sweetness of life, eating apples and honey, singing our hearts out, and rekindling our treasured relationships. In the presence of one another, we address the question “who will be for me?” and, through community, we find a covenantal response.

Erev Rosh Hashanah for Young Families, Sunday, 9/ 9 at 5:15 p.m.

Spoiler Alert: This may be the ONLY High Holy Day service you’ve ever been to that includes jelly beans!
Erev Rosh Hashanah will be a beautiful communal gathering for all ages at Temple Israel! If you have kids in the elementary and middle school years, Erev Rosh Hashanah will be an evening not to miss. At 5:15 p.m., we offer two family services: a “Blue” Family Service for kids ages 7-13 and also a terrifically fun and engaging “Rainbow” Service experience for children ages 0-6. After these services conclude and before the adult service begins, join us in Levi Auditorium for hors d’oeuvres!

At 6:15 p.m., in the time between when the family service ends and before the adult service begins, join us in Levi Auditorium where we will have the opportunity to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and be with friends and family.

On Erev Rosh Hashanah, we invite the entire Temple Israel community to our Sanctuary to enter the High Holy Day season together. Beginning at 7:45 p.m., we combine the Purple, Yellow, Orange, Sage, and Silver services and the Temple Israel clergy team to welcome the New Year. After the adult service, we welcome you to linger for a glass of wine and a petit dessert.

A beautiful ritual which allows us to symbolically cast our transgressions into the river at the Muddy River.

  • 10:45 a.m. (approximate) following the Blue and Rainbow services
  • 2:00 p.m. (approximate) following the Yellow, Purple, and Sage services

Temple Israel members, families, and friends are invited to join a lay-led service on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. 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.

Yom Kippur

“If I am for myself only, what am I?”

Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement, is our most vulnerable day. We face our imperfect selves, our brokenness, and our failings. We remind ourselves of our mortality, some through rituals of fasting and refraining from acts of life-affirming measures. We ask, each of us, “Why am I here?” “What am I?” And from the depths of our souls, we “return to life,” affirming that we are here, each and all, for a holy purpose: to be pursuers of peace, agents of repair, and champions of justice and truth.

What will you do between the Yom Kippur morning and afternoon services? After the first morning service, the Library and Wyner Museum will be open to you for contemplative thought. From 2:00 – 2:45 p.m. on Yom Kippur afternoon, join us in the Spiritual Practice Lab as we reflect, connect, and prepare ourselves for the conclusion of Yom Kippur in the following ways:

The High Holy Days often stir up many questions and our rabbis are here to engage in conversations and share insights. 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.

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

Prepare for the afternoon service through study and reflection led by Rabbi Jen Gubitz. Meet other members of the Riverway Project community as we delve into Jewish wisdom through conversation, text, and written reflection.

Calling all teens in 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.

Yom Kippur will conclude with Afternoon, Yikzor, and Neila services. Immediately afterwards, around 7:00 p.m., please join us for a free communal break fast as we end Yom Kippur together in the Sukkah in the courtyard! All are welcome; no RSVP required.

Sukkot & Simchat Torah

“If not now, when?”

SUKKOT. Immediately following Yom Kippur, the shofar sounds as our most ancient spiritual “alarm clock,” awakening us to our responsibility to move into action with urgency. The first mitzvah, our sacred obligation, in our tradition is to build the Sukkah. The festival holiday of Sukkot reminds us of our obligation to live in the “real world,” with the commandment to dwell in booths, living outside, facing our society. Traditionally referred to as “the season of our joy,” in our community our joy is inextricable with our fulfillment of the obligation to ease suffering and heal our fractured world.

The Temple Israel Sukkah is yours! In addition to the events listed below, please feel free to bring dinner and enjoy eating in the Sukkah with your friends and family.

Join us at 10:00 a.m. as we celebrate this harvest festival at the Urban Farming Institute (34 Linwood St, Roxbury, MA 02119).

  • 12:00 p.m. Religious School and Village for Families with Young Children’s Sukkot BBQ
  • 7:00 p.m. Festive Celebration under the Sukkah of Justice and Compassion: Service and Pot-Luck with community partners
  • 10:00 a.m. Young Children’s Sukkot Program
  • 10:00 a.m. Festival Service with Study Session
  • 5:00 p.m. “Pizza in the Hut” for all Religious School, Pre-K, and Sandbox families
  • 6:00 p.m. Riverway Project Farm-to-Sukkah Celebration (20s & 30s)
  • 5:00 p.m. “Pizza in the Hut” for all Religious School, Pre-K, and Sandbox families

SIMCHAT TORAH. The High Holy Days culminate with a joyful celebration of learning. With the Torah scrolls unfurled, we wrap ourselves in its teachings and the ultimate questions it poses to us about how we will move into the year and live our lives more fully. Throughout the Days of Awe we ask these High Holy questions: Why us? Why me? Why now? In the days that follow, we respond to these questions with our actions.

Join us for our Simchat Torah Festival Service followed by dancing on Nessel Way at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 30. See who else is planning to come!

On Monday, October 1, be with us at 10:00 a.m. for a Young Children’s Program & Adult Festival Service with Study Session