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 5780

Shanah Tovah!

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

Rabbi Elaine Zecher


Cantor Alicia Stillman


Rabbi Suzie Jacobson


Rabbi Jen Gubitz


Rabbi Dan Slipakoff

clergy clergy-2 new-clergy-team

Our Pathway Through the High Holy Days

Tickets and Forms

URJ Ticket Reciprocity

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

Extra (Guest) Tickets for Temple Israel Members

Temple Israel members may purchase extra tickets for guests at the cost of $118 per ticket.

As a reminder, tickets are non-transferable; please do not share your tickets. Children under the age of 8 do not require a ticket. 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.” Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about dues payments.

Extra tickets purchased will be held at Will Call, and can be picked up on the day of the holiday, starting from one half-hour prior to the start of the day’s earliest service.

Non-Member Tickets

We offer non-members tickets for $180 each. This is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to the Boston area during the holidays, and for anyone looking to get to know the Temple Israel community. Should you choose to become a member of Temple Israel after attending High Holy Day services, you may apply the price of your ticket(s) to your membership.

Tickets will be held at Will Call, and can be picked up on the day of the holiday, starting from one half-hour prior to the start of the day’s earliest service.

Rainbow Tickets

The Rainbow service welcomes families with children ages 0-5 to join our rainbow service! Please register for tickets, below. Tickets are free of charge, and one rainbow ticket is for the whole family, for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Join us for the 5780 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 29 at 6:15 p.m.
Kol Nidre Services: Tuesday, October 8 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.

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

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century deeply believed that we live in a world where God is in search of humanity. To Heschel, doctrine was unimportant compared to religious wonder, gratitude, and acts of kindness, as “God is waiting for us to redeem the world.” Born in Poland and a refugee to America during the Holocaust, much of Heschel’s work is influenced by the complex spiritual and political milieu of his time. Rather than succumbing to fear or pessimism, Heschel’s writings push us all towards a spirituality of hope and call upon us to continue the prophetic tradition of our ancestors.

This High Holy Day season the Temple Israel community will dive into a collection of his important essays, entitled Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity. This essential collection captures the best of Heschel’s thought and speaks directly to the spiritual, political, and moral issues of our day. We will be using the d’vrei Torah during the Shabbatot of Elul to lift up essential ideas from this book and then we will have the opportunity join together in communal study during Slichot and Yom Kippur afternoon. All are invited to flip through this book of essays to find what is personally meaningful, or to follow our suggested study guide found HERE.

Elul Spiritual Practice Lab with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson

Mondays, September 16 and 23 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

No Cost

Prayer is not a spectator sport, and it’s not always easy to feel at home in a Jewish ritual life. The Spiritual Practice Lab is a space to discover, through learning and practice, the spiritual voice that is most meaningful to you. During Elul, we will explore two ritual traditions of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with creativity and openness as we prepare ourselves for the High Holy Day season. The two classes are open to everyone, and dinner will be provided.

Monday, September 16: Shofar: A Spiritual Alarm Clock

Monday, September 23: Is This the Fast We Choose? Yom Kippur, Affliction, and the Search for Spiritual Focus

8:15 p.m. Garden Gathering & Discussion

9:30 p.m. Candle-lit Service

On three principles the world is sustained: judgment, truth, and peace. We start on this pathway of thought on S’lichot, our moonlit 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, and apology, we return to our best selves. As the sun sets, the clergy will lead us in our culmination of our spiritual preparation for the High Holy Days. See who else is planning to attend. 

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 prayer experience that can resonate with only you, or with your whole family, on Rosh Hashanah morning and Kol Nidre, that cultivates spiritual practice through meditation, contemplative chanting, and soulful music. Kol Nidre will begin with a moving cello solo. 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.

Rosh Hashanah

Judgment: Personal Accountability

Rosh Hashanah inaugurates 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 who we 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 look inward and hold ourselves accountable for our past actions and commit to pursue our highest selves.

Erev Rosh Hashanah for Young Families, Sunday, 9/29 at 5:15 p.m.

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

Truth: Relational Accountability

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, what is my core truth? And from the depths of our souls, we return to life, affirming we are here, each and all, for a holy purpose: to pursue trusting relationships, uphold truth in the face of falsehoods, and champion integrity.

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.

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

Peace: Communal Accountability

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 mitzvah, our sacred obligation, in our tradition is to build the Sukkah of peace. The festival holiday of Sukkot reminds us of our communal obligation to face outward with open hearts to ease suffering and heal our fractured world.

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

  • 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

Peace: Communal Accountability

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 explored the three principles on which the world is sustained: judgment, truth, and peace. In the days that follow, we respond to these explorations with our actions. Join us for our Simchat Torah Festival Service followed by dancing on Nessel Way at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 20. See who else is planning to attend!

On Monday, October 21, be with us at 10:00 a.m. for a Young Children’s Program & Adult Festival Service with Study Session