High Holy Days FAQs 2018-06-23T13:56:35+00:00

The High Holy Days represent a time for introspection, reflection, connecting with community and challenging ourselves to improve our lives and our world. With prayer, music, poetry and other inspiring words, members of our community come together seeking spiritual fulfillment.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Unlike worship experiences the rest of the year, Falmouth Jewish Congregation does require tickets for the High Holy Days. Members of the congregation automatically receive tickets for each adult member of their household. Dependent children at home do not require tickets; and adult children under 30 may receive a complimentary ticket upon request.

If you are newly relocated to the Cape or plan to be here in the near future, please speak with Rabbi Lieberman about the possibility of obtaining tickets. We welcome your interest and are eager to have you experience this significant moment in the life of our congregation.

If you are not a member of our congregation and would like to explore the possibility of worshiping with us, please contact the office.

Please note that the following services do not require a ticket and we welcome your presence at these worship experiences:

  • Tashlich (“casting away”) ritual at 3:30 PM on the first day of Rosh Hashanah at Wood Neck Beach in Sippewissett (West Falmouth) (at the far end of the parking lot, on the marsh side)
  • Second Day of Rosh Hashanah (Service at 10:00 AM)
  • Family Service in Goode Chapel (in our Seifer Community Center building), a service intended for children of elementary school age.
  • Afternoon of First Day of Rosh Hashanah: 2:00 P.M.
  • Afternoon of Yom Kippur: 1:30 P.M.

The schedule of services is printed on tickets and is also sent to ticket-holders in advance of the holy days.

Because we cannot seat everyone in one service in our historic East End Meeting House (built in 1797), we have back-to-back services for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, for Kol Nidre and for the morning of Yom Kippur.

Our Yizkor (memorial) service is an integral part of our Yom Kippur afternoon service and, like most of our High Holy Day services, requires a ticket.

Members in good standing of Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) congregations may receive reciprocal tickets upon presentation of a request from their home synagogue.

Our High Holy Day evening and morning services are adult-oriented experiences which utilize Mishkan HaNefesh (Sanctuary of the Soul), a Reform machzor (High Holy Days prayer book). Rabbi Lieberman leads the worship, joined by a cantorial soloist. Most of the service is in English but significant Hebrew passages are part of the experience, especially cherished and time-honored High Holy Day melodies. Torah readings and sermons, connecting to themes of the holy days are part of the worship experience.

Family-friendly afternoon services, held in Goode Chapel on both the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, are suitable for children of elementary school age and last approximately 45 minutes. They are interactive and joyous! Tickets are not required for the Family services. People of all ages are welcome to attend.

Our Tashlich ceremony, held at Wood Neck Beach in West Falmouth at 3:30 P.M. on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is open to all! Dress is decidedly “beach-casual”. This ritual lasts approximately twenty-minutes but folks tend to congregate, especially in the fine weather we so often enjoy, for a long while after.

We always welcome children to congregational events but would caution you that the “adult” services are long and are not designed to engage children younger than middle-school age. Please use discretion if you bring your child by coming and going as necessary and by being mindful of the worship needs of your fellow congregants.

At this time, we are not able to provide child-care.

Our afternoon Family Service, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, will prove to be a better “fit” for younger children.

For more than six centuries Jews have gathered by bodies of water…rivers, streams, lakes, oceans and, in landlocked cities such as Jerusalem, by wells and cisterns, in order to participate in a Rosh Hashanah ritual known as Tashlich. This Hebrew word means “you shall cast”, as we read in these verses from the prophet Micah:

God will take us back in love;
God will cover up our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
-Micah 7:19

Sometime during the Middle Ages our ancestors developed the custom of walking to a body of water on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah where, with the recitation of prayers, they would empty their pockets and shake their clothing free of the sins they believed had accumulated there during the previous year. Often they would toss crumbs of bread to the fishes whose never-blinking eyes reminded them of God’s eternal watchfulness. [Out of respect for the delicate beauty of the beach, tidal river and marsh where we gather, we do not toss bread crumbs; instead, we toss pebbles into the water.]

Why should we, as Reform Jews, be interested in a practice which, on the surface, seems to be mere superstition? One of the beauties of Reform Judaism is its ability to peel back the outer layers of superstitions to uncover the impulses beneath them to reclaim and transform them into rituals which can enhance our celebration of Jewish life. So it can be with Tashlich. We can plumb the depths of this old ritual and transform it into something new and valuable to each of us.

On Yom Kippur we have back-to-back morning services followed by an afternoon program, usually a film presentation. Our afternoon worship then resumes and we continue together until the end of the Neilah (closing) service, after which we enjoy our communal break-the-fast, at approximately 6:00 PM.

We do, indeed, conclude Yom Kippur with a delicious break-the-fast to which the congregation is cordially invited.