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Please check this page for updates to our High Holy Day plans as they become available.

High Holy Day Information

July 2021

Dear Beth Israel Congregants:

We hope this finds you well and enjoying the opening weeks of the summer. The High Holy Days are coming early this year, so much so they coincide with Labor Day weekend. The purpose of this mailing is to acquaint you with Beth Israel’s plans for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We will send a second mailing the week of August 9 which contains tickets for our members in good standing and a High Holy Day booklet with more details about programming and logistics. 
Please read this letter carefully so that you have a clear understanding of our procedures for 2021.

With rising vaccination rates in our local area and the expiration of the state-wide mask mandate on July 1, we are moving rapidly back to some semblance of pre-pandemic life. Having said that, we know that everyone approaches today’s situation differently and has unique household dynamics. As a result, our clergy, staff and lay leadership aim to provide congregants options and flexibility with accessing our services and programming whenever we can.

Schedule of High Holy Day Services and Learning (Including Youth Programming)
We have attached our High Holy Days “At-A-Glance” schedule for 5782. Keep this schedule in a safe place so you will have all the starting times of each service and program in one document. Please note the addition of our Selichot and Cemetery Services which take place August 28 and 29 (the weekend before the Rosh Hashanah).  The morning services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will again be shorter in length than in previous years (approximately three hours instead of five).

In-Person and Virtual Services and Programs
We are so excited that we can return to our Sanctuary for the High Holy Days this year! We encourage people to come back in to the building if at all possible.  But we know some congregants plan to join services from home as well. With a few exceptions, all services and programming will be accessible both in-person and virtually through our High Holy Day website, We have included “access” information in the At-A-Glance schedule. Website 
We will utilize the same website as last year for virtual access to High Holy Day services and programs. BIOMLive will include our schedule, service and program access links, service recordings and High Holy Day music files. Services on BIOMLive will only be accessible to our members through login information that will be provided.

As in the past, members in good standing will receive tickets in the mail in August for each adult and child who is 25 years of age and under. For security reasons, tickets are required for each person who enters the building on the High Holy Days. This year, every ticket issued by the Beth Israel office will also include the access information for (an email address and passcode). Please note that if we do not have an email address for every member of your household, the same email and passcode combination can be used simultaneously on more than one device.

Reserved Seating 
As in past years, congregants are invited to purchase reserved seats in the Sanctuary, front Social Hall, and front Grebow Auditorium at the cost of $118 per person. That price is the same for all locations and has not changed from 2019. 

We have included 2019 reserved seating information on the enclosed seating form and are including instructions on how to keep your same reserved seats, what you need to do if you wish to make changes, and what to do if you are reserving seats for the first time. We are delighted that our long-time congregant and High Holy Day seating guru, Henry Foxman, will assist this year in the office as we respond to congregants’ seating requests or questions. 

If you choose not to purchase reserved seats, as in the past, there will be “open seating” in the back two-thirds of the Social Hall and Grebow Auditorium.

Guest Seating
Relevant information for obtaining guest seats is also included in the seating form enclosed. Again, our prices haven’t changed for 2021.

Mahzorim (High Holy Day Prayer Books)
We are instituting a new system this year to ensure that we have enough mahzorim for all who join us for in-person services. Congregants who wish to view services from home will need to sign out mahzorim during the three weeks prior to Rosh Hashanah (between August 16 and September 3), any time Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Please plan to come into the office and use our barcode scanner to sign out the mahzorim. Our front office staff will assist you. Please leave borrowed mahzorim at home until after Yom Kippur.

Congregants who join us in person should use only the mahzorim already in the building, even if they have signed out others. To prevent shortages, we ask that no mahzorim be taken from the building after Friday, September 3. Should you decide after the holidays begin that you wish to join us online, and don’t have a physical copy of the Mahzor at home, we will again provide access to the PDF (virtual copy) on

We know you will have additional questions in the weeks ahead, some of which will be answered in our second mailing in August. Due to the complexity of the times we’re living in, we know we won’t think of everything! Don’t hesitate to contact us at 410 654-0800 if we can be of help. We look forward to a wonderful High Holy Day season.


Valerie Thaler
Synagogue Director

Tue, July 27 2021 18 Av 5781