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Shabbat & Holidays

All of our services are peer-led and egalitarian, traditional and innovative, and filled with spirited singing, serious davening, and lively discussions. Some of our services take place in people’s homes while others take place in a special prayer space that we share with several other spiritual and social action groups at RCHP (Reformed Church of Highland Park).

We meet on the first, third, and fifth Shabbat of every month. The first and third Shabbat we hold morning services, while the fifth Shabbat – when we have one – we hold an afternoon or evening service with seudah shleesheet, singing, havdalah, and often some small but special program.

We have study or discussion sessions most Shabbat mornings of the first and third Saturday, each led by a Minyan member. These sessions are about 40 minutes long and finish in time for services at 10:00. They also often include a light breakfast snack. On the second and fourth Shabbat mornings, when we do not have services, we have a separate study group that meets from 9:00 to 10:15. Check our calendar to see our scheduled study/discussion sessions.

Many Shabbat and holiday services include a pot-luck lunch or supper. Our potluck meals follow the “two-table” model for dealing with kashrut in a diverse community. One table is for food that is all vegetarian and kosher fish, and the other table is for food that is also all vegetarian/kosher fish AND carries a hechsher (kosher certification) OR is made of only hechshered ingredients and cooked in a kitchen that uses only hechshered products. This ensures that everyone can bring something and everyone can eat.

Our prayer book is Siddur Eit Ratzon, which was created by Minyan member Joseph G. Rosenstein. The siddur includes transliteration and guideposts that can help newcomers to Jewish prayer participate fully in communal services, and new translations and new commentaries that help make our heritage more meaningful even to experienced daveners.

We also meet for other Jewish holidays and days of observance. We include all these days on our calendar, with the times of our services or other celebrations. Check our calendar for the most current information! Some highlights:

  • Services on the first and last days of the three major Jewish festivals of Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot, often concluding with a shared meal.
  • Social gatherings and meals for Chanukah, Tu b’Shevat, and Purim.
  • Traditional readings and discussions to commemorate the tragedies of Tisha b’Av.

Our High Holy Days are a time of community, reflection, and remembering those who need a helping hand. We begin the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah with S’lichot, which we hold at a different location every year. We continue with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at the RCHP annex, with pot-luck lunch on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and a shared break fast meal at the end of Yom Kippur.

We use Machzor Eit Ratzon, created by Minyan member Joseph G. Rosenstein. Like the siddur, the machzor includes transliteration and guideposts that are useful if you are new to our services or to Judaism.

We work hard to make our High Holy Days services meaningful in many ways, and everyone is involved to make this happen. If you would like to participate in our next High Holy Days observance, please check our home page for updates on everything related to them in the weeks leading up to this very special time of the Jewish year.

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