High Holy Days

All Are Welcome (No Tickets!)

Since its founding in 1985, Bet Ha’am has committed to being a house of worship where all feel welcome. We invite you to join us for any Bet Ha’am service or event, including High Holy Day worship. There is no charge to join us and no tickets. We hope that you–Jewish or non-Jewish, Mainer or guest visiting from away–will join us at this time of community celebration.

Families will find that babysitting is available for children under three years old and youth programming (called Project Shofar) is available for children who may not be able to make it through a service. 

During High Holy Day services, everyone—members and non-members alike—wears a name tag so that we can get to know each other better. Members receive their name tags in the mail in advance of the holidays. We ask non-members who wish to attend High Holy Day services to contact our office for a name tag. If you do not request a name tag in advance, please arrive early so that we may generate one for you at our registration desk.

We rely on volunteer and financial support from all to ensure the strength of our synagogue community. We anticipate that those who join us for High Holy Day services, for whatever reason, will recognize the importance of supporting our community so that we are here in future years. Our membership is based on the ability to pay, so that everyone can afford to join. If you are not ready to join, we would be grateful for your support of the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund or our annual fund.

We usher in the High Holy Days with a congregant-led contemplative service, featuring readings, music, and meditation.

Each year, we offer three services to mark the start of the Jewish New Year: An evening service for the start of the holiday, then a family and a traditional service on Rosh Hashanah day. We hold the Tashlich ceremony at our own reflecting pool.

This solemn day begins with Kol Nidre. We hold both a family and traditional service in the morning, and continue our worship in the afternoon with a service for meditation and healing, study sessions, Yizkor, and Neilah. We break-the-fast with a community potluck.

We celebrate this fall festival in our the congregation’s Sukkah, which is decorated by the religious school children. Weather permitting, we share a potluck dinner before our worship service.

Simchat Torah and Consecration take place a week after Sukkot. For the Simchat Torah service, we read the end of the Torah and the beginning, then dance to the music of the Casco Bay Tummlers. At the end of the evening, children who are new to the religious school are blessed for the start of their religious education. 

Each year during the High Holy Days, we hold a food drive. Please use blue food drive donation envelopes (available at services) to make a donation that will will be dispersed to local agencies and to MAZON:  A Jewish Response to Hunger.  Cash donations allow food support agencies to purchase the largest amount of food per dollar for their patrons. 

Should you prefer to assemble your own direct food donation, brown grocery bags will also be available with a list of items needed by area food pantries–or please use your own bag.  You are encouraged to donate food items or make a donation; you do not need to do both, as both are helpful to the agencies we support. 
Please remember, as you make your High Holy Day Food Drive donation, to continue to support Bet Ha’am through other ways, including by donations to our annual fund

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