High Holidays 5781

Community, Spirituality, and YOU

We begin with the greeting "L'shanah Tovah Tikatevu"
May you be blessed with a sweet new year.
On Yom Kippur we say "G'mar Chatimah Tovah"
May you be inscribed in the book of life.

Print your High Holiday Guide

Join us for FREE.  All services open to the public.

Sign Language Interpreters for Services with this symbol

See more details below

Live Stream Services Live

Please note that some programs are Live Streamed via our YouTube channel, some are via Zoom, and some will be in person (RSVP required) events with proper social distancing protocols.

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All previous High Holiday services are available on our YouTube channel.

Yom Kippur is a spiritual time. As the sun sets we are reminded that this is the holiest time of the year. As we enter into God’s presence, we ask for the ability to focus on the here and now. We deny ourselves physical comfort and seek to grow and be made whole. Mercy, compassion, love and forgiveness are the themes of our prayer and reflection. On this holy day, we prepare to begin anew, to move forward in our lives reaching our potential.

Contemporary Yom Kippur Service

Monday, September 28 at 9:15 AM, via livestream.
Join the rabbis as we delve into the more modern readings and interpretations from the Mishkan Hanefesh Machzor and hear modern musical offerings from American-based cantors and musical groups from all over the world.

Traditional Yom Kippur Service

Monday, September 28 at 10:00 AM, via livestream.
From the Congregation Etz Chaim Sanctuary with pre-recorded music from our High Holiday choir.
The sermon will be delivered by Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky.

Yom Kippur Torah Service

Monday, September 28 at 11:00 AM, via livestream and Zoom.

45 Minute Learning Sessions

Engage with us in small group discussions led by lay leaders of our congregation. Choose the topic of your choice and deepen your understanding of the Jewish world. Join with the Congregation Etz Chaim community to experience the power of understanding and learning. All sessions will be recorded if you cannot join at the time and wish to refer to later.

11:45 AM-12:30 PM Looking Back (Virtual Classes via Zoom)

  • -Life Review: A discussion on how to age wisely with a Jewish lens. Led by Barbara Turner.
  • -Jewish Ethics: How to "choose life" in the COVID Age. Led by Uli Widmaier.
  • -New Advances in Inclusion: How congregations are adapting and changing to make space for Jews once marginalized now able to be fully integrated into synagogue life. Led by Rachel Wood.

12:45 PM-1:30 PM Looking Ahead (Virtual Classes via Zoom)

  • -Re-imagining Judaism: How the Jewish community in the United States is adapting and changing to become more relevant and authentic in this century. A discussion about the Jewish future and its potential. Led by Elizabeth Gossage.
  • -Binge Watch Israel: In Israel and around the world, viewers are bingeing on Israeli TV series that give them a peek into Israeli society’s most burning issues. Explore unique perspectives into Israeli society and culture. Led by Dan Tatar.
  • -A Study on the Book of Jonah: "Can you sleep through a hurricane?" Led by Ashley Rose.

Yom Kippur Family Service

Monday, September 28 at 1:45 PM, via livestream.
A family service with a modern twist. Come with an open mind and join the modern era as we explore the themes of the High Holidays in a whole new dimension.

2:30 PM-3:15 PM Current Events (Virtual class via Zoom)

  • -Yom Kippur Book Discussion: A Discussion on "How to Be an Anti-Racist." Led by Etz Chaim Librarian Nicole Coover-Thompson.
  • -Environmental Impacts: How we can overcome the challenges of Coronavirus. Led by Mary Hason and Rich Schoenfield.
  • -The Ethics and Relevance of Black Lives Matter. Led by Uli Widmaier.

4:00 PM Family Hike and Scavenger Hunt
In person, led by Marla Friedman
Meet at Lyman Woods | 901 31st St. | Downers Grove, Il 60515

Yom Kippur Yizkor Service

Monday, September 28 at 5:00 PM, via livestream.
Join us in our communal mourning for our loved ones who we remember at this time. This moving, emotional service has the power to spiritually elevate the souls of our loved ones.

Ne'ilah: Concluding Service of Yom Kippur

Monday, September 28 at 5:45 PM, via livestream.
Join the rabbis as we conclude the prayers of Yom Kippur. The Shofar will be blown by our Baalat Tekiah, Jen Gesinski.

We will be adhering to local protocols and safety practices for everyone’s health and well being.
Confirmed reservations are required to participate in all of our in-person events. RSVP via email to CEC.officeasst@congetzchaim.org


How can I access the virtual live stream?
You can join us virtually on the front page of our Congregation Etz Chaim website (www.congetzchaim.org) by clicking the "Stream Live" button found at the very top.

Where can I find the Zoom links for services that will also be Zoomed?
We will be sending out Zoom links as we get closer to the High holidays so you can easily access them. We ask however, that you do NOT post any Zoom links on social media as we do not wish to invite "Zoom bombers" to our events.

Can I invite my friends and family to join us for any of these events?
Yes, please let them know we are streaming live for everyone to participate and there is no charge. If they would like to receive the Zoom links, please contact Adrienne Mintz at cec.officeasst@congetzchaim.org with their contact information. We want everyone to have a taste of of our warm welcome at our "virtual congregational home" during this time.

Do I need to have a High Holiday prayer book?
If you have your High Holiday Machzor (prayer book), you may use that during the live stream services.  If you would like to purchase a Machzor for $40 from the synagogue office, please email Adrienne at cec.officeasst@congetzchaim.org. However, you do not need to have one-only if you wish to be able to follow along in the book.

Will there be sign language interpreters as there were at past High Holiday services?
Yes. We will have sign language interpreters for Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah morning, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur morning, Yiskor and Ne'ila services.  Please look for the symbol below denoting that sign language interpretation will be available.