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While our preference would be to gather in the majestic Adath Jeshurun sanctuary to daven together, this year, High Holy Days services will be held virtually via Zoom. This will allow us to see the faces of dear AJ friends as we daven from separate spaces. The offerings and experiences below are designed to help us connect and experience the High Holy Days to their fullest. 

Zoom links for services will be supplied to congregants in the High Holiday package that will be delivered to them during the week of September 14.

Visiting AJ Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
When Jacob awoke from his dream featuring the angels on the ladder, he said, "God is in the place and I, I did not know." Many people feel the divine Presence more in certain places than in others. For some of us, one of those places is our own sanctuary and chapel. Covid-19 is keeping us out of our sacred spaces as a community, but we invite each of you to enter our sacred spaces as individuals or as a family. 

Times to visit are open from Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, in half-hour increments. You MUST schedule a time in advance so that we can maintain social distancing; each time slot will be open for only one individual or family. Click here to schedule your time. 

Links to Services

This is the YouTube link for all High Holiday services (EXCEPT the three listed in the paragraph below):
. Click on the link to take you to the CongregationAJ YouTube channel. A service that is currently being streamed will be marked by a red box that says "Live Now". Other previously live-streamed services will also be available to view; just click on the video you'd like to see. At the bottom of the video window you'll see a Play/Pause button, and you can use the red slider to move the video to the portion you'd like to see. Clicking on the right-most button at the bottom of the video will allow you to view it full-screen. To learn how to link to the services by Googling YouTube, you can view a tutorial made by Judy Stutman Izes here.

The following services will be conducted via Zoom with this link:    
Passcode needed; congregants should check their email or the lavender paper in your High Holiday packages.
Friday Evening, September 18 — 6:00 PM 
Saturday Evening, September 19 — 6:00 PM
Sunday Evening, September 20 — 6:45 PM

Virtual Lobby
Since YouTube does not allow us to see each other on our screens, a virtual lobby has been created. Through the following Zoom link, you can take a break during or after services to greet fellow AJers and to offer wishes for a Shanah Tovah U’Metukah. (Remember that if you leave services, you can always pick up where you left off OR return to the live service.) While there will be no waiting rooms on the Zoom links, each is password protected.
Zoom Information for HHD Lobby on Friday, September 18, Saturday, September 19, Sunday, September 20, Sunday, September 27, and Monday, September 28: 
Meeting ID: 992 8486 1275
Passcode needed; congregants should check their email or the lavender paper in your High Holiday packages.

AJ Community Holiday Messages


Rav Shai's Sermons

Rosh Hashanah Eve: 

Rosh Hashanah Day 1:

Rosh Hashanah Day 2:

Family Service
There will be a Rosh Hashanah Family Service with Rav Shai and Hazzan Glantz available on the CongregationAJ YouTube channel. You can view it below or through this link:

Teen Services
Rosh Hashanah, Day I (via Zoom)
"Leadership and Change"
Saturday, September 19 from 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
To connect by computer/smart phone/tablet:
Zoom meeting online here or and enter Meeting  
To connect by phone for audio only: and enter Meeting ID: 972 6704 0105
Passcode needed; congregants should check their email or the lavender paper in your High Holiday packages.

Yom Kippur (via Zoom; link and password will be provided next week)
"Repentance and Forgiveness"
Monday, September 28 from 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

For Young Kids
Rav Shai and Hazzan Glantz have recorded readings of children's books appropriate for the High Holidays:
Apple Days
In God's Name

Bit by Bit

Other Offerings
On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Michele Rifkin will be leading a yoga session from 9:30 AM to 10:15 AM. Here is the Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 963 1135 7356    
Passcode needed; congregants should check their email or the lavender paper in your High Holiday packages.

On Yom Kippur afternoon, Rebecca Cherry will offer guided meditation appropriate for the day. Her session will begin at 2:15 PM. Here is the Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 990 9407 7115
Passcode needed; congregants should check their email or the lavender paper in your High Holiday packages.

Links to Events

Spotify Playlist for the High Holy Days
Hazzan Glantz has created a Spotify playlist associated with these High Holy Days. You may be very surprised to hear the music that's on that list. It is called "Ready? Set? Return!" Give it a chance. Hazzan says it's been growing, perhaps it will grow on you. These songs speak to him, each differently. Some, obvious in their connection to Jewish High Holy Days; others, perhaps not.  Suggest others and inquire how a song made the cut by sending an email to Hazzan. Some may make you cry, others provoke thought, and one motivates Hazzan in ways he cannot put into words. Click here.


SELICHOT (Sept. 12, 2020 | 23 Elul 5780) 

Saturday Evening
Mincha    7:00 PM   Program and Service    9:00 PM
"Reminding Ourselves of What We Knew"
See description below.

ROSH HASHANAH, DAY I (Sept. 18, 19, 2020 | 1 Tishri 5781)

Friday Evening       6:00 PM
Saturday Morning       9:00 AM
Saturday Evening       6:00 PM

ROSH HASHANAH, DAY II (Sept. 19, 20, 2020 | 2 Tishri 5781)

Sunday Morning      
Torah service     9:00 AM
Annual Ceremony of Blessing for
Children Born Since Last Rosh Hashanah       10:00 AM
Sunday Evening       
Tashlich at AJ     6:00 PM (Shofar will be blown)
Mincha-Ma'ariv      6:45 PM

YOM KIPPUR (Sept. 27, 28, 2020 | 10 Tishri 5781)

Sunday Evening (Kol Nidre)       6:15 PM
Monday Morning      
Torah Service     9:00 AM
Yizkor       3:00 PM (approximately)
Monday Afternoon (Mincha)       3:45 PM
Conclusion/Break Fast       7:30 PM (approximately)

SUKKOT (Oct. 2 – 9, 2020 | 15 – 21 Tishri 5781)

DAY I (Oct. 2, 3, 2020 | 15 Tishri 5781)
Friday Evening      6:15 PM
Saturday Morning      
Torah Service     9:30 AM

DAY II (Oct. 3, 4, 2020 | 16 Tishri 5781)
Saturday Evening       6:30 PM
Sunday Morning      
Torah Service     9:30 AM
Sunday Evening       6:45 PM

HOSHANNA RABBAH (Oct. 8 – 9, 2020 | 21 Tishri 5781)

Friday Morning       7:00 AM
Friday Evening        6:15 PM

SHEMINI ATZERET (Oct. 9 – 10, 2020 | 22 Tishri 5781)

Saturday Morning        9:30 AM
Yizkor Service    11:30 AM (approximately)
Saturday Evening (Mincha)      6:00 PM

SIMCHAT TORAH (Oct. 10 – 11, 2020 | 23 Tishri 5781)

Sunday Morning      
Torah Service     9:30 AM


Annual Memorial Cemetery Service: Due to COVID-19,
we won’t be holding this service. Feel free to go by yourself or with your family. You can find the appropriate readings in our prayer book Memorial Prayers at the Cemetery Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur here. If you prefer a hard copy of the book, you can pick one up at AJ or we can put one in your High Holiday package. Call the synagogue at 215.635.6611.

The last day to order lulavim and etrogim for Sukkot is Friday, September 11! Call the synagogue office at 215.635.6611 to order. Small, $40; Large, $48.

Record a holiday greeting! Send us a High Holy Day video message that will play in the course of our service. Why? Because, we miss you and so do all your AJ friends! While we can’t get together physically, we can at least pretend a bit! Be a virtual part of our creative High Holy Day season. To begin, follow these quick and easy steps:

  1. Simply grab your best Zoom shirt, sweater, or scarf.
  2. Choose a location.
  3. Grab your phone, your family, your pets, even your  favorite plant.
  4. Record your video message (see tips below) and then upload it! Not sure what to say? Simply use one or more of these common phrases, mix and match… it’s your choice, friends! But please…choose one!
  •  L’Shannah Tovah — I (We) miss you
  •  Happy New Year
  • To all my AJ friends… הדות
  • This year, at best, has been an exhausting 16 years.

If you don’t have a smartphone or other way of recording and sending a message, please just send an email to Programming Director Rachel Palitto or be in touch with me and we can set a time to make it possible to record your message.

Email your video file to Rachel at

TIPS for recording your video message.  Twenty seconds or less will get this job done! I will happily compile the messages and the result will play as part of our hybrid service of live and pre-recorded material. Please don’t add titles or do the editing — I will cut out the before and after that I don’t need and make any sound adjustments necessary to bring us all a meaningful array of good wishes.

High Holiday packages for congregants: An AJ calendar, the Roll of Remembrance, the password for Zoom services and some sweet surprises will help us usher in the High Holy Days and will allow us to bring AJ into our homes. The packages will be delivered during the week of September 14. If you would like to come to AJ to get your package, please drive to the front doors of the synagogue on either Tuesday, Sept. 15, Wed, Sept. 16, and Thurs, Sept. 17 between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM. Someone will be there to greet you and bring your package out to your car.

Many of you have the High Holidays Seder Avodah at home. If you are in need of another copy, please let the office know so that you can make arrangements to either purchase or borrow a machzor and it can be placed in your High Holiday package.  

High Holiday Programming

Sept. 12, 2020             Mincha: 7:00 PM      Program and Service: 9:00 PM
"Reminding Ourselves of What We Knew"

You know the soul of the stranger because you were strangers in the Land of Mitzrayim.

Exodus 23:9

Before Selichot services, AJ will be hosting a conversation between our own Dr. Chad Womack and Professor Maureen O’Connell. Chad is married to Naomi Housman and has two children. He is also the Senior Director for STEM Initiatives at the United Negro College Fund. Professor O’Connell chairs the Religion Department at LaSalle University and works at the intersection of religion and racial justice.

As we formally commence our penitential season, we will begin with narratives that are often surprisingly similar, but in other important ways, diverge dramatically. This conversation promises to stimulate our thinking and will serve as the springboard for a series of workshops this coming year designed to increase our understanding and help us be better allies. No registration necessary.

High Holidays Pottery Painting
Sunday, August 30, 2020  
12:00 PM

Get out of the house with your family and come to AJ to paint pottery that can be used on your Rosh Hashanah table. Each piece will cost $20 and there are four options to choose from. All ages encouraged! Tables will be set up in the AJ parking lot at least 6 feet apart for your family to paint the pieces. Create Me Pottery will bring the pieces back to their store to fire them in the kiln and they will be ready for pickup from September 14 through September 18, just in time for Rosh Hashanah! Click here for more information and to pre-purchase items to paint.

Poetry Slam
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020   4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Poetry, coffee, and inspiration. Join us for a poetry hour to focus your thoughts for the High Holidays. An experience is more meaningful when we form an intention. Spend a moment developing your personal intention for 5781. The theme is renewal, repentance, and reinvention. Recite a poem of your own or bring one to share,or just come to listen and enjoy. In order to allow everyone who wants time to share, please be conscious of the length of the poem you bring. We look forward to a meaningful hour. No registration necessary.

Workshop: Writing Your Own Al Chet
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020   7:45 PM

For the sin that we have sinned before You by relying on the introspection of others.

This workshop with Rav Shai is for those who want to take advantage of the Jewish calendar’s invitation for cheshbon nefesh, a spiritual reckoning. This workshop is our opportunity to craft our own litany with the help of our tradition, our community, and some contemporary examples to stimulate our own thoughts. Click here for more information and registration.

Take-a-Shofar Squad
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020

On the afternoon of the second day of Rosh Hashanah, if you would like to hearthe shofar in person, we will take a shofar to you and provide a shofar service outside your home. (The form to register will not be available until September 14, and it will be open through the end of the day on September 17.)

If you have a shofar and a car, and would like to volunteer to be part of our Take-a Shofar squad to provide shofar services to your fellow congregants, contact Rachel Palitto at the synagogue office, 215.635.6611, ext. 113, or send her an email at You can choose to volunteer during as many one-hour times slots as you would like between 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM.

The Bible Players
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020    6:30 PM

Bring your whole family together for a night of laughter on Zoom. The Bible Players use improv and comedy to teach Jewish values to people of all ages. They perform at schools, camps, and simchas. For AJ they will be performing a virtual special all-ages comedy show. This event time was set with small children in mind so children of all ages are able to enjoy! If you like what you see during the show and want to hire them in the future, check out their website or send an email to No registration necessary.

Beekeeper Presentation
Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020  
7:45 PM

Nicholas is a local beekeeper who runs Bee Happy Honey Hives & Supplies in Elkins Park. He will talk to us about how beekeeping works, the importance of bees, and the different products that are created from beekeeping like honey and candles. Following his presentation, Nicholas will also answer questions. If you are inspired to support his business after his presentation and would like to order some honey from him for Rosh Hashanah, you can contact him through Facebook to purchase: No registration necessary.

Shofar Workshop
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020   11:00 AM

For those of you with a shofar at home — and it’s not too late to buy one! — this workshop will review the blasts, blowing techniques, and symbolism of the shofar. By the end of the workshop, our goal is that you will be able to conduct your own shofar service for yourself and those in your home on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Please register here.

Round Challah Baking Class
Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020    7:45 PM

Create your dough earlier in the day or the night before and log in to Zoom with Rachel Palitto to learn how to braid your dough into a round challah shape for Rosh Hashanah! Please register and download the Challah recipe here.

Teshuvah/Reorientation Workshop:
Halakhah, Philosophy, and Mysticism

Tuesday, Sept. 22   7:45 PM 

Teshuvah is the single most important concept in Judaism. It is also the focus of the upcoming holidays. This workshop will provide the opportunity to question, discuss, and process a Teshuvah Reader that Rav Shai has put together that combines the halakhah, philosophy, and mysticism of teshuvahClick here for more information and registration.

The High Holiday Mitzvah Food Project
September 19 through October 12

During the High Holiday period (September 19 through October 12) we will be collecting non-perishable food items for Federation's 2020 High Holiday Food Drive. This year, Federation is requesting the following items: Canned Beans -- kosher required; lower salt preferred (i.e., legumes, chick peas, etc.); Nut Butters -- kosher required; lower salt preferred (i.e., peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) and Canned Fish -- kosher required; (canned tuna, salmon, sardines, etc.) Please make sure that all donations have a current date, are properly sealed, and aren't in bulk sizes. Please leave your donation in the box outside the school doors. It will be brought inside at the end of the day.

Shake Things Up in Our Drive-Thru Sukkah! 

Pack your family into the side-paneled station wagon and drive on in to our Sukkah in the main parking lot. There’s only room for one car at a time. Bring your own lulav if you have it, or there will some available on the tables inside the Sukkah. There will be instructions, too, for those of us (like Rav Shai) who forget on which side the myrtle goes. Shake, shake, shake! The Drive-Thru sukkah will be open 24/7, from October 3 through October 9.

Tue, September 22 2020 4 Tishrei 5781