- Making it work for you
- Ritual garb
- To each their own
- Orienting each other
- Welcoming children
- Rosh Hashanah Eve
Is there a cost for attending services?
No - services are free of charge. We understand this is unusual, but it is a deep reflection of our values as a congregation. We do hope that folks will be moved to contribute to the congregations to make this and other community spaces possible.
Should I bring my own Machzor/High Holiday Prayerbook?
We do have a limited number of Mahzorim to share (High Holiday Prayerbooks). We encourage everyone to purchase a Mahzor or two from the Jewish Reconstructionist Press online: stores.jewishreconbooks.org or call: 215-576-0800 x233.
How shall I dress?
One way to make the day feel special is to wear something a little nicer - but we want you to be comfortable. There is a wonderful tradition of wearing white on Yom Kippur. There are members of our community who have chemical sensitivities -- that means it can be very difficult for them to be in enclosed spaces when people are wearing perfume. Soaps and such are fine, but we thank you for refraining from extra scent.
I want to be at services, but I can’t focus for four (plus) hours. Can I bring a book? Or take a break?
Great idea - some Jewish books that might be good for the season are This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation and These Are the Words: A Vocabulary of Jewish Spiritual Life. But please leave the electronics - phones, kindles, ipads, etc - at home. Feel free to take a walk outside. Schmoozing is great as long as it’s not too close to where services are.
Do I need to wear a Kippah or a Tallis?
We encourage the use of head coverings and prayer shawls as symbols of Jewish worship. However, individual choice is respected. Some folks who don’t wear a tallit for the rest of the service try to put on when they are coming up for an aliyah -- someone in your row might be willing to lend theirs.
I notice that the person next to me isn’t wearing a tallis and/or kippah and it's really bothering me. Can I remind them to wear one?
Nah. Focus on how you can best get your heart right and let your neighbor worry about how they can best get their heart right.
My neighbor is flipping furiously through the pages. Can I help them find their place?
Absolutely - a good rule of thumb when it comes to giving direction to a fellow seeker is to ask if you are helping them get where they want to be or where you think they should be. If it’s the former, help away!
Are children welcome in the main service? Shall I encourage parents to visit the children's service?
Parents, their children included, are welcome in the main service. It is important that we act as allies to parents (what a hard job!) and include them as much as possible. The parents in our community understand that they should step outside if their child is having a louder moment, but we prefer for them to stay with us for the most part -- that means enjoying or putting up with (different perspectives!) the noise that comes with that. If you prefer not to sit near young children, you are welcome to move to a different seat.
We will have a person who will mind children during the morning services on Sept. 21 and 22 (RH) and Sept. 30 (YK). There will not be any children's services, but it will be a place where children can go and be "minded" during the service. They can play, read, and so on. Parents are encouraged to bring a snack for their children.
What is happening on Erev Rosh Hashanah? Is there a dinner?
There is no formal RH Eve service. If you are a member of either congregation and have a seat at your table, or are looking to be hosted, please email email@example.com. If you would like to join a group meeting at a restaurant, also email Roz.
The Downtown Synagogue offers a traditional Erev Rosh Hashanah service in Detroit.