January 23, 2019

A range of free High Holy Days services

Rosh Hashanah, which means “Head of the Year,” is observed this year from nightfall on Oct. 2 to nightfall on Oct. 4. On the Hebrew calendar, it occurs on the first and second days in the month of Tishrei. This Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the new year of 5777. 

Rosh Hashanah begins a 10-day period of reflection, prayer and repentance known as The Days of Awe. Traditionally, the holiday is seen as a time to, once again, be written in the Book of Life. During the holiday, there are many mitzvot to perform, including hearing the shofar — the ram’s horn — sounded 100 times. 

Leading up to Rosh Hashanah, in the month of Elul, we perform Selichot, or prayers in which we ask for forgiveness for all our wrongdoings. The Sephardim perform Selichot every day of Elul, while Ashkenazim observe Selichot on the Saturday night a week before Rosh Hashanah. We also annul all of our obligations and ask others for forgiveness for any harm we may have caused them.

During the two days of Rosh Hashanah, no work is allowed. Instead, the focus is on eating festive meals and attending synagogue. There, we pray, hear the shofar and greet other members of the community with “Shana tova u’metuka,” which means “A good and sweet year.” On the afternoon of the first day, we perform Tashlich, which is a casting off of our sins. The custom is to go to a body of flowing water and throw pieces of bread — representing our sins — into the water. 

At the first festive meal on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, we begin with a Kiddush blessing over grape juice or wine. We eat a round challah, to symbolize the continuous cycle of life. We dip apples in honey to show that we want a sweet new year, and we eat a pomegranate, which has 613 seeds and symbolizes the 613 mitzvot in the Torah. We serve a fish head to show that we should lead with our heads and not with our tails. 

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we eat a new fruit for the season, to declare our gratitude for all the different fruits of the world. Dessert is often a honey cake, and we avoid any sour or tart tastes for the meal. 

Yom Kippur, which is referred to as the Day of Atonement, comes 10 days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah and marks the conclusion of the Days of Awe. It is a time when we suppress our physical needs and instead focus on introspection, prayer and repentance. We abstain from food and drink, don’t wear leather shoes, don’t bathe or engage in physical intimacy, and we don’t apply lotions or ointments. It is a day, like Shabbat, when creative work is forbidden. 

On the eve of Yom Kippur, we hear and recite Kol Nidrei (“all vows”), the prayer in which we ask to be released from vows made but not kept in the past year. Prayer services on the day of Yom Kippur include Shacharit in the morning, Musaf, Mincha and Neilah. At the end of the Neilah (“shutting” or “locking”) service, the shofar is sounded one last time, signifying that the gates of redemption and forgiveness have closed.

Free High Holy Days Services 

Selichot: Sept. 24

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Oct. 2

Rosh Hashanah, First Day: Oct. 3

Rosh Hashanah, Second Day: Oct. 4

Kol Nidrei: Oct. 11

Yom Kippur: Oct. 12


Temple Adat Elohim

During this service, the Torah covers will be changed to white, congregants will be invited to lead readings, and the clergy will offer private blessings on the bimah to anyone who wishes to receive them. 7 p.m. in the Social Hall. Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. (805) 497-7101. ” target=”_blank”>tioh.org



Los Angeles-area Chabads offering free services to the public during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur include Chabad of Beverlywood (310) 836-6770; Chabad of Century City (310) 505-2168; Chabad of Miracle Mile (323) 852-6907; Chabad of Simcha Monica (310) 829-5620; Chabad of South La Cienega (424) 288-4633; Chabad of Woodland Hills (818) 348-5898; Chabad of Toluca Lake (818) 308-4118; and Chabad of Greater Los Feliz (323) 660-5177. For more venues, visit SAN FERNANDO AND CONEJO VALLEYS

Temple Adat Elohim

High Holy Days services for tots and their families will be held on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Each service is approximately 30 minutes and is designed for preschool-age children and their parents. Both services are open to the community; no tickets are required. Rosh Hashanah, first day: 4 p.m. Yom Kippur: 3:30 p.m. Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. (805) 497-7101. ” target=”_blank”>tasnorthridge.org

Temple Judea

High-energy, interactive services are offered on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur afternoons, designed to delight little ones. The Tot services are open to the community; no tickets required. Rosh Hashanah, first day: 4 p.m. Yom Kippur: 3:30 p.m. Temple Judea, 5429 Lindley Ave., Tarzana. (818) 758-3800. ” target=”_blank”>koltikvah.org.


Congregation Kol Ami

All services free to those ages 30 and younger. Erev Rosh Hashanah: 8 p.m. Rosh Hashanah, first day: 10 a.m. for all, family service at 10:30 a.m. Rosh Hashanah, second day: 10 a.m. at the temple. Kol Nidrei: 8 p.m. Yom Kippur: 10 a.m. for all, family service at 10:30 a.m.; afternoon service: 3:30 p.m. All services except Rosh Hashanah, second day: Harmony Gold Theater, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Rosh Hashanah, second day service only: Congregation Kol Ami, 1200 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 606-0996. ” target=”_blank”>www.laughfactory.com/clubs/hollywood.


Nashuva does not charge admission for any of its services. The suggested donation for attendance at High Holy Days services is $350 per person. Nashuva relies on High Holy Days donations to support year-round programs. Erev Rosh Hashanah: 6:45 p.m. Rosh Hashanah, first day: 9:30 a.m. at Founder’s Church of Religious Science. Rosh Hashanah, second day: 9 a.m. at Temescal Park (includes a nature hike). Kol Nidrei: 6 p.m. Yom Kippur: 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at Founder’s Church of Religious Science. Founder’s Church of Religious Science, 3281 W. Sixth St., Los Angeles. Temescal Park, 15601 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. ” target=”_blank”>tioh.org


Beis Knesses at Faircrest Heights

Free to everyone. Led by Rabbi Elchanan Shoff. Services are held at candlelighting time on Rosh Hashanah, Oct. 2-4, and Yom Kippur, Oct. 11-12. Morning services are at 9 a.m. all days. RSVP not required but appreciated; email bklashul@gmail.com. 6022 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. ” target=”_blank”>bethshirshalom.org.

B’nai Horin

There are modest suggested contributions for all High Holy Day services, but no one is turned away who cannot afford to make even a very modest contribution. Erev Rosh Hashanah: 7 p.m. Rosh Hashanah, first and second days: 10 a.m. Kol Nidrei: 7 p.m. Yom Kippur: 10 a.m. American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. ” target=”_blank”>chaicenter.org

The Happy Minyan

No one will be turned away due to lack of finances at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Led by Yehuda Solomon of the Moshav Band. Karate Academy, 9218 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. ” target=”_blank”>uclahillel.org.


Free to go to Erev Rosh Hashanah or Rosh Hashanah Day 2 or Yizkor and onward on Yom Kippur. Go to all three for a nominal fee. No one will be turned away for lack of financial resources. If the contribution rates are beyond your reach, email ezrahhd@ikar-la.org and a member of the Ezra committee will contact you. Shalhevet High School, 910 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 634-1870. ” target=”_blank”>leobaecktemple.org.

Sholem Community

Rosh Hashanah services are a family celebration with readings and songs. Bring a picnic for your family and dessert to share; apples and honey will be provided. Rosh Hashanah, first day: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Rancho Park-Cheviot Hills picnic area No. 1, 2551 Motor Ave., Los Angeles. (818) 760-6625. highholidays@shtibl.com or go to ” target=”_blank”>shtibl.com

University Synagogue

Services available to families with young children on Rosh Hashanah, first day: 8:30 a.m.; Yom Kippur: 8:30 a.m. All services available for no charge to college students with valid ID. Reservations required. University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 472-1255. TASHLICH

Chabad Of Toluca Lake 

Rosh Hashanah, first day: 1 p.m. at the Oakwood Toluca Hills North Clubhouse, 3600 Barham Blvd., Toluca Lake. (818) 308-4118. ” target=”_blank”>adatelohim.org

Temple Judea

Rosh Hashanah, second day: after 10 a.m. services (approximately 11:45 a.m.). Lake Balboa, 6300 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys. (818) 758-3800. ” target=”_blank”>nashuva.com.


Kever Avot is the tradition of visiting the graves of our parents and loved ones between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Everyone is invited to join in prayer together, support one another and honor the memory of those who have passed. Free. 10 a.m. at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills; 1 p.m. at Mount Sinai Simi Valley. Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles. Mount Sinai Simi Valley, 6150 Mount Sinai Drive, Simi Valley. (800) 600-0076. ” target=”_blank”>hillsidememorial.org.

Home of Peace

Sunday, Oct. 9, at 11 a.m. Chapel, Home of Peace, 4334 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 261-6135. ” target=”_blank”>eden-memorialpark.com.  

Sholom Memorial Park

Sunday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m. Sholom Memorial Park, 13017 Lopez Canyon Road, Sylmar. (310) 659-3055.