Modesto CA’s Congregation Beth Shalom marks High Holidays

The Jewish community in Stanislaus County is preparing for the High Holidays, 10 days beginning this week with Rosh Hashana that end with the most holy day of the year.

Beginning Wednesday, the 10 Days of Awe mark the period when Jewish people around the world focus on their mistakes of the past year and seek God’s forgiveness. The two-day Rosh Hashana leads up to Yom Kippur, this year beginning at sundown on Friday, Sept. 29, with a 25-hour fast that ends Saturday, Sept. 30.

Blasts from the shofar, or ram’s horn, mark the beginning and end of the period.

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is the most holy day of the Hebrew calendar, according to Rabbi Shalom Bochner at Modesto’s Congregation Beth Shalom, and is spent in prayer, meditation and study. While an intense day, it’s one of joy rather than sadness, Bochner points out in a release from CBS.

“Yom Kippur is a day of deep spiritual cleansing, of celebrating that you have a new start on life,” he said.

The holiday, timed to the new moon of autumn, is celebrated with special prayers, music and food, including sweet items like apples dipped in honey and round challah with raisins – considered good omens for the coming year.

Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Wednesday and CBS will celebrate with a musical service at 7 p.m. Bochner will lead the Erev Rosh Hashana observance along with guest cantor Ariel Wolpe. It begins a series of events at CBS to mark the High Holidays. On Thursday, in addition to evening and morning services, the congregation will offer a late afternoon Tashlich Service when mistakes are symbolically cast away, followed by a Rosh Hashana Seder made up of the ritual foods symbolizing a good year.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, there will be a variety of Yom Kippur activities and discussions to close out the observances.

All of the celebrations and services marking the High Holidays at Congregation Beth Shalom are open to the public; reservations are requested for the larger services, 209-571-6060.

Wednesday, Sept. 20 – Erev Rosh Hashana. 7 to 8:15 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 21 – Rosh Hashana. 9 a.m. to noon, musical services; yoga at 9 a.m.; family service at 10 a.m.; reception noon to 1 p.m.; Tashlich 5:30 p.m.; seder, 6 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 22 – Rosh Hashana second day. 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. musical traditional services; 12:30 p.m. potluck lunch

Friday, Sept. 29 – Erev Yom Kippur/Kol Nidre. 6:30 p.m. cello; 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. Kol Nidre services.

Saturday, Sept. 30 – Yom Kippur Day. Morning service begins at 9 a.m. and the day continues with a series of services, programs, talks and other Jewish observances until the 7:30 p.m. fast breaking and 8 p.m. blessing of the moon.

All events are at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave., Modesto. For more, see or call 209-571-6060.

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