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Where to Stream High Holiday Services

Many synagogues will be ringing in 5781 with online programming for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Tablet Magazine
September 16, 2020
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine

fThis Jewish New Year will most certainly be different from all others. While Passover during a pandemic meant Zoom Seders and DIY Dayenus, the High Holidays are traditionally a time when Jews flock to synagogue, eager to hear the prayers and shofar blowing that signify the new year.

As Paula Jacobs writes in Tablet, “Rosh Hashanah represents a time of hope and renewal. But in 5781, as the pandemic continues to surge with no apparent end in sight, clergy are under intense pressure during the High Holidays to help congregants overcome their anxiety, pain, and grief, especially after months of loss and social isolation. And they’ll have to do it in a new way that doesn’t look like any High Holiday season they’ve seen before.”

For congregations comfortable with using technology on Shabbat and Jewish holidays (typically Reform, some Conservative, plus Renewal and Reconstructing Judaism), that means streaming their services online. For certain synagogues, this is standard practice—New York City’s Central Synagogue drew nearly 3,000 Rosh Hashanah livestreamers all the way back in 2012 —but for others, this year marks the first time that their services will be broadcast online.

Below is a compilation of various streaming options, for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services as well as related High Holiday programming. Some services are streaming live, others are prerecorded. Many are free, and open to nonmembers (though a donation is always menschy).

This page will be updated throughout the High Holidays. Share additional streaming options with us at [email protected]

This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown Friday, Sept. 18 and ends at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 20. For more of Tablet’s Rosh Hashanah coverage, click here.

Yom Kippur begins at sundown Sunday, Sept. 27, and ends at sundown Sept. 28. For Tablet’s Yom Kippur coverage, click here.

Rosh Hashanah Streaming:

We’ve indicated to the best of our knowledge which services below will include captions on their videos. See here for a full list of High Holiday services with ASL and/or captions for accessibility.

Adas Israel The largest Conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C., boasts current and former members of Congress and Cabinet members as congregants, and this Rosh Hashanah their services will be streamed free for all, with closed captions for accessibility, on their website. Full schedule here.

Ansche Chesed This “ritually traditional, socially progressive” congregation on New York City’s Upper West Side will be offering their High Holiday services via a free livestream and Zoom. They’ve published related materials and prompts, including an innovative Four Questions for Rosh Hashanah. Full schedule here.

Beiteinu Synagogue Bringing Jewish living to the Delaware Valley, and this year bringing their services online to “heal as many souls as we can.” Featuring a cello player for Kol Nidre, Beiteinu requests that attendees register in advance and give what they’re able to. Full schedule here.

Bet Shira Congregation The Miami synagogue that offered drive-by services earlier in the pandemic is hosting free livestreamed Rosh Hashanah services, along with PDF prayer books. Register here; Stream here.

Beth El Synagogue Serving the Jewish community of Central New Jersey for more than a century, High Holiday services are livestreamed for free (with a requested donation). They also have prerecorded youth services, and a livestreamed family service. Full schedule here.

Beth Emet the Free Synagogue This “spiritually vibrant, socially conscious, intellectually challenging” synagogue in Evanston, Illinois, is offering a mix of prerecorded and Zoom services free to members and nonmembers alike. Register here.

B’nai Jeshurun This nearly 2-century-old nonaffiliated synagogue community in New York City offers everything from young family services to mindfulness services as part of its Waze to the Light virtual High Holiday Journey. Full schedule here.

CBST The largest LGBTQ+ centered synagogue in the country is offering its High Holiday services and programming for free via livestream (with accessibility options available). Read Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum’s Rosh Hashanah message here. Register here.

Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley Founded in 1854, this congregation is the Reform voice of Judaism in the mid-Hudson Valley. High Holiday services stream for free. Full schedule here.

Central Reform Congregation This justice-minded St. Louis Reform congregation is streaming its High Holiday services on YouTube and Facebook for free, with the prayer book text on screen for accessibility. They’ve also published online resources on how to making a sacred space in your home doing DIY tashlich. Full schedule here.

Central Synagogue One of the largest congregations in North America and a livestreaming pioneer, Central Synagogue’s concertesque services will stream live, for free, on their website and Facebook page, and will also be available on the cable channel JBS and by phone through a call-in number. Full schedule here.

Congregation Beth Chaim All are welcome at this Princeton Junction, New Jersey, Reform temple’s free virtual Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, but registration is required. Full schedule here.

Congregation Beth Emek This Reform temple in Pleasanton, California, will be streaming all of its High Holiday services on their website. Free, with suggested donation. Full schedule here.

Congregation Kehillath Jeshurun This New York City Orthodox synagogue’s “virtual doors are open” with prayers, commentaries, and sermons. Alongside their main services, they offer Sephardic minyans, services for beginners, and youth services. Full schedule here.

Congregation L’Dor V’Dor This reform congregation on Long Island’s North Shore welcomes participants from throughout the country to its High Holiday services, which this year feature creative and musical flourishes. Free with registration; Full schedule here.

Congregation Shaare Emeth of St. Louis This Reform temple in St. Louis is offering all of its High Holiday services free via livestream this year. Full schedule here.

Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale This Bronx congregation is offering a PDF tashlich pamphlet, a dedicated High Holiday virtual portal for kids, an Elul Channel featuring instructional videos, and a livestream of services. More information here.

Hillel and Reboot If you enjoyed Saturday Night Seder (and who didn’t), Higher Holidays—designed for “Jewish (and Jew-ish)” college students—is for you. Featuring “Supercharged Rosh Hashanah,” “Uplifting Yom Kippur,” and some help from Broadway and Hollywood stars. Register here.

Hillel at UCLA What it is: a video playlist featuring the High Holiday hits, accessible from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur with an all-access pass. What it isn’t: a “full day of services that go on for hours at end.” Full schedule here; donation requested.

Hinenu Baltimore This spiritual community “rooted in joy, pursuit of justice, and radical kinship” is offering its High Holiday services and programs online for free, as well as self-guided activity prompts. Register here.

IKAR LA’s largest nondenominational spiritual community is offering its innovative High Holiday services and programming (including a Yom Kippur sermon from IKAR’s Rabbi Sharon Brous and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson) for free on their website and Facebook page. Full schedule here.

Lab/Shul This experimental Jewish community always brings dynamic performance to the High Holidays. This year they launched a digital platform with a diverse slate of programming that includes meditation, sound expression, and an interactive Rosh Hashanah Seder. There’s also Lab/Jr. for the little ones. Register here; suggested donation.

Lamroth Hakol This Masorti synagogue is one of the largest congregations in Buenos Aires, and is offering transmisión online de las Tefilot this High Holiday season. Check out their Facebook page for easy streaming.

Mishkan Chicago This inclusive spiritual community offers virtual High Holiday programming aligned with their mission of “inspired, down-to-earth Judaism.” Registration fee; full schedule here.

Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah This Baltimore synagogue is one of few modern Orthodox congregations livestreaming their services. How? They’re keeping the feed running for the entirety of the holiday, so it won’t have to be turned on or off. Tune in here.

Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue For a taste of liberal Judaism in the U.K., check out these High Holiday services, including tot and family services, which will be livestreamed on their website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page (where you can set reminders to tune into each service).

Oseh Shalom Reconstructionist synagogue in Laurel, MD offering study, meditation, shofar blasts, a cooking class, family events and more. Guests welcome; click “Contact Us” on their website or email [email protected] for the Zoom information.

Peninsula Temple Beth El This Bay Area Reform temple prominently features music in its services, which will be livestreamed for free. They’re also offering slides to view online for those without a prayer book. Full schedule here.

Reconstructing Judaism is offering Rosh Hashanah services and discussions as part of its Recon Connect virtual programming series, which showcases the movement’s “innovation and intellectual depth.” Full schedule here; registration required.

Riverway Project at Temple Israel of Boston Free livestream of High Holiday services featuring a mix of Hebrew and English by a guitar-strumming rabbi. Great for folks new to Judaism, rediscovering Judaism, living in Boston or beyond. Register here.

Romemu This pioneering Jewish Renewal community in New York City is livestreaming two of its powerful, prayerful services—Day 2 Rosh Hashanah and Mincha/Neilah Yom Kippur—for free online to non-members. (Digital supporters get access to additional services.) Registration information here.

Shaare Torah This Conservative synagogue in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is offering a full slate of services, including those for tots and teens. Full schedule here.

Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe’s Los Angeles congregation streams services and sermons on their slickly produced YouTube channel year-round; High Holiday services will be streamed there for free as well (though they’re introducing a new Virtual Friends of Sinai program). Full schedule here.

Sixth and I The Washington, D.C., programming powerhouse offers a 5781-specific slate of programming in the categories of Mind, Heart, and Soul. Ticket purchasers get access to High Holiday services alongside conversations about public memory, Black-Jewish solidarity, and more. Full schedule here

Sutton Place Synagogue Conservative synagogue in Manhattan offering its High Holiday livestreamed services to nonmembers. Register here (donation requested, but no one will be turned away).

Temple Beth-El With downloadable High Holiday cards for kids (that they’ll mail for members!), as well as free livestreaming and Zoom services, this Providence, Rhode Island, temple has the whole family covered. Full schedule here.

Temple Beth El Boca Reform services (congregational, family participation, and young family) available for free livestreaming—plus virtual ushers! Register here.

Temple De Hirsch Sinai The largest Reform congregation in the Pacific Northwest was founded in 1899 and retains its legacy of commitment to the wider community by streaming all its High Holiday services free of charge. Full schedule here.

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills This Beverly Hills reform synagogue, known for its music, is livestreaming adult, family, and tot High Holiday services for free. Full schedule here.

Temple Israel This West Bloomfield, Michigan, Reform congregation, which in pre-pandemic days drew more than a thousand people to its outdoor summer services, is inviting Jews from around the world to view their free High Holiday services online, even including a guide for how to watch. Full schedule here.

The Kitchen This San Francisco Jewish spiritual community is offering its High(er) Holiday programming online, for free. Register here.

United Hebrew Congregation This Reform temple may have been founded in St. Louis in 1837, but it is very much in the 21st century, livestreaming Rosh Hashanah services for free on their website and Facebook page. Full schedule here.

Urban Adamah This farm-based Bay Area initiative, which fuses Jewish tradition, sustainability, and social action, offers a multisensory experience with sacred music audio offerings, nature-based prompts, and virtual gatherings. Full schedule here; all-inclusive tickets on a sliding scale.

Washington Hebrew Congregation This Washington, D.C., Reform temple is offering all of its services online for free viewing, either on their website or YouTube channel. Full schedule here.

General programming:

Praying in Nature, Nature in Our Prayers Rabbi Jill Hammer and Shoshana Jedwab mark this season of renewal and rebirth with a virtual workshop about outdoor prayer and rituals connected to the earth, Sept. 22, 7 p.m. EDT. Tickets available on a sliding scale; Register here.

HereFor This new initiative from OneTable offers resources and programming to design, organize, and engage with the High Holidays on your own terms. They feature an impressive directory of all kinds of High Holiday events, from New Year yoga to other communities’ events and services. Connect here.

Something we missed? Email us at [email protected] with a link to your High Holiday services. Happy streaming, and Happy New Year. Get in the festive Zoom spirit with these Rosh Hashanah virtual backgrounds from Moishe House.

From the editors at Tablet Magazine