High Holy Day Information


The Clergy, Staff, Officers and Board of Directors of Congregation Beth Jacob wish each of our members health, happiness, and fulfillment in the New Year. May the sounds of the shofar signal redemption for us and for our people.


May the power of coming together in prayer touch each os us in our own way. Here’s is what you will find at each of our services:

Traditional Services are liturgically comprehensive. Sermon topics are relevant to adults and older children. Cantor Barbara Powell inspires with her voice and creates an atmosphere of participation and connection. Several talented congregants prepare for months in order to help lead parts of the service. (Please note that the Traditional Service will be held in the Beit T’fillah (Chapel) on Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah Day 2.

“A Different Service,” is led by Dan Leemon, on the first morning of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur morning. This popular service, held in our comfortable and inspiring Beit T’fillah, covers the essential prayers, and stresses intimacy and participation, singing and learning. Our “Different Service” is a wonderful place for families with school-age children to pray together.

Family Services are led by Bill Futornick, Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon and Devin Leslie. They provide the opportunity for families with younger children to experience meaningful and musical services together. We welcome everyone to our Family Services on Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Day 1, Erev Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur morning. Please note that no tickets are required for any of the Family Services.

Teen Services for grades 8-12 are intimate and joyful. On Rosh Hashanah, students meet Bill on the entry patio and walk to Stulsaft Park. On Yom Kippur the service will start in the Zemel room and move out to the Patio.

Discussion Groups are led by Bill Futornick on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. We engage in lively discussions, delving into the themes of the prayer service. The discussion groups will run simultaneous with the musaf prayer in the Traditional Service, and will be announced in the main sanctuary.

NEW! Ne’ilah Alternative, led by Rabbi Ilana, will be held in the Beit T’fillah. This will be a more solemn and intimate traditional service, where people remain at their seats.


The Day of Atonement is considered the holiest of days on the Jewish calendar. This is a time when we ask for forgiveness for our transgressions during the past year. It is customary to fast, pray, and repent from sundown of Kol Nidre through sundown the following day. Those with health concerns should not fast.

Our afternoon discussion groups offer the opportunity to discuss the situation in Israel and to study text. Following the discussion groups, we offer a traditional Mincha Service and a concurrent Meditation Service.

We strongly encourage everyone to join the Yizkor Memorial Service. Even those who have not suffered a loss provide support to others, and can remember martyrs, relatives and friends who have died.

The Book of Remembrance is distributed before the Yizkor Service. We encourage you to include personal stories of your loved ones in the Book of Remembrance. Reading your stories submitted in past years has been very meaningful. Please send in your list of names and stories (optional) using our website, or by email to cbj@bethjacobrwc.org, before Friday, September 6.

The ark is open during the entire Ne’ilah Service, in the Beit L’nesset, signifying the opening of the Gates of Heaven to receive our prayers. We have a beautiful tradition of coming up to the ark to have a moment of quiet, personal prayer. We conclude Ne’ilah by welcoming children and shofar blowers to join us on the Bimah. Please bring your shofar and participate in Havdalah and the final Tekiah Gedolah.

New this year, Rabbi Ilana will lead a concurrent Ne’ilah Service in the Beit T’fillah. This will be a more solemn and intimate traditional service, where people will remain at their seats.


“Is this not the fast I look for: to unlock the shackles of injustice…Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and to bring the homeless into your house?”
From the Haftarah reading on Yom Kippur, Isaiah 58:6-7

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley and Jewish Family and Children’s Services food barrels will be available for your donations. Please plan to bring non-perishable food to the synagogue. The food barrels will be located in the lobby area.


Ours is a community of welcoming. We are affirming and inclusive of all – interfaith families, those of any ability, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or level or knowledge.

Join in! The mood we strive to set for services at CBJ is participatory, educational, and spiritual. Our goal is to create a beautiful mood of song and community that is spiritually uplifting and creates an atmosphere where your heart is moved and you are led to think about and act upon the themes of the holiday. Participate—even if the Hebrew is unfamiliar. Hum along, concentrate on the values in the prayer, pray in English.

If you are seated next to someone you don’t know, please greet them and introduce yourself. Help us make all who attend feel welcome.

There will be times during the services when the congregation is requested to stand for extended periods. If you are unable to stand, please remain seated – and feel comfortable in your decision.

Our policy is not to reserve seats in the Sanctuary. Our ushers will assist in finding an appropriate seat – just ask, and they will help in any way they can. If you have special concerns, please call the office.

Things to keep in mind:
– Please enter and exit in a way that does not disturb your fellow congregants’ prayer
– Please refrain from wearing perfume, which may cause allergic reactions
– Please return your prayer book to the table near the entrance
– Please turn off your cell phone and electronic devices

To create a spirit of comfort, please know we have quiet, private spaces available. Please ask our ushers.

If you would like a Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur social story for your child, please contact Ann Cauterruci at ann@bethjacobrwc.org.


Please join fellow worshipers on the bimah for these special honors:
– Those who serve in the armed forces, veterans, civil servants, and public officialsPrayer for Our Country, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 (after Haftarah, approx. 10:35 am)
– Those who visited Israel last year or are planning to visit this year—Prayer for Israel, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 (approx. 10:40 am)
– CBJ Board of Directors and committee heads—Yom Kippur (after Haftarah, approx. 10:45 am)
– Those who have served or have children who serve in the IDF—Prayer for Israel, Yom Kippur (approx. 10:50am)


Connection with Israeli citizens, activism and advocacy for Israel’s well-being are values upon which we base our synagogue and Jewish identity. This year, we continue our collaboration with an two incredible institutions in Israel.

Aleh Negev Since 2014, CBJ has supported ALEH Negev, the innovative rehabilitative village located near Beer Sheva that provides severely disabled children and young adults the opportunity to live a rich and productive life within a safe environment. It is more than just a rehabilitation center; it is a warm, loving home where lives are transformed. Many of us have visited, some multiple times. Our partnership helps us to fulfill our vision at CBJ of creating deep and meaningful connections to Israel as a place of sacred Jewish values. ALEH Negev is a place which lives the value of B’tzelem Elohim, that all people are made in God’s image. If you are interested in volunteering at Aleh Negev, please talk to Bill. Thank you for your support, both past and future!!

IsraAID is an Israeli-based NGO that rebuilds lives in places of severe crisis worldwide. CBJ is supporting IsraAID in building a new refugee children’s center in Kakuma, Kenya. Your donations will help ensure that the children of Kakuma get essential therapy and a place of safety.


If you have your own copy of Mahzor Lev Shalem, please bring it with you to services. Please contact the CBJ office if you would like to have a copy for home.

We encourage you to wear your own tallit (prayer shawl), or use one we provide. Everyone is requested to wear a head covering when ascending the bimah.

We encourage you to wear white or a kittel on Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. White clothing reflects confronting mortality, expressing humility, and performing teshuvah.

(for Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur)

The High Holy Days are a special time of year and we encourage you to invite your friends and relatives to experience the Holy Days at Congregation Beth Jacob. All tickets will be labeled with names and we ask you to bring them to services.

Each CBJ member family will receive tickets to services at no charge.

If you have adult children who would like to attend services, please order additional tickets at no charge. We welcome military personnel, who may receive tickets at no charge. To order additional tickets, please use our form here. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay, please contact our Executive Director, Gary Geller: ggeller@bethjacobrwc.org.

We do not require tickets for the following services:
– Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah Day 2
– All Family Services
– Closing services of Yom Kippur (from Mincha onward)

IF you are considering synagogue membership and have not attended our High Holy Day services before, your tickets are complimentary. Please contact the office to request your tickets.

Congregation Beth Jacob members in good standing who plan to be out of town during the High Holy Days should obtain a Letter of Reciprocity from the synagogue office. This letter entitles you to attend Services without charge at any participating congregation. Before the High Holy Days, check with the congregation you intend to visit. We welcome reciprocity from other synagogues.


In coordination with the Redwood City Police, we will act to maximize safety. We thank you for your cooperation.

For safety and security, cars parked outside of marked stalls in our lot, cars parked without authorization, and unattended cars in the red zone on Alameda will be towed immediately.


Our hearing-assistance system is designed to work in every seat in the Beit K’nesset (Sanctuary), Beit Kehillah (Social Hall) and Beit T’fillah (Chapel). They are all equipped with an induction loop assistive-listening system, which is designed to be used with hearing aids enabled to receive T-Coil transmissions. You are welcome to use our public headsets, or to bring your own headset, which you can plug into our listening devices.

Please note that our listening devices work best when worn around the neck with the lanyard we provide. We encourage you to contact your hearing specialist to determine if your hearing aid is enabled to receive T-Coil transmissions. It is now a common feature for most hearing aids.


Parking in our lot is limited. At busier times, the lot will be closed except to those who have government-issued disability placards or CBJ-issued parking passes. You do not need a CBJ-issued parking pass if you have a government-issued disability placard or hang tag. Please have it visible when you reach the parking lot, to avoid backups.

If you need reserved parking for health reasons and do not have a government-issued disability placard, please contact the CBJ office to arrange for a parking pass.