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.


Yamim Nora’im literally means the “Days of Awe.” This refers to the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and is marked by a ten-day period of time during which we engage in prayer, introspection, t’shuva, and fasting.

Our High Holy Day services are geared toward different interests within our community. Our Traditional Services are liturgically comprehensive. The sermon topics are relevant to adults and older children. The music is led beautifully by Cantor Barbara Powell, who inspires with her voice while creating an atmosphere of participation and connection. Several talented congregants have been studying for months in order to help lead parts of the service. (Please note that on Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah Day 2, the Traditional Service will be held in the Beit T’fillah (Chapel).

Our alternative service, “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.

Our Family Services are led by Bill Futornick or Rabbi Ilana and provide the opportunity for families with younger children to experience meaningful 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.

There are also Teen Services with Bill that are intimate and joyful.

Please refer to the following detailed schedule with times for all of our services. Service ending times, where listed in this booklet, are estimates.


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 are a wonderful time 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 15.

The ark is open during the entire Ne’ilah Service, 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. All are invited to participate in this tradition.

We conclude the evening service 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.

(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. Admission to services is by Admission Ticket ONLY except as noted below; tickets are non-transferable. All tickets will be labeled with names. Your Admission Ticket will be honored at all worship services. To ensure that we can accommodate all ticket holders, your ticket will be checked at each service, except as noted below.

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)

However, security procedures will still be in place.

Each adult in a CBJ member family in good standing will receive one ticket at no charge. Children under age 18 do not require tickets. If you have not received your tickets, please contact the CBJ office.

To order additional tickets, please use our form here. Young adults in college, military personnel, Project Reconnect and Birthright NEXT participants may receive tickets at no charge.

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.

Creating Warmth and Meaning

To maintain the spirit and dignity of our services:
– Please be courteous to your fellow congregants.
Turn off cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices while on the premises.

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. In order for this to happen you need to be active. 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. You are not obligated to stand if you are not able to.

We are continuing our policy of not reserving seats in the Sanctuary. Those with health concerns can easily find an open seat. For those with health concerns requiring specific accommodation, we will ask the ushers to assist us in making sure an appropriate seat is available. If you have special concerns, please call the office so that our ushers can be aware of helping you with your needs and, if necessary, hold an appropriate seat for you.

Every consideration has been made to adopt a fair policy respecting the needs of our congregation. If you have a concern, please call the office.
A few requests:
– 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

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


If you purchased your own copy of Mahzor Lev Shalem, please bring it with you to services, to ensure an adequate supply of mahzors for all in attendance.

Please contact the CBJ office if you would like to have a copy for home. The cost is $72 per copy.

Tallitot (prayer shawls) are in limited supply, so please bring your own tallit if possible. Women are requested to wear a head covering when ascending the bimah.

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


In coordination with the Redwood City Police, we will continue our security procedures to maximize safety.

Both the Alameda and Goodwin Avenue gates to the parking lot will be open for pedestrian and car use. The Goodwin Avenue vehicle entrance will not be open on Erev Rosh Hashanah or Rosh Hashanah Day 2. You may enter the parking lot on foot or by car from either gate.

Ticket checkpoints will be at the driveway entrances for both drivers and pedestrians. To avoid backups, please have your tickets available when you reach the parking lot gate.

During busy times, there will be NO LEFT TURN from Alameda into the parking lot. If you are approaching the synagogue from the south, turn left onto Goodwin and enter from the Goodwin gate.

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. This system has a wide coverage range so that all seats are supported. Those who use the hearing devices do not need to reserve seats.

The system is designed to be used with hearing aids enabled to receive T-Coil transmissions. In addition, you are welcome to use our public headsets. You also have the option of bringing 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.

On Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah Day 2, we will not enforce parking controls, and the only vehicle entrance will be from Alameda. To ensure that lot parking is available to all who need it; we still ask you to park on the street if you don’t mind the short walk to our entrance.

It is always possible to enter the parking lot to drop off or pick up a member of your party who is unable to walk long distances.


We urge you to join fellow worshipers on the bimah as applicable for these special honors:
– Those who serve in the armed forces, veterans, civil servants, and public officials— Prayer 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)


“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 Food Bank 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.

From Rabbi Ezray

One thing that stands out about Beth Jacob is the depth of commitment and devotion to Israel. 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 incredible institution in Israel, Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT).