Your Guide to the 5781 High Holidays
and Fall Chagim at Tikvat Israel
Mah nishtanah Hashanah hazot mikol hashanot? While it may seem that we have confused our holidays, this modified question from the Passover Haggadah is applicable to the upcoming holidays of Tishrei. One thing we do know – the format of these holidays will be different from anything we have experienced previously. But there are certain things that will never change, and as we created a plan for this year’s High Holidays, we did so with several guiding principles that reflect the values that guide Tikvat Israel. Specifically, all of our decisions were made with the following principles in mind:
  • Pikuach Nefesh (Saving lives): The health and safety of our members, clergy and staff is the primary factor in making decisions.
  • Keva and Kavanah (Fixed liturgy and Prayer experience): All services will provide participants the opportunity to fulfill their halachic requirements for prayer. We will also pay careful attention to ensure that services meet the emotional/spiritual needs of the community.
  • Tafasta merube lo Tafasta (Sometimes Less is More): The experience of virtual services is not the same as an in-person service, and adjustments must be made to the liturgy to shorten the service in general and to avoid prolonged periods of silence and passive listening to readings.
  • Al Tifrosh min haTzibbur (Don’t separate from the community): Usually taught in relation to the individual, here we understand this injunction to mean that our services should be as accessible as possible and include the active participation of members whenever feasible.
  • Kedushat HaYom (The Sanctity of the Day): We must make every effort to set-up our holiday experiences in a way that allows people to participate without violating Shabbat or Yom Tov restrictions on the use of electronic equipment.

You will find more information about each topic later in this guide, but here are the most important things you need to know.
  • Online: All Tikvat Israel services will be broadcast using our StreamSpot system. The only people who will be in the building during the service will be the rabbi, cantor, and others who are leading portions of the service. We have hired RCI Systems to produce and oversee the technical aspects of the service to provide you with the best viewing experience possible.
  • Live Shofar Blowing: In the parking lot at Rockville High School and additional outdoor locations throughout the area, you can hear the shofar in-person, with social distancing.
  • Machzor and Gift Bag Pick-up: At designated times, you will be able to come to the synagogue to pick up a gift bag from the congregation and copies of Machzor Lev Hadash as you need. Home delivery will be arranged for those who are unable to come in person. 
  • Children/Family Programming: We will have children and family services on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 
  • Abbreviated Services: We have planned for each service to be 2.5 hours or (often) shorter. To achieve this, certain parts of the service will take place at different times, including Yizkor.
  • Congregant Paticipation: In addition to our Torah readers and service leaders, each member will have an opportunity to share a video expressing New Year’s greetings and reflections what we love – and will miss – about being together at Tikvat Israel. 
  • Selichot: On Saturday evening, September 12, at 8:30 pm we will mark Selichot with B’nai Shalom of Olney, Kehilat Shalom, and Shaare Tefila. The program and the service will be online, and we will share the link for it as we get closer.
  • Tashlikh: We will provide each family with a booklet to guide you through Tashlikh. We will not have a communal Tashlikh, but we encourage you to meet up at a set location with a friend or two (while maintaining social distancing).
  • Elul Programming and Side Trips: We will have a month of programming leading up to the holidays and our popular “Side Trips’ during the holiday, either by Zoom or outdoors.
  • Annual Memorial at Judean Memorial Gardens: Rabbi Israel will be at Judean Memorial Gardens on Sunday, September 13, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. There is no communal service this year.



September 12, 8:30 pm – Program and Service

Rosh Hashanah, Day I
Friday, September 18, 6:00 pm – Minchah/Opening Blasts of Shofar/Ma’ariv for Rosh Hashanah
Saturday, September 19, 9:30 am – Morning Services
Saturday, September 19 10:00 am - Family Service for Young Children
Saturday, September 19, 6:00 pm – Minchah w/Torah Reading

Rosh Hashanah Day II
Saturday, September 19, 6:30 pm – Ma’ariv
Sunday, September 20, 9:30 am – Morning Services 
Sunday, September 20, 4:00 pm – Shofar Blowing at Rockville High Parking Lot (1st “Seating”)
Sunday, September 20, 5:00 pm – Shofar Blowing at Rockville High Parking Lot (2nd “Seating”)
Sunday, September 20, 7:00 pm – Minchah/Rabbi Teaching
Sunday, September 20, 7:45 pm – Ma’ariv/Havdalah

(Tashlikh may be done during the day on Sunday, or any time before Yom Kippur)

Kol Nidre 
Sunday, September 27, 6:30 pm – Kol Nidre

Yom Kippur Day 
Monday, September 28, 10:00 am – Morning Services (NOTE: Yizkor will be at 5:30 pm)
Monday, September 28 – 10:00 am - Family Service for Young Children?
Monday, September 28, 1:00 – 5:00 pm – Side Trips (See separate schedule for sessions)
Monday, September 28, 5:00 pm – Creative presentation of Yonah
Monday, September 28, 5:30 pm – Yizkor
Monday, September 28, 6:00 pm – Minchah
Monday, September 28, 6:45 pm – Neilah
Monday, September 28, 7:30 pm – Ma’ariv
Monday, September 28, 7:39 pm – Shofar blowing/Havdalah 

Sukkot Day I
Friday, October 2, 6:00 pm – Minchah/Ma’ariv
Saturday, October 3 9:30 am – Morning Services

Sukkot Day II
Sunday, October 4, 9:30 am – Morning Services
Sunday, October 4, 7:30 pm – Ma’ariv/Havdalah

Chol Hamoed Sukkot
Monday – Friday (October 5-9), 8:00 am – Morning Services
Monday – Thursday (October 5-8), 7:30 pm – Evening Services

Shemini Atzeret
Friday, October 9, 6:00 pm – Minchah/Ma’ariv
Saturday, October10  9:30 am – Morning Services

Simchat Torah
Saturday, October 3, 7:30 pm – Ma’ariv with “Hakafot”
Sunday, October 4, 9:30 am – Morning Services with “Hakafot”
Sunday, October 4, 7:30 pm – Ma’ariv/Havdalah

The primary mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah is hearing the blasts of the shofar. Fulfilling the mitzvah requires hearing the actual sound of the shofar and not a distortion or amplification of it. Therefore, we will offer several opportunities to hear Shofar. In order to comply with COVID-19 regulations:
  1. Everyone must register to attend a particular shofar blowing. Watch for a follow-up email with registration links.
  2. Everyone will be assigned a parking spot upon entering (even if you walk). You may get out of your car, but you must remain in your parking spot.
  3. Please leave a blank spot between you and the next car.
  4. If you don’t get out of your car, please roll down your windows so you can hear the shofar.
  5. Barring a torrential downpour, the shofar blowing will be rain or shine.
  6. Based on the guidance of the RA’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards for Shofar Blowing, there will be thirty blasts of the shofar, the minimum necessary to fulfill the mitzvah.

Watch for a follow-up email with  register to hear the shofar at the following times and locations on Sunday, September 20 (additional sites and times will be added):
  • 1:00 pm, Lucy V Barnsley Elementary School Parking Lot
  • 4:00 pm, Rockville High School Back Parking Lot
  • 5:00 pm, Rockville High School Back Parking Lot

In an effort to connect to each and every member family of our congregation we have designated special days for a “drive by” to the synagogue to pick up our machzorim (High Holiday Prayer Books) and a special gift bag of treats to remind us all of the sweetness of the holidays and the caring and friendship that being a part of our chevra of Tikvat Israel provides.
We have set aside two dates and times to get your machzor and gift bag:
  • Thursday, September 10, from 5:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 13, from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm

Our plan is to make this work similar to the drive-in dining process. Cars will enter the parking lot from Baltimore Road and follow around to near the base of the front steps of the synagogue where volunteers, wearing gloves and masks after having their temperatures taken, will put the books and gift bags on your car’s back seat and wish you a shana tovah.

For people with mobility and other limitations or who don’t feel comfortable coming to the parking lot, please call the office and we will make a special “ covid safe” delivery to your home.

You may come at either time or, if you choose, you may ask for someone to deliver to your home. For delivery please call the office and tell them how many books you need so that you may participate in the service. Also, if you would like a digital copy of the Machzor.

Note: The machzorim that we distribute will be books that have been purchased for the synagogue through the generous donations of our congregants. Some of them will have dedicatory labels; all of the machzorim must be returned to the synagogue after the holidays. Watch for information about these "return days," during which we will also accept donations of non-perishable food for our annual High Holiday drive for Manna Food. Please do not bring your Manna donations when you pick up your machzorim.

If you wish to purchase a machzor for your personal use, please contact the office.

Watch for details in a separate communication. 

Based on our guiding principles, we will be abbreviating certain parts of the service. Specifically:
  • Morning Services will all begin with Nishmat Kol Chai. Those who would like to recite the morning blessings and Pesukei D’Zimra should do so individually prior to the set start time.
  • On Rosh Hashanah, Shacharit will be led similar to Shabbat, reciting the Amidah together, beginning out loud and then having a mix of silence recitation and singing through the end. For Musaf, everyone will have time to recite the silent Amidah individually, thereby fulfilling one’s halachic obligation. The Cantor will then lead us through an abbreviated repetition focused on the sections that have congregational melodies. The Torah readings on both mornings and the haftarah on the 2nd day will be abbreviated. On the 1st day, we will hear from a few congregants reflecting on the themes of the haftarah. We encourage you to read the remaining sections of the traditional readings on your own. 
  • On Yom Kippur, we have worked to balance time for individual reflection during silent prayers and the need to shorten the service and make it more engaging on screen. Each Amidah and recitation of the confession will reflect this balance in different ways. We have moved Yizkor to the late afternoon and will recite it in conjunction with Minchah. In place of the traditional recitation of the Avodah and Martyrology services, we will have alternative reflections and study sessions. The Selichot section of each service will focus on the most essential selections. This year at Minchah, we will read the “alternative” Torah reading that our Machzor provides and the book of Jonah will be performed as a skit that will be recorded prior to Yom Kippur.
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that sermons and commentaries during the service are carefully edited to ensure brevity of length while preserving depth of content.

Each year at this time, we look forward to seeing the faces of our community, some of whom we may only see once a year during this season. This is one aspect that makes being physically distant so difficult. To help alleviate this, we have several opportunities for you to “see” one another and to share the experience together:

1.     Video Rosh Hashanah Greetings
You should have received an email from, our vendor to create a video montage of Rosh Hashanah Greetings. Please respond to the email and record your video using your phone, laptop, desktop or tablet – anything that has a camera and microphone. If you didn’t receive this email, you can click here to make your recording:

2.     Inspiring quotes
Do you have a favorite passage, poem, prayer or thought that inspires you at this time of year? Send it to Rabbi Israel so we can share it with the congregation on screen during the silent portions of the service. Please provide appropriate attribution whenever possible.

3.     The Avodah Service
On Yom Kippur, there is a section of the Musaf service that re-enacts the rituals of the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) during the time of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem. The rabbis created this service as a way to remind us of the way they had practiced in previous times. This year, we are in a similar situation, albeit more temporary (we pray!). Rather than read through the Avodah Service, we would like to have some reflections from members of the congregation, sharing what they love (and will miss) about the High Holidays at Tikvat Israel. To share your message, go to             
Our Selichot program on Saturday evening, September 12, begins at 8:30 pm with Rabbi Dan Ornstein discussing his book Cain v. Abel: A Jewish Courtroom Drama. The service will follow at 9:30 pm. 

The Selichot service provides us with an opportunity to intensify our cheshbon ha-nefesh — our personal preparations for the High Holidays. Many of the prayers and melodies recited in this brief and spiritual service are the same as those recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This year, we will once again partner with B’nai Shalom of Olney, Kehillat Shalom of Gaithersburg and Shaare Tefila for the program and service. We will stand together as agudah echat — one community — just as the High Holiday machzor indicates. 

Cain v. Abel: A Jewish Courtroom Drama is available through Amazon and other book vendors). 

Tikvat Israel will once again be working with a local supplier, Silver Spring Daled Minim, to supply Lulav & Etrog sets to our congregation. The cost per set is $72. All etrogim will come with pitumim. If you have never purchased a set, this year, when we will celebrate the holiday in our homes may be the year to consider doing so. Orders for sets must be placed by Tuesday, September 15, and will be available for pickup in the Tikvat Israel lobby before Sukkot, which begins the evening of Friday, October 2. To order your set(s) visit
Tikvat Israel …
A Friendly, Participatory, and Egalitarian Conservative Synagogue where everyone has something to teach, and everyone has something to learn.