The Jewish community in Stanislaus County prepares for its holiest time of the year beginning this weekend with Rosh Hashana.
Congregation Beth Shalom in Modesto plans to mark the Jewish High Holidays with traditional observances and several new programs.
Rosh Hashana begins the evening of Sunday, Sept. 9, and ends the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 11. It opens the High Holy Days, which culminate in Yom Kippur, beginning the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 18, and ending the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Also known as the 10 Days of Awe, it marks the period when Jewish people focus on their mistakes of the past year and seek God’s forgiveness. Blasts from the shofar, or ram’s horn, mark the beginning and end of the period.
“The High Holidays begin a three-week period of intense celebration and ritual observance on the Hebrew lunar calendar,” Rabbi Shalom Bochner said in a press release.
Following Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur will be Sukkot (Festival of Huts) and Simchat Torah (Celebration of the Torah).
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, is observed through more than 24 hours of fasting, prayer, meditation and study. Four days later starts Sukkot, an ancient pilgrimage festival sometimes known as the “Feast of Tabernacles” and marked with rain dances with sacred plant species, according to Bochner. “The holiday season concludes with Simchat Torah, when the annual Torah chanting cycle is finished and restarted amidst singing, parading, dancing and expressions of deep joy.”
Among the new Rosh Hashana events at CBS will be a New Year Dinner on Monday, Sept. 10, at 6:30 p.m. ($12 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under, $30 for a family of four or more). Sukkot will be marked with a HeBrew Fest Barbecue on Friday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. followed by outdoor services in the Sukkah, or “harvest hut.”
There also will be a Simchat Torah celebration and pizza party to mark the conclusion of the Jewish fall holiday season. Services will be led by Bochner and returning guest cantor Ariel Wolpe.
The public is invited to all of the activities at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave. in Modesto. For a full list of observances and celebrations, see www.cbsmodesto.org.