Jewish High Holy Days 2018

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Sunday, September 9

6:30 p.m. – Picnic dinner in Muskie Gardens

7:30 p.m. – Rosh Hashanah Services, Muskie Archives

Rosh Hashanah: Monday, September 10

9:30 a.m. – Rosh Hashanah Service, Benjamin Mays Center

After morning service approx. 11:00 – Tashlich at Lake Andrews

7:30 p.m. – Rosh Hashanah Services, Gomes Chapel

Rosh Hashanah: Tuesday, September 11

9:30 a.m. – Rosh Hashanah Day Two – Gomes Chapel

6:30 p.m. – Services and Dinner—Benjamin Mays Center

Erev Yom Kippur: Tuesday, September 18

4:15 p.m. – Challah Baking in the OIE

5:30 p.m. – Dinner in the OIE

7:00 p.m. – Kol Nidre Service, Skelton Lounge

Yom Kippur: Wednesday, September 19

10:00 a.m. – Morning Services, Gomes Chapel

5:30 p.m. – Yizkor Service, Muskie Archives

6:45 p.m. – Break fast dinner, Muskie Archives

From the Hillel Board:

L’Shanah Tovah!

If you are new to the High Holidays at Bates welcome! We might do some things differently than you’re used to, some of it might feel really familiar. We provide plenty of programming during this special time, and if you’re trying to decide which services to attend, we’ve included some info below to help you out.

We are also so lucky to have Madeline, our visiting student Rabbi with us during this special time. She is available to speak with you about transitioning to Bates, maintaining faith under college pressures, moving forward with a career in Judaism, or anything else that’s on your mind. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and sign up below!

Have the sweetest New Year!


Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holy Days, signaling the new year, and reaffirming G-d’s role as divine sovereign. Sovereignty serves as inspiration for the structure of Rosh Hashanah services, which mirror a coronation, resplendent with celebration and devotion. This means that there are a few elements that exist in these services that aren’t present in typical weekly Shabbat services. Some of these elements include:

  • Rosh Hashanah Amidah: The Rosh Hashanah Amidah’s include verses referencing G-d as King, returning to the theme of coronation. In addition, the Amidah describes G-d as a heavenly scribe, as G-d records our deeds during Rosh Hashanah, and during Yom Kippur G-d judges those deeds.

  • Avinu Malkeinu: Translated, Avinu Malkeinu means Our Father, Our King. Again, the theme of coronation is present in this prayer, as well as the plea that G-d remember our deeds favorable before entering into the Days of Atonement.

  • The Shofar: The meaning of the Shofar, or the sounding of a Ram’s horn (blown this year by the charming and talented Evan Goldberg) is twofold. The Shofar was blown at king’s coronations in ancient times, and is blown in acknowledgment of G-d as divine King. The second is to call us back to our faith, our values, and to G-d.

  • Tashlich: Meaning “to cast out”, Tashlich is a ceremony where Jews gather by a body of water (we will gather by the puddle) to throw bread crumbs in the water, symbolizing a releasing and relinquishing of sin.

Yom Kippur

On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, we are obligated to forego physical desires in order to focus on our spiritual needs and dedicate ourselves to making amends with G-d, with others, and with ourselves. We observe Yom Kippur by fasting, praying, and repenting, with the goal of reconciling ourselves with others and with G-d and atoning for the sins we committed. As a result of this special holiness and focus on spirituality, the Yom Kippur services differ from normal Shabbat services, with some large differences:

  • Kol Nidre: The Kol Nidre service, or “All Vows” service, marks the start of Yom Kippur by asking G-d to nullify all vows made under duress during the past year. Jewish tradition places strong emphasis on spoken vows, and many people thus believe that Kol Nidre was created to absolve Jewish people who under duress, swore loyalty to a different religion, of those vows, and to allow them to return and pray with the Jewish community.

  • Yizkor: Yizkor, or “may G-d remember,” is a public prayer for the deceased. Jewish mourning is done both publicly and privately, and through Yizkor, the community asks G-d to elevate the souls of the deceased.

  • Neilah: Neilah, or “Closing of the gates,” marks the conclusion of Yom Kippur and symbolizes the final outpouring of prayer before the Gates of Heaven are closed for the year. Although in Jewish tradition, the Gates remain open for the truly repentant, Neilah’s symbolism as the final moments before the Gates are closed makes it a special and urgent portion of the High Holy Days. During Neilah, it is traditional to stand while the ark is open and to listen to the final long blast of the shofar, symbolizing G-d’s granting of redemption in response to true repentance.

L’shanah tovah u’metukah, wishing you all a good and sweet year.