High Holy Days at-Home Resources

We have put together some ideas for enhancing our experience of High Holy Days in these unprecedented times.  Feel free to wander amongst the ideas and play with options.  We’ll be adding materials, and invite you to keep checking back.

Ideas for Turning Your Physical Space Into a Sanctuary

Days of Awe(some!) @ Home

Book of Life

A Guide for the New-ish to the Holy Days that are Jewish

Build your own Sukkah

Sukkot @ Home Guide

Ideas for Turning Your Physical Space Into a Sanctuary

Wear something that feels special to you.

Move things around.  A big part of holy days in Judaism is making a distinction, making things different.

  • Make your own bima flowers – freshly picked, plants, drawings, and/or photos.
  • Hang up/display things that are inspirational to you
  • Put up something behind you (physical or Zoom background) to represent what sanctuary is to you.
  • Ritual objects, if you have them, to participate from home. (If you don’t have them, you can sanctify daily objects.)
  • Candlesticks, Kiddush cup, Shofar, Challah, Havdalah set, kippah, tallit, Machzor, apples & honey.

Gather a few items that are meaningful and/or inspirational to you to have within view and/or arms’ reach, i.e.

  • Books (on Judaism, ethics, and/or anything that lifts you up and/or helps you go deeper)
  • Photos (of loved ones, loved places, past, present, and future)
  • Objects (items which hold meaning, evoke memory, of people or places or events)
  • Food! Put together some yummies to enjoy while zoom schmoozing with friends or family.

Book of Life

The prayer we recite on the High Holy Days, “B’rosh Hashanah”, says: “On Rosh Hashanah, it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” But what is written, and what is sealed? And by whom? At least part of the writing and inscribing is ours.

Take some paper and fold it in half. This is your book of life. Your book. Take a moment or two, or longer, to inscribe yourself, all your hopes and dreams and wishes and plans for the coming year. For yourself, for your loved ones, for your community, for the world. You can do it in one sitting, or change it over the High Holy Days (until Simchat Torah!).

You can use images, words, drawings. You can write it, or whisper it, or visualize. When you’re done, if you like, you can fold up your book and put it somewhere safe, where you can refer to it over the coming days and year.

Recent blog posts

Wingsong: for all the friends who died of AIDS

Wingsong: -Maggid Andrew Ramer      I carry you on my back I carry every one of you who has died on my back        You are not a burden      your weight is exalting      each one of you      is another feather      in my arched wings      You carry me     …

Read More
Read more

Hybrid Services: In-person and Zoom

Dear Sha’ar Zahav Community, The High Holy Days are behind us, but rather than being a slow time…we have exciting news! We know this is a long letter, but urge you to read through it in its entirety since there are lots of details and this is pertinent information for everyone. Our Shabbat evening service at the synagogue since…

Read More
Read more

Congregation Sha’ar Zahav Fragrance-Free

In order to support Sha’ar Zahav attendees who are physically harmed when exposed to chemical fragrances (difficulty breathing, migraines, flu-like symptoms), please do your best to follow these guidelines when you visit our synagogue building: Refrain from wearing perfume/cologne Check your various products to see if there is a fragrance free version available Switch to…

Read More
Read more