High Holy Days 5784

L’shana tova u’metuka! May you be written into the Book of Life for a good and sweet new year!

We are looking forward to seeing everyone for the High Holy Days this year! For most of our services, there will be two options for participation: indoors in our Sanctuary or online. Registration is required for both options.

  • All members and guests must register to attend services. For capacity reasons, we ask that you only register for services you are certain you will be attending.
  • If you are not a member of NVHC, please contact Joe Miller (joe@nvhcreston.org, 703-437-7733) for registration information.
  • We will not be mailing paper tickets; instead, we will be checking everyone in at the door. Registration is required for entry.
  • All services will be in person and streamed online with the exception of our Young Family services, which will not be streamed.
  • While we do have a limited number of loaner prayerbooks, we assume our families have their own copies of Mishkan HaNafesh (our High Holy Day prayerbooks). We encourage you to order a set at the link in the side bar if you do not yet have yours.

If you will be visiting NVHC for the High Holy Days and are a member of another Reform congregation in good standing, click here to download and complete the URJ’s Reciprocal Seating Form. Please send your form to Mozelle Stanton at mozelle@nvhcreston.org or 1441 Wiehle Ave, Reston VA 20190.

Scroll down to view the schedule for each holiday.

High Holy Day Melodies

The uniqueness and awe of these sacred days are echoed in special sounds and melodies that we hear once a year. For either a little review, anticipatory listening or first-time learning, please click below to listen to some of these special High Holy Day melodies.


The Hebrew month of Elul is referred to as “the month of repentance,” “the month of mercy,” and “the month of forgiveness.” Elul follows the months of Tammuz and Av, months noted for Torah stories about the sins of Israel — the sin of the Golden Calf in Tammuz, and the sin of the faithless spies in Av — and for two historical tragedies in Jewish history — the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem on the 17th of Tammuz, and the destructions of both Temples on the 9th of Av.

In Elul, we can take time to prepare ourselves for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which occur in the ensuing month of Tishrei. During this time, we can reflect about our process of teshuvah: the returning, renewing, repenting that we each need to do for the past year in preparation for the coming year. We can look at our actions, review our lives, engage in meaningful discernment, and begin to apologize to those we have wronged, including ourselves.

Our tradition calls this process cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of the soul. We strive to elevate the spirituality in our lives, acknowledging our shortcomings and fragility so that we can grow. This year, we are exploring Elul through the lens of a number of Hasidic tales, whose moral, spiritual, and ethical metaphors can be a guide for us in our human experiences. We will share a video each week beginning August 17th – the first day of Elul – containing a story and some ideas for contemplation from that story to inspire and stir you toward meaningful personal contemplation and action.

These videos will be sent via email and posted here.

Selichot Dinner & Service

Saturday, September 9

Dinner – 6:00pm, Service – 7:00pm

The whole month of Elul that precedes the holidays is a time of soul-searching and reflection to prepare oneself spiritually. Selichot, meaning “forgiveness,” is the first service of this holy day season dedicated to communal prayers of repentance and forgiveness.

We will begin with a dinner, followed by a special service during which we will roll our Torah scroll book by book to set it for our Rosh Hashanah Torah reading. We’ve never done something like this before as part of this service, and we are excited to add a meaningful ritual to our service to help in our spiritual preparations.

The cost for dinner is $10 per person and reservations are required. Click Here to make your reservation.

Rosh Hashanah

Friday, September 15

8:00pm – Erev Rosh Hashanah Service – In Sanctuary and online

Saturday, September 16

9:00am – Young Family Service (suggested through 2nd grade) – In person in the Tent

10:30am – Morning Service – In Sanctuary and online

*This service will offer a companion Mini-Machzor and programming experience for grades 3-6. More information below and in the Glance.

3:00pm – Shofar Sounding – In person

4:00pm – Tashlich – In person only at Lake Fairfax Park

Yom Kippur

Sunday, September 24

8:00pm – Kol Nidre – In Sanctuary and online

Monday, September 25

9:00am – Young Family Service (suggested through 2nd grade) – In person in the Tent 

10:30am – Morning Service – In Sanctuary and online

*This service will offer a companion Mini-Machzor and programming experience for grades 3-6. More information below and in the Glance.

1:45pm – Afternoon Study – In Sanctuary and online

3:30pm – Afternoon Service – In Sanctuary and online

5:00pm – Yizkor – In Sanctuary and online

Click here to view this year’s Yizkor Memorial Book.

6:00pm – Neilah – In Sanctuary and online

7:00pm – Break the Fast – In person. Click here to RSVP.

We Need Your Help!

Support NVHC’s Annual High Holy Day Food Drive!

Our neighbors need our help! Again this year during the High Holy Days, we will be collecting non-perishable food and toiletries for the Cornerstones Emergency Food Pantry. Click here to see what items they need. Remember that low sodium, low fat, sugar free, and organic items are appreciated for their clients with dietary concerns.

Grab a grocery bag (or several!) on Rosh Hashanah, fill it with food, and then drop it off inside the lobby at NVHC any time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Thank you for helping our neighbors in need!

Experiences for Older Kids

Students in grades 3– 6 are invited to join the main service in person. We will provide a meaningful companion Mini-Machzor which follows the course of the liturgy in Mishkan HaNefesh but includes stories, poems, and questions for students’ own reflection. Both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur morning services will also offer hands-on holiday projects for students during the service.