The High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. We begin the High Holy Day season in the month of Elul, which is the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Elul is a time of reflection and preparation for the holidays. At NVHC, we provide material for study, inspiration, and reflection during this month to guide us through the process of cheshbon hanefesh, or “an accounting of the soul.”
The Saturday before Rosh Hashanah, we hold a service on S’lichot, during which we cover the Torah scrolls with their white High Holy Day covers and spiritually ready ourselves for the weeks to come. We often have another program, such as dinner or a movie discussion, along with the service.
Rosh Hashanah services begin on Erev Rosh Hashanah (the evening during which the holiday starts), and continue through the next afternoon, ending with Tashlich at Lake Fairfax Park. We have services for adults as well as Young Families, and a pull-out program for students in 3rd-6th grade.
The 10 Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are filled with more reflection and materials for inspiration, until finally we reach Yom Kippur.
Services on Yom Kippur begin with Kol Nidre the night before, then continue throughout the next day, with multiple services for adults, an afternoon study, a young family service, and Yizkor. We end with Neilah, often followed by a congregational break fast.