By Janis Fontaine

As the Jewish High Holy Days approach, we offer four places to commemorate the somber day and five things you may not know about Rosh Hashana.

• The name Rosh Hashana isn’t in the Torah. The Torah calls it “a day of shofar blowing.” The name Rosh Hashana appeared in the second century. Rosh Hashana literally means “the head of the year,” but the notable day is also called The Day of Sounding, The Day of Remembrance, The Day of Judgement and The Day That Lasts Longer Than a Day.

• Jewish holidays are almost all one day, but Rosh Hashana is two days. Blame it on the moon. A person had to report that he had witnessed the moon rising before the holiday could start. It’s tough to know (or it used to be) when exactly that would happen. So people guessed with a little buffer on the front end and set the holiday over two days.

• The concept of atoning for sins is central to Rosh Hashana. Think back to the first time man had to atone for breaking one of God’s commandments. It is as old as we are. Scholars say the first Rosh Hashana happened in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve begged God’s forgiveness for eating the forbidden fruit.

Some scholars say the fruit in their story wasn’t an apple but a pomegranate. So much for Pom Wonderful and health nuts.

• Rosh Hashana isn’t celebrated so much as observed. Rosh Hashana is really a very personal time, a time of deep thought, contemplation and self-review of our lives. People also look forward and make plans to do better in the coming year.

• Ducks should love it. There’s a tradition of casting bits of old bread into bodies of water. The bread symbolizes bad deeds we want to absolve. We all have sins we’d like to see drowned in a pond, river, lake, puddle.

Rosh Hashana is a very cerebral event. It’s about quietly contemplating our place in the universe, creating our personal “mission statement,” and wiping the slate clean for the new year.

Where to go

Most of the Days of Awe during Rosh Hashana are spent in the synagogue, with fasting and prayer a focus at home as well. Here are four places you can attend services. Many require a ticket or reservation, so call first or go online. 

Congregation B’nai Israel

2200 Yamato Road, Boca Raton; 241-8118;

• Erev Rosh Hashana — 7: 30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29

• Rosh Hashana first day, Monday, Sept. 30 — services 8:30 a.m., noon; 3:15 p.m.; Tashlich service, 4 p.m.

• Rosh Hashana second day,  Tuesday, Oct. 1 —10 a.m., Shabbat Shuvah

• Friday, Oct. 4 — 6:15 p.m.

• Saturday, Oct. 5 — 9 a.m.

• Erev Yom Kippur/Kol Nidre, Tuesday, Oct. 8 — 7:30 p.m.

• Yom Kippur, Wednesday, Oct. 9 — morning service, 8:30 a.m.; noon; 2:45 p.m.; children’s service, 3:15 p.m.; afternoon Minchah service, 4:30 p.m., followed by Yizkor, Neilah and the sounding of the shofar.

Temple Beth El

333 SW Fourth Ave., Boca Raton; 391-8900;

Rosh Hashana services — 8 p.m., Sept. 29.

• Congregational worship service at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30, led by Rabbi Greg Weisman, Rabbi Jessica Mates and cantorial soloist Michelle Cohen.

• Tot and youth program — 10 a.m. for children age 18 months to second grade while parents attend services. Registration required.

• Congregational worship service — 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 30, at FAU, led by Rabbi Dan Levin and cantor Lori Brock.

• Family participation service — 2 p.m., for families with children ages 8 to teenage, led by Rabbi Jessica Mates.

• Tashlich — 4 p.m.; meet in front of Temple Beth El to walk to a nearby stream as a community to cast off sins.

• Second day congregational worship service — 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1. • Yom Kippur/Kol Nidre — 8 p.m. Oct. 8, led by Rabbi Jessica Mates, Rabbi Greg Weisman & cantorial soloist Michelle Cohen

• Kol Nidre — 8 p.m. Oct. 8 at FAU. Led by Rabbi Dan Levin and Cantor Lori Brock.

• Congregational Morning Worship Service at 10 a.m. Oct. 9 at FAU. Led by Rabbi Jessica Mates, Rabbi Greg Weisman and cantor Lori Brock

• Congregational worship service —  10 a.m., Oct. 9, led by Rabbi Dan Levin and cantorial soloist Michelle Cohen. Tot and youth program at 10 a.m. for age 18 months to second grade.

• Young children’s service — 2 p.m. for families with kids age 8 and younger.

• Community Yizkor service —3:30 p.m., open to the community, led by Rabbi Jessica Mates and cantorial soloist Michelle Cohen.

• Family participation service — 2 p.m., Oct. 9. Recommended for families with children ages 8 to early teens as an alternative to the congregational morning service. Led by Rabbi Greg Weisman.

• Afternoon service, Yizkor and Ne’ilah — 3:45 p.m., Oct. 9, led by Rabbi Dan Levin, Rabbi Greg Weisman and cantor Lori Brock.

The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County

9901 Donna Klein Blvd., Boca Raton; ;

Rosh Hashana services with Rabbi Josh and Simone Broide will take place at the Zinman Hall on the campus of the of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. All seats are $25.

• The Alalu Family Rosh Hashana services — 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29.

• Morning service — 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 30.

• Levine Family Yom Kippur services — Kol Nidre, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8.

• Yizkor — 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9.

Temple Beth Shalom of Boca

19140 Lyons Road, Boca Raton, 483-5557;

Rosh Hashana Erev — Sunday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m.

• First day — Monday, Sept. 30, 9 a.m.; Tashlich, Mincha and Ma’ariv — 5 p.m.

• Second day — Tuesday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m.

Yom Kippur, Oct. 8 — Mincha — 6:15 p.m.; Kol Nidre — 6:30 p.m.

• Yiskor — 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Oct. 9; Mincha, Neila and Ma’ariv — 5 p.m.; shofar blowing — 7:10 p.m.

Temple Sinai Palm Beach County

2475 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. 276-6161;

• Erev Rosh Hashana dinner — 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29

• Erev Rosh Hashana — 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29.

• First day services with Tashlich — 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 30.

• Family and children service with Tashlich — 2 p.m.

• Second day service — 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1. Open seating.

Yom Kippur/Kol Nidre service — 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8

• Yom Kippur service with Yizkor — 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9

• Family and children service — 1:30 p.m.

• Community Yizkor service — 4 p.m.

• Afternoon and Neilah service — 5:15 p.m.

Tickets are required for some services, available online or call 276-6161, Ext. 123.

Janis Fontaine writes about people of faith, their congregations, causes and community events. Contact her at

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