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High Holy Days at USH 2021 - 5782

Dear friends, 

We are in the process of completing our plans for the High Holy Days of 2021/5782.  While some details are still in development, and some details and policies may change based on the changing medical situation, the following are the basic guidelines, and a full schedule will be forthcoming. 

We are grateful to our High Holy Day committee, including David Swirnoff, Louise Kurtz, Barry Grossman, Adam Berkowitz, Jeremy Morley, Ron Rosenberg, Dr. Abbie Jacobs, as well as our USH staff members Rabbi Rob Scheinberg, Ruthy Tyroler, Rachelle Grossman and Grace Gurman-Chan, for developing these plans under quickly changing circumstances.

Indoor High Holy Day services in the USH Sanctuary

Many USH members and guests will be able to attend High Holy Day services this year in our sanctuary (for which we are procuring temporary air conditioning for the High Holy Day season).  This option is open to people who are vaccinated and undergo a health screening upon entry,  and are willing to wear masks throughout the service.  Some indoor services require tickets (distributed to synagogue members, and available to non-members in exchange for a donation to the congregation), and some indoor services are open to the public.  

Video access to USH Sanctuary services

For those who cannot attend USH services in person, including those who are not vaccinated, there will be video access to all services for those who register for this option.  (Note that this will be a one-way video transmission; all service leaders and speakers will be at the USH location, and those at home will be able to watch and listen but will not be seen or heard.) 

Events for children and families

Unlike in previous years, there will not be children’s and family events and services at USH concurrent with the main synagogue services, and babysitting will not be offered on-site.  Some family and children’s events will take place outdoors off-site; other family and children’s events will take place at USH at times when no main synagogue services are scheduled.  A full list will be circulated soon. 

Outdoor gatherings:  Tashlikh and Shofar blowing (1st day Rosh HaShanah); Shofar blowing (2nd day Rosh HaShanah); Public Yizkor service; Neilah (conclusion of Yom Kippur); family events

While the Shofar will be blown on Rosh HaShanah during our regular services, we also want to provide additional opportunities for those in our community to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the sound of the Shofar in person, even for those who are not able to attend the synagogue indoors in person. 

Tashlikh, at Pier A Park (Tuesday Sept 7, 5:30pm) will include the blowing of the Shofar. 

There will also be a 2nd day public Shofar service outdoors on Wednesday Sept 8 at 3pm in front of the United Synagogue of Hoboken building. 

In addition to the main indoor Yizkor service on Yom Kippur, there will also be (weather permitting) an outdoor public Yizkor service on the afternoon of Yom Kippur (time TBA) in front of the United Synagogue of Hoboken building.

We plan, weather permitting, to hold the Neilah service for the conclusion of Yom Kippur outdoors, on the street in front of our synagogue, as we did last year.  

Additionally, there will be some outdoor children's and family services and events on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur located at Hoboken's Church Square Park and Pier A Park.   A full schedule will be circulated soon.

At the current time, masks are required for all indoor services and events and are optional for all outdoor services and events. We will follow public health guidance at the time of the event.

We look forward to sharing the full High Holy Day service schedule with you soon, as well as ticket order forms and all additional information.   We join you in praying for a new year 5782 that brings us fulfillment and happiness and good health.

Shanah Tovah,

Your friends at the United Synagogue of Hoboken



Getting the most out of the High Holy Days at USH in this unique time

How to get the most out of the High Holy Days - in Hoboken or wherever you will be. See for the full brochure. 



Frequently Asked Questions about the High Holy Days at USH 2021

  Q: How will services be different this year? How will they be the same?

A: What’s different? …. We're offering services indoors, outdoors, and online.  Our main indoor services are open to those who are vaccinated and have submitted proof of vaccination.  See for policies and schedule, and see to register.  

And ... as hard as it may be to remember, in our long history, the Jewish people has managed to celebrate Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur under circumstances much more adverse than this (and even more adverse than the High Holy Days of 2020).  This year, as every year in our congregation’s 115-year history, our community will come together and stand before God and resolve to do whatever we can to make next year a better year. Our words and melodies this year will echo words and melodies from our people’s past, while also addressing issues of relevance to today.  Whether you are joining us online or in person, indoors or outdoors, or celebrating the holiday on your own at home, we hope to give you support to have a meaningful High Holy Day experience.

Q: Attending services on the computer just sounds weird and unspiritual.  How can I make it a meaningful experience?

A: It’s a good question - and it’s a huge challenge.  But if you determine that this is the best option for you, you can make it happen if you want to.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Avoid multitasking.  Someone who attends services in person is “all in” and is not involved in other activities, and we recommend that you resist the temptation to do other things with your computer at the same time.  The next several suggestions are ways to help you to feel you’re “all in” and having an actual high holy day experience. 
  • Designate a special location in your home where you will access services -- we could call it your mikdash me’at  מקדש מעט (mini-sanctuary) in your home.  Here’s Rabbi Elyse Goldstein’s suggestion for a ritual to designate and sanctify the space in your home where you will participate in High Holy Day services.
  • If you can, sit back from the screen, or broadcast the image from the computer to a large screen TV.  Turn off the various pings and alerts that our computers are likely to use to demand our attention. Gather others in your family to experience the holiday together. 
  • Some of us will use the computer only if we can pre-set it before the holiday begins; here are some instructions about how to do this from my colleague Rabbi Sam Blustin.
  • Getting dressed up for a special occasion often helps us to feel different and special.  Even though others will not see (most of) you, considering getting dressed up as if you were going to the synagogue.
  • Wear a Talit if you have one.
  • Consider using a physical Mahzor - contact the office to borrow (or maybe you still have one from last year...)   And feel free to look through the entire Mahzor and not just to stay at the page we happen to be on!  (You also have the option to request to use an e-book version of the Mahzor if that is your preference.)  
Q: What else can I do to make these days special and meaningful? 

Every year, we get out of the High Holy Day experience what we put into it.  This is all the more true this year.  Here are some of our recommendations: 

  • Check out these web sites which are designed to help people to enhance their High Holy Day experiences: 
  • -- Sign up and they’ll email you a question each day, for the 10 days between Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur. You then respond with your answers -- and next year at this time, your answers will get emailed back to you.
  • For kids: See the AMAZING High Holy Day guide from PJ Library, “HIgh Holidays at Home,”, created just for this year. It’s full of stories, crafts, music, recipes, and other suggestions. Lots of material that’s great for adults too. You won’t be disappointed!
  •, curated by Craig Taubman, has lots of brief inspirational quotations for the High Holy Day season (you can sign up to get one emailed to you every day, or review the selections from the last several years)
  • is always a great place to go to start to learn about any Jewish topic, including the High Holy Days and their observances.

 Q:  What’s the point of fasting anyway?

A:  Here are a few answers:  (1) Through the discomfort of fasting, we vividly express that we are conscious of the points of failure in our lives and that we regret our shortcomings.   (2) Fasting is a turning from material to spiritual concerns.  Fasting for one day helps us to concentrate on the concerns of the spirit, so that we might better understand the proper role of material things in our lives during the rest of the year.  (3) Fasting makes us more sensitive to the plight of people around the world who are hungry and prompts us to assist them.  While you might find it more difficult to fast while at home, since you’ll have more ready access to food and drink, we encourage you to try and fast even in these circumstances.  This is one way in which we can all still feel connected to our Jewish community while being forced to remain physically distant.  (Note that people for whom fasting would be medically unsafe are instructed by Jewish law NOT to fast.) 

Q: How can I put the values of the High Holy Days into action to make our world better? 

Check out, and/or, for a variety of volunteer opportunities at this time of year, supporting our community and our various partner organizations that care for the neediest people in our region.  You’ll find volunteer opportunities and donation opportunities for the Hoboken Shelter, the Hoboken Emergency Food Pantry, and Welcome Home Jersey City’s programs for immigrants and refugees, among other organizations. 

Q:  Do I really need to register for online services?

Never in the history of our collective lives have we had a situation like this in which the safety and health of our community requires that we remain physically distant during these most sacred services.  While you do not need to be a paid synagogue member to participate in services online this year, we ask that you register for services in order to receive the online links.  We hope that you’ll also make a donation to support the ongoing activities of USH; our congregation has been able to do its holy work in Hoboken for the last 115 years only because the community has been generous in offering its support.

We encourage you to check back to this website frequently for updates.

We are sad that not all of us will be able to gather together in the sanctuary this year.    We can rejoice in knowing that eventually, when this challenge has passed, we will be able to join together, in person, in prayer and community.  Until then, best wishes to our entire congregation for a happy, healthy and sweet New Year!


Wed, March 29 2023 7 Nisan 5783