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High Holy Days

High Holy Day services at Temple Beth Israel are open to everyone. Guests are asked to contact the temple office for information about attending these services and supporting our congregation.

The Jewish calendar provides us with many opportunities to observe important holy days with special services. Worshiping together with family and friends is important for our community.

High Holy Day services (Selichot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur) at Temple Beth Israel are open to everyone. Guests are asked to contact the temple office for information about attending these services and supporting our congregation.

We also commemorate Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and celebrate Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israel’s Independence Day) as a community, engaging the members of Ohev Sholom Congregation, the York JCC, Jewish Family Services, members of the York College Hillel program, and our friends throughout York County. And we are active in the leadership of the annual York Interfaith Thanksgiving Service each November.


Selichot is the traditional entry point to the High Holy Day season. During this brief evening service, we sit together in our dimly lit sanctuary, hear the stirring melodies of the season for the first time, and begin to consider the year that has nearly passed. Our prayers of penitence are offered before God, and we share in the responsibilities of improving our own lives, the lives of our community, and the life of the world in which we live.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first day of the Hebrew month, Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, "head of the year" or "first of the year," and is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah services at Temple Beth Israel are held in the evening, beginning at 8:00pm, and the following morning beginning at 10:00am.

Morning services are followed by our Rosh Hashanah Family Service, an opportunity to welcome families with younger children into the sanctuary for a special New Year service appropriate for ages 3-11. Worship includes the theme of celebrating the New Year, as well as either an activity or discussion lead by the Rabbi.

On Rosh Hashanah afternoon, our congregation gathers at a local stream for Tashlich, where we cast our sins upon the water to be carried away, in keeping with the ancient Biblical custom.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is considered by many to be the most important holy day of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will still refrain from work, fast, and attend services on this special day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. Services at Temple Beth Israel are held in the evening beginning at 8:00 PM with our Kol Nidrei worship and continue the following morning beginning at 10:00 AM. Yom Kippur services continue throughout the day, including a Family Service, Afternoon service, Yizkor (memorial) service, and N'ilah (concluding) service. Our worship day concludes around 6:00 PM.

All are invited to join together following our Concluding service for our much-anticipated community Break-Fast.


Holidays & Festivals



During the Sukkot season, our religious school students and adult volunteers construct a community-sized sukkah in the grassy courtyard of our property. Students and teachers assemble to decorate the sukkah and celebrate with lulav and etrog.

On the eve of Sukkot, all are welcome to join us in worship as we celebrate this harvest festival in our sanctuary. All in attendance are given the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of lulav and etrog during the service, which also serves as an opportunity to welcome our newest school students in grades 2+.

Simchat Torah

Always a highlight of our calendar at TBI, the evening of Simchat Torah is filled with exuberant celebration as we rejoice with dancing and singing in honor of the cycle of reading the Torah. Following the Consecration of our youngest school students (and the presentation of their very own mini-Torah scrolls), we dance and sing into our social hall where the Torah is completely unrolled through the careful and anxious fingers of all in attendance. After sharing in a brief lesson about the Torah, everyone shares in the Aliyah blessings and listens to the last & first verses of the Torah chanted for all to enjoy. The evening concludes with Kiddush and Motzi in the Sukkah.



Chanukah (no matter how you spell it!) is always a time of great fun and celebration at TBI. All are invited to bring their favorite family-Chanukiah to the temple on the Shabbat evening that falls during the 8-day Festival of Lights. As a community, we share in singing traditional and modern Chanukah songs, share in chanting the blessings, and light the Chanukah candles together.

Tu b’Shevat

The annual “birthday for the trees” is a wonderful reminder – usually in the bitter cold of winter – that spring is on its way. We are reminded that although we may still face freezing temperatures, and the buds are still a few months away, trees in Israel are just waking up from their dormancy and life is returning to the once-hibernating earth in Eretz Yisrael.


At our annual Purim Extravaganza, our religious school students and faculty take through a musical tour of the story of Purim through parodied music and comical narrative. All students and teachers participate in this huge crowd-pleasure, which also includes the chanting of selected sections of the Megillah and the chance to enjoy delicious homemade hamentashen.


Our congregation joins together with family and friends in the social hall of the congregation to share in our annual 2nd Night Passover Seder. This entertaining and lively retelling of the Passover story from the tradition of Book of Exodus and the Haggadah, is an opportunity to share in the history of the Israelites and the Jewish people. A delicious, catered dinner is enjoyed by all.


As we celebrate the giving of God’s Laws at Mt. Sinai, we also celebrate the accomplishments of our most senior religious school students with the ceremony of Confirmation. Our 10th Grade students ascend the bima as a class, lead us in worship, and share with us their thoughts about their connection to Judaism, the temple, and the Jewish People. We honor them with our presence, as they honor us with theirs.

Wed, October 5 2022 10 Tishrei 5783