Sign In Forgot Password

Shana Tova שנה טובה

SELICHOT Saturday night, September 12

ROSH HASHANAH Shabbat, September 19, and Sunday, September 20

KOL NIDRE Sunday night, September 27

YOM KIPPUR Monday, September 28

SUKKOT Shabbat, October 3, and Sunday, October 4

SHMINI ATZERET Shabbat, October10

SIMCHAT TORAH Sunday, October 11

Here is all the information you'll need to get ready for the High Holidays at Kesher this year!

Due to the pandemic, this year's activities will look very different than in the past. However, we remain committed to ensuring a meaningful, warm, and uplifting experience for the entire community.  Throughout Tishrei and the chagim, maintaining the safety and health of everyone is our priority.  Should it become necessary, appropriate modifications will be made. 
This page will remain updated will the most recent information.

Quick Links:


High Holidays and COVID


Purchase High Holiday Seats


Full High Holiday Calendar


Resources for At Home Tefilla


Education & Shiurim


Chesed Opportunities

  Youth Programing   Purchase Lulav & Etrog  

High Holidays and COVID

Watch a special message from Rabbi Shafner regarding the High Holidays this year!

Safety Protocols in Effect for All High Holiday Services

Shul leadership has worked diligently to find as many venues as possible that would increase our capacity for attendees, be safe in the rain, and also allow us to securely control both access and privacy. We have been able to secure two additional spaces for our High Holiday services this year.

The three spaces are as follows:

Kesher Israel Main Sanctuary
Westin Courtyard (2350 M St. NW)
Fairmont Ballroom (2401 M St. NW)
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Yom Kippur Only
Due to occupancy limits and the size of our facility, the Kesher Social Hall will not be used for High Holiday services this year Outdoor enclosed courtyard (separated from the street on all sides by the hotel building) with an overhead cover to protect from the elements Large indoor ballroom
Maximum capacity of 40 seats Maximum capacity of 36 seats Maximum capacity of 88 seats





Due to increased capacity constraints and health concerns, all of our services this year will require pre-registration, including ticket purchasing for Rosh Hashanah morning and all of Yom Kippur. While we endeavor to provide a place to daven for as many as possible, we will be giving space and ticket preference to Kesher members.

Full masking and physical distancing measures will be enforced throughout High Holiday services in all locations.

All of our High Holiday services will be subject to our regular Kesher Israel Minyan Protocols, including restricting attendance for anyone experiencing symptoms of illness, who is subject to DC-mandated quarantine, or children below Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Services are also subject to cancellation or modification given changing medical circumstances.

Those who feel they are in an at-risk category should seek medical guidance before attending High Holiday services.

Our services this year will be abridged to limit the time spent congregating. Rabbi Shafner - in coordination with medical and halachic authorities - has worked to shorten the overall davening, which will exclude a sermon, many of the traditional piyutim, and congregational singing. This also includes adjustments to shofar blowing to ensure a safe and halachic opportunity to fulfill the Mitzvah.

In an effort to avoid communal sharing of Machzorim, we encourage everyone to bring their own Machzorim if available. We are working to safely provide non-communal Machzorim for all attendees who will need. Additional information on Machzor availability and access is coming soon.

In addition, we regret that this year we will be unable to provide babysitting or childcare services. We have done our best to space our davening options to accommodate parents who wish to split attendance.


Information for Rosh Hashanah (starts Friday night, September 18)

Rosh Hashanah morning services will be held at Kesher Sanctuary and in the Westin Courtyard.

In order to increase our capacity and allow for members of the same family to distribute childcare responsibilities, there will be a 7:00 AM and 10:00 AM minyan in both locations for a total capacity of 152 seats between the 4 services. We will not expand beyond the maximum capacity previously stated (40 for the Kesher Sanctuary and 36 for the Westin Courtyard). The seat purchase form will request your preference for which one you would like to attend, and we will do our utmost to accommodate everyone to the best of our ability.

All Rosh Hashanah Mincha and Maariv services will only be held in the Kesher Sanctuary. All Mincha/Maariv services will require pre-registration using our existing protocols (look for registration information in the SAP and Digest), as tickets are valid for morning services only.

In addition to shofar being blown during services, we are planning additional outdoor shofar blowings for the 2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah (1st day is Shabbat) at the following locations. Social distancing and masks will be required.

4:30pm Family Shofar Blowing (children welcome) with Rabbi Shafner. Southern end of Rose Park, N St & 27th
5:30pm Shofar Blowing with Larry Samuels. Behind Francis Stevens School, 2425 N St NW

Those who are homebound and would like to hear the shofar are encouraged to contact Rabbi Shafner directly as in years past.

The availability of services by venue for Rosh Hashanah morning services (both days) is:

7:00 AM - Kesher Sanctuary (Capacity of 40) 7:00 AM - Westin Courtyard (Capacity of 36)
10:00 AM - Kesher Santuary (Capacity of 40) 10:00 AM - Westin Courtyard (Capacity of 36)


Mincha/Maariv on both days will be held only in the  Kesher Sanctuary only (capacity 40).


Information for Yom Kippur (starts Sunday night, September 27)

All Yom Kippur services will be held concurrently in the Kesher Sanctuary, the Westin Courtyard, and the Fairmont Ballroom. A third location was added since the length of Yom Kippur services do not allow us to host back to back services in any location. All three locations will be utilized for all Yom Kippur services (Kol Nidre, Morning, and Mincha/Neilah), with a total capacity of 164 (128 indoors and 36 outdoors), and attendees will go to the same venue for each of the services.

The Kol Nidre prayer itself, in addition to three in-person minyamin, will be broadcast live at 3:00pm on Erev Yom Kippur.

We will also be collecting names for Yizkor from those who are not able to attend in-person so that their loved ones can be memoralized as part of the in-person Yizkor service. Please look out for this electronic collection as we get closer to Yom Kippur.

As with Rosh Hashanah, our services this year will be abridged to limit the time spent congregating. Rabbi Shafner - in coordination with medical and halachic authorities - has worked to shorten the overall davening, which will exclude a sermon, many of the traditional piyutim, and congregational singing.

The availability of services by venue for Yom Kippur services is:

Kol Nidre - Kesher Sanctuary (40) Kol Nidre - Westin Couryard (36) Kol Nidre - Fairmont (88)
9:00 AM Shacharit - Kesher Sanctuary (40) 9:00 AM Shacharit - Westin Courtyard (36) 9:00 AM Shacharit - Fairmont (88)
Mincha/Neilah - Kesher Sanctuary (40) Mincha/Neilah - Westin Courtayrd (36) Mincha/Neilah - Fairmont (88)

Purchase High Holiday Seats

Kesher Israel is pleased to continue offering seats for either both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur together or for each individual holiday.

Because of the pandemic and the need for social distancing, we will be hosting services at different times and at different venues, including a limited number of seats in an enclosed outdoor courtyard.  Seats for all services must be purchased in advance. 

All attendees will be required to abide by Kesher's return to minyan policies.

To purchase a seat, please visit our High Holiday Seats page.

Full High Holiday Calendar

The full schedule of services for Tishrei (Selichot through Simchat Torah) can be viewed here.

To access the shul's calendar of events, click here.

Resources for At-Home High Holiday Davening

For those who will be unable to join us this year for High Holiday services, Rabbi Shafner has prepared a comprehensive guide for at-home tefilla. 

The guides linked below provide detailed instructions for which parts of the service to recite or skip when davening at home, including page numbers in the Birnbaum, Koren, and Artscroll machzorim (Kesher uses the Birnbaum Machzor).

Click here to download the 5781 Rosh Hashanah At Home Tefilla Guide.

Click here to download the 5781 Yom Kippur At Home Tefilla Guide. 


Please see below for community Chesed opportunities in the coming weeks!

Pre-Rosh Hashanah Community-Wide Food Drive for Capital Kosher Pantry September 1 -14, 2020
Kesher is partnering with other local Jewish organizations to stock the shelves of Capital Kosher Pantry, the Greater Washington area's only Kosher pantry, catering to the food insecure in the Jewish community. Please visit our event site to learn more about how you can donate!

Education and Shiurim

Please see below for all of our planned classes and educational opportunities in the coming weeks!

Youth Programming

Kahoot Fun! 
Kesher Kids are invited to connect with Kesher friends and show off their New Year knowledge on a Rosh Hashanah Kahoot on Friday, Sept 18 at 12-12:30 pm at! Best for kids ages 5-10. 

Family Shofar Blowing
Don't miss the Family Shofar Blowing with Rabbi Shafner on Sunday, September 20 at 4:30 pm at Rose Park at N and 27th. (Masks and social distancing required.)

Lulav & Etrog Purchasing Information

Kesher Israel will be offering Lulav and Etrog sets for sale. The ordering deadline is Wednesday, September 23, with an early bird deadline of Rosh Hashanah. To place an order, click here.

Tue, May 11 2021 29 Iyyar 5781