For the very first time, Jews can sit in the comfort of their own homes and experience on television the variety of Jewish traditions that reflect the best of American Jewish pluralism.

For these High Holidays, JBS will be televising Reform, Orthodox and Conservative services to hundreds of thousands of viewers throughout America.

“Whichever style of service is meaningful to our viewers,’ explained JBS President Rabbi Mark S. Golub, “they will find it on JBS.”

“This is especially important this year during Covid-19,” added Rabbi Golub, “when most people are unable to attend a synagogue in person. And it is most important to those who are elderly or ill and would have no other way to be part of the Jewish community on the High Holidays.”

JBS, a non-profit educational channel with the tag “celebrating all things Jewish,” has for many years been televising Shabbat and Holiday services from Central Synagogue in Manhattan, one of America’s leading Reform congregations led by Rabbi Angela Buchdahl.

Earlier this year, Rabbi Marc Schneier, founding rabbi of the celebrated Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, New York, broke new ground in the Orthodox world when he began televising Kabbalat Shabbat services on JBS prior to the formal start of Shabbat. This was the first time an Orthodox synagogue had televised any service.

The Kabbalat Shabbat services proved so successful and popular among JBS viewers, Rabbi Schneier now pre-records Shabbat services with Cantor Netanel Hershtik and the Hampton Synagogue Choir led by Maestro Izchak Haimov. Similarly for the High Holidays, JBS will be televising pre-recorded services from the Hampton Synagogue.

And for these High Holidays, JBS will also be televising services from one of Conservative Judaism’s foremost synagogues, Sinai Temple of Los Angeles. Led by Rabbi David Wolpe, JBS will now be featuring Judaism from both the East and West coasts.

Most Jews usually attend services of one movement – Reform, Conservative or Orthodox. On these High Holidays, JBS will make it possible for Jews to experience services of every movement. It is a rare opportunity for Jews to grow in their appreciation for the beauty and meaning in other forms of Judaism.

Below is a schedule of High Holiday services by synagogue, as well as a list of television providers carrying the JBS channel.

9:15pm EDT – Reform Slichot Service from Central Synagogue
10:30pm EDT – Orthodox Slichot Service from The Hampton Synagogue
6:00pm EDT –Reform Erev Rosh HaShanah Service from Central Synagogue
7:30pm EDT - Orthodox Erev Rosh HaShanah Service from The Hampton Synagogue
10:00pm EDT - Conservative Erev Rosh Hashanah Service from Sinai Temple
9:00am EDT - Orthodox Rosh Hashanah Morning Service from The Hampton Synagogue
10:30am EDT - Reform Rosh Hashanah Morning Service from Central Synagogue
2:00pm EDT - Reform Rosh Hashanah Family Service Central Synagogue
7:30pm EDT - Orthodox Rosh Hashanah Evening Service from The Hampton Synagogue
9:00am EDT - Orthodox Rosh Hashanah 2nd Day Service from The Hampton Synagogue
10:30am EDT - Reform Rosh Hashanah 2nd Day Service from Central Synagogue
6:30pm EDT - Orthodox Kol Nidre Service from The Hampton Synagogue
8:00pm EDT - Reform Kol Nidre Service from Central Synagogue
9:30pm EDT - Conservative Kol Nidre Service from Sinai Temple
9:00am EDT - Orthodox Yom Kippur Service from The Hampton Synagogue
10:30am EDT - Reform Yom Kippur Services from Central Synagogue
2:00pm EDT - Conservative Yom Kippur Services from Sinai Temple
5:00pm EDT - Reform Yizkor-Niloh Service from Central Synagogue
6:00pm EDT - Orthodox Yizkor-Niloh Services from The Hampton Synagogue

DIRECTV on CH 388 Nationally
Spectrum on Spectrum Silver & Gold Packages
Greater NYC Area CH 219 HD
Fairfield County, CT CH 830 HD
Greater Los Angeles Area CH 219 HD or CH 879 HD
Cleveland, Canton & Akron CH 366 HD or CH 1366 HD
Dallas CH 219 HD
Fort Worth CH 873 HD
Orlando, Daytona & Melbourne CH 1223 HD
Tampa, St. Petersburg & Sarasota  CH 1223 HD
St. Louis CH 717 HD
Verizon Fios on CH 798 HD
Optimum on CH 138
Atlantic Broadband CH 168 in Miami Beach & CH 76 in Maine and New Hampshire
Blue Ridge on CH 215
Blue Stream TV on Digital Plus CH 110
Buckeye Broadband on Ch 164 in Toledo and Sandusky.
CenturyLink® Prism™on CH 590 (SD) and CH 1590 (HD)
Google Fiber TV on CH 459
Hotwire on CH 269 in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina
RCN on CH 269 in Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia; on CH 334 in Lehigh Valley, PA.
Service Electric Cable TV CH 127 in Lehigh Valley & Wilkes Barre, PA & Western NJ

Streaming Services providing JBS
Apple TV
Fire TV Search for the JBS app
ROKU Streaming Player to your TV : "Educational" in the Channel Store
www.jbstv.org on web browser capable TVs, iPad, iPhone, tablets and smart phones
Click on "Watch JBS Live"


Abigail Pogrebin

G[-]d talk is often scarce in Jewish communities, and it's especially difficult to think about how -- or even whether -- we can relate to G[-]d during this particular Elul. Many of us are anticipating High Holidays physically separated from our communities while surrounded by fires, storms, and disease.

As part of her Still Small Voice project at the Forward, Abigail Pogrebin spoke to Yehuda Kurtzer about ways in which we can think about G[-]d at this moment in history. They discuss their own experiences and Yehuda's suggestion that we should model our struggles to seek the truth, not our certainties about it. Read more of their conversation, Can We Be Pious and Ambivalent?

As a follow-up to that conversation, Abigail joined Yehuda for a High Holiday episode of the Identity/Crisis podcast, The Loneliness of Jewish Theology. They talk about the insights and contradictions of contemporary Jewish beliefs in G[-]d, gleaned from conversations from the Still Small Voice project. With humility and sensitivity, not to mention humor, Yehuda and Abigail discuss why and how American Jews are thinking about G[-]d.


LOS ANGELES – Teachers from Yeshiva Ketana of Los Angeles are taking part in an elite training program to better address the social and emotional needs of their students whose academic year will start off differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hidden Sparks, a nonprofit dedicated to training teachers and providing them with the tools to support struggling students in mainstream Jewish day schools, is conducting the training, which focuses on Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and is helping teachers establish classrooms routines which could be easily transitioned online if local authorities and administrators deem it necessary for the school to move to a virtual learning model. The program will take place over several months.

As part of the training, Hidden Sparks SEL Coach Lily Howard Scott is working with teachers in Yeshiva Ketana of Los Angeles during the back-to-school season to help them prepare their students for success in the coming year. The program’s goals are to empower teachers with strategies to support students’ emotional responses to the pandemic and to train teachers on how to establish new classroom routines and practices that boost students sense of connection, engagement and investment at school.

Lily Howard Scott, MS, is a teacher as well as a curriculum developer. Her work – both written and video-based – has been used in graduate school programs and professional development seminars around the country. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and Bank Street College of Education.

“Research shows that the way students feel in the classroom is inextricably linked to how well they perform educationally, and that their social and emotional wellbeing is tethered to their academic wellbeing,” Hidden Sparks Executive Director Debbie Niderberg said. “We’re thrilled that Lily is guiding our educators on how to welcome their students back to school and how to talk about pandemic. Given that students are most successful when they feel connected to and a sense of belonging in their classes, she is also helping teachers to nurture caring and connected classrooms for all pupils.”

The workshops will include strategies for both virtual and in-person classrooms. Throughout the months of August and September, Lily Howard Scott met virtually with the faculty team and will continue to consult with and further train educators based on the needs of their specific students and classrooms.

Founded in 2006, Hidden Sparks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teachers and schools educate struggling learners. Through professional development programs and on-site coaching for teachers, it helps educators deepen their understanding of learning and approaches for teaching all kinds of learners, particularly those who struggle. With 110 participating day schools and a total of 3,875 educators trained by the Hidden Sparks curriculum, the organization has impacted a total of 47,450 students since its inception. 


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For many Jewish youths around the world, the High Holidays are observed by following rituals and traditions that were taught to them by their family and rabbis. Some Jewish children may learn conservative traditions, while others may learn orthodox, reform, secular or other. When it comes right down to it, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur may seem all about tradition, yet the Days of Awe are much more.

In this article, Director of the Jewish Studies Institute, a division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Ari Hier sheds some light on the significance of the High Holy Days.  Traditionally, for both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews, one highlight of the High Holidays is sitting around a loud, lively dinner table with their parents, cousins, grandparents and friends. During this holiday meal, a special Kiddish is recited over red wine or grape juice emphasizing the beginning of creation and the day of remembrance. While twisted or braided Challah is a staple for Shabbat, on Rosh Hashanah we eat round Challah reflecting the cyclical nature of the year and our hope that our lives will continue without end. On Rosh Hashanah, not only is the food specific to the holiday, but also the finest dishes and glasses are used for the occasion. The menu may consist of tender brisket, simmering in cranberry sauce with little red potatoes, turkey with gravy to top and matzo ball soup filled with noodles, chicken and carrots. Of course, a Rosh Hashanah meal would not be complete without mention of the apples and honey. We eat this specific fruit and preserve to ensure a "sweet and happy New Year." 

It is also a time when synagogues are filled to capacity. However, seldom do we stop and ask ourselves the why of it all. Why do we as a family come together for this special holiday? Why do we eat certain foods on this holiday? Why do we attend temple and ask forgiveness? Why is the shofar blown?

We are told by the rabbis that by following the paths of Teshuvah, repentance, Tfiloh, prayer and Tzedakah, charity, we can strive to mitigate G-d's decree. But only after we have truly realized our wrongdoings can we say that we want to change for the better. We want to and therefore pray to be pure, a clean slate if you will, and ask G-d for forgiveness.

People who live in a post modernistic society tend to believe that punishment is out of vogue, and this idea that I will have to stand in judgment, in front of G-d, for the type of spouse I was, or the type of teacher I was, or student or person, is not sophisticated, Rabbi Hier said in a recent interview with The Jewish Observer. But, he continued, they know deep down that there is still something gnawing at them. Rosh Hashanah unleashes a power that forces you to face who and what you have become. Your own actions create consequences, and they are real.  This one time out of the year is when we have to deal with that and face repercussions and reality, he said. "It’s about seeing where I’m going and what I’ve become."

With the first of Elul as the starting date (Elul is the Hebrew month preceding Rosh Hashanah which is usually September), G-d gives us plenty of time to repent for our wrongdoings and sins to ensure a positive verdict. According to Celebration: The Book of Jewish Festivals, Yossi Prager noted that 30 days before Rosh Hashanah, on the first day of the month of Elul, many Sephardic Jews rise before dawn every morning to recite the selichot, prayers of repentance. Ashkenazic Jews begin saying selichot a week before Rosh Hashanah.

Biblically, Jews are to celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the first day of Tishrei. However, in the galut a second day is added -- although the first two days of Tishrei were not called Rosh Hashanah until Talmudic times. The reason is that festivals were common among pagan religions, therefore it was not customary to hold large celebrations around an autumn new year. 

Sara Shendelman and Dr. Avram Davis suggest in Traditions: The Complete Book of Prayers, Rituals and Blessing for Every Jewish Home that Rosh Hashanah in the Torah was originally called Yom Teruah, which literally means the Day of Sounding the Shofar. By the fourth century B.C.E., when Jews returned from Babylonian exile to build the Second Temple, Rosh Hashanah was well instituted.

The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Ten Days of Repentance, or the Days of Awe. These particular days offer a chance for spiritual renewal. "These are 10 days of reality to take a look at yourself ... and get our acts together, even if just for 10 days," Rabbi Hier explained. 

It seems, the prominent thought on everyone’s mind during the final day of judgment is the fasting. Just making it through the day without eating, one almost feels like a better Jew. But there is meaning behind why we fast and what we need to learn from that experience. According to Rabbi Hier, G-d is asking us to take a step back from life and remember what is important. Along with not eating, Judaic law states that similar to Rosh Hashanah, we do not work. Traditionally, our clothes must be white symbolizing a return to a pure state of being.

The High Holidays are full of traditions and rituals that are universally symbolic of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For many Jews worldwide, going to Shul, or temple, becomes one of the most important aspects of the High Holidays. "According to traditional Judaism, G-d is not equally accessible in all places," Hier said, adding that Jews should go to temple in order to access G-d in a meaningful way. A special Siddur, called a Machzor, is used in temple for the recitation of prayers and liturgy during the High Holidays and is usually presented to Jewish young adults at their bar or bat mitzvah. This special prayer book contains relevant Torah readings and Tfilot, prayers, for both days. The Machzor consists of piyutim, liturgical poems, and Selichot, prayers for forgiveness. 

Rabbi Abraham B. Witty and Rachel J. Witty, authors of Exploring Jewish Tradition, explain that in antiquity all prayers were recited from memory. Subsequently, early prayer books set down groups of prayers and the laws for reciting them. Later editions included interpretations and textual references.

As the prayer book evolved, it became more comprehensive, providing descriptions and explanations about religious observations for the entire year. Witty and Witty explored history to find that the piyutim dates back to the seventh or eighth centuries. Over several centuries, almost 1,000 different poets were known to have written these so-called synagogue poems. By the late 1500s the popularity of this form of poetry declined, and by the late 1700s, piyutim had virtually disappeared but were added back due to their popularity amongst Jewry.

 Over the course of the two days of Rosh Hashanah, there are specific Torah portions that are read to the congregation. On one of the days, we read the Torah portion of the binding of Isaac, Rabbi Hier said.

Shendelman and Davis add the Torah reading chosen at synagogue for Rosh Hashanah is not the story of creation (Gen. 1: 1) but the stories of the birth of Isaac and the birth of Samuel -- both accounts telling of new life from barrenness.

On Rosh Hashanah, the most important prayer within the Jewish liturgy is known as the 18 blessings, the Shemoneh Esrei. (19, since one blessing was added.) "You stand and talk directly to G-d, no one else," Rabbi Hier explained. He added, that back in antiquity, Yom Kippur, more so than Rosh Hashanah, was an extremely Holy Day where the High Priest would go into the Western most room of the sanctuary, considered G-d’s most private chamber, and offer incense to pray for his people.

"The reason G-d gave animal sacrifices is because if He had not given the people that at the time, they wouldn’t have followed the religion -- that’s the way they were. Everyone was into animal sacrifices. If G-d would have just offered them books the way we do it nowadays with prayer and readings, they wouldn’t have gotten into it," Rabbi Hier explained.

In Celebration – The Book of Jewish Festivals, Prager adds insight into Yom Kippur service in the Solomonic days of the First Temple. "Historically, only on this day, the holiest day, could the High Priest enter the Holy of Holies, to plead for his people. Five times the High Priest would purify himself in the ritual bath; five times he would change his priestly clothes. An unworthy High Priest would be struck dead upon entering the room. (A rope was tied tautly around his waist; should it go limp, he would be pulled out.) Another ritual of Yom Kippur sacrifice, Prager describes, is derived from Leviticus 16. "Two similar goats were set aside, and the High Priest drew lots to decide their destinies. One goat he sacrificed in the Temple; the other -- the scapegoat -- was led into the wilderness by a special messenger and thrown over a cliff. The scapegoat symbolically represented the people of Israel. Its purpose: to drive the Jewish nation to repent. While the First Temple stood, a red ribbon was tied around the scapegoat’s neck; if the Jews had repented, it would miraculously turn snow-white -- a divine sign of forgiveness."

The conclusion of the Yom Kippur service that invariably gets the Jewish community’s attention is the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn -- one of the most discernible and eminent traditions of the High Holidays.

The origin and meaning of the shofar goes back to Talmudic times when the patriarch Abraham offered his only son, Isaac, to G-d as proof of his loyalty to Him. Seeing his devotion and willingness to sacrifice Isaac, G-d made a ram appear and be killed in place of Isaac. (According to Judaic law, this sacrifice is believed to have occurred on the first of Tishrei.)

First blown at Mount Sinai when the Torah was revealed to Israel, the shofar illustrates the power of the moment when repentance is still possible in the eyes of G-d. Its sounds Tekiah (one long blast), Shevarim (three short blasts), and Teruah (nine staccato blasts) signify a time of new beginnings for our family, our community and all of Jewry.

The shofar is a reminder of the animal that was sacrificed in place of Isaac, and the sounds are received as a wake up call for Jews to remember G-d and His position in our lives: first. The conclusion of Yom Kippur, the breaking of the fast, traditionally consists of dairy products because meats and poultry are harder to digest.

The ten Penitential Days are the most solemn of the Jewish calendar.
Abramovitz & Silverman, Jewish Family & Life, (1997).
Hier, Ari (Rabbi), Director of the Jewish Studies Institute, a division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Prager, Yossi, According to Celebration: The Book of Jewish Festivals (1987).
Shendelman, Sara and Dr. Avram Davis, Traditions: The Complete Book of Prayers, Rituals and Blessing for Every Jewish Home, (1998).
Witty, Rabbi Abraham B. and Rachel J. Witty, Exploring Jewish Tradition (2000).


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Los Angeles


     Elul, 5780 - Tishrei, 5781                                 Sept.14 - Oct. 11, 2020 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--642nd Web Ed.