The High Holidays take us on a powerful journey from grief, through struggle, then to joy, celebration, and liberation. Join the New Synagogue Project on this journey for our inaugural High Holidays as we begin the Jewish New Year together. We are building a community that is spiritually vibrant, radically inclusive, and reflects our vision for a world of justice, equity, and liberation and we want you to be a part of it! Our community is being created by and for families with kids, couples and single people, queer and trans people, interfaith families, Jews of color and white Jews, religious, secular, and atheist Jews, and anyone interested in exploring and experiencing Jewish life.
This year in particular it feels like our world is breaking apart. And yet Leonard Cohen reminds us that “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” How can we find the light through the cracks? How we can open our hearts? How can we move together through the open gates? We’ll explore these questions and more as we reroot ourselves in tradition and reroute ourselves in a new direction for the coming year.
There will spirited singing, delicious food, community, introspection, and fun! Here is what we’re planning:
Rosh HaShanah Dinner, September 9th, hosted in community members’ homes
Rosh HaShanah Jews of Color Dinner, September 9th, details TBD
Rosh HaShanah Services, September 10th, 9:30 AM followed by a kiddush at 1:00 PM
Israel Metropolitan CME Church, 557 Randolph St NW, Washington, DC 20011
Kol Nidre Services, September 18th, 6:45 PM
Israel Metropolitan CME Church, 557 Randolph St NW, Washington, DC 20011
Yom Kippur Afternoon Programming, September 19th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
First Baptist Church, 712 Randolph St NW, Washington, DC 20011
Option One: Movement and Meditation
Join us for a calm, introspective space filled with simple movement and yoga stretching; meditation and breathing exercises; and music.
Option Two: Reflecting on 5778: A Writing/Reflecting Open Mic Space
This will be a communal space for us to reflect/write and share stories from the last year. Participants will have a chance to write/reflect in the space and then share in a supportive open mic environment! These reflections can be personal or more broad, joyful or painful. We welcome in the cracks as well as the light. This is open to everyone and only those who would like to will be asked to share their writing/reflection.
Option Three: Queer Talmud Study!
[NOTE: Registration for Queer Talmud Study is now closed, as we've reached capacity!]
Dive deep into the spiritual practice of Talmud study, SVARA-style: hardcore, queer, and radically inclusive! We'll learn a complete Talmud text, start to finish, to memorization and with deep and total ownership. This bet midrash is an opportunity to build community, explore the radical roots of the Jewish tradition, and have lots of subversive fun along the way!
In this three-hour session we'll be learning a text that relates to themes of Yom Kippur: teshuva (forgiveness) and tochecha (rebuke), our ethical and social responsibilities, what kind of person the Jewish tradition wants us to be, what kind of people we want to be, how the ancient rabbis dealt with the slippery and messy reality of human relationships, and how the complexity of their world invites us to consider the complexity of our own world.
All you need is the ability to decode your alef-bet (i.e. sound out your Hebrew letters), and if you don't feel quite there yet, click here for opportunities to learn. All identities and levels of familiarity with text study are welcome.
You'll be learning with Rabbi Mónica Gomery, Associate Director and faculty member at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva. SVARA is a nation-wide learning community where queer people—those with the deep insight that comes from being marginalized in our society, through experiences of sexuality, gender expression, race, class, disability, etc ―are recognized as the visionary and prophetic voices of our Jewish tradition. We are excited to have Rabbi Mó as a teacher-in-residence and tefilah (prayer) leader with us for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
NSP’s doors are open to everyone, and this is also true for High Holiday services, where no ticket is required. While we don’t have tickets, advance registration is appreciated and strongly encouraged! Membership guarantees a spot at services. We hope you will consider joining the community!
If you're able, we deeply appreciate any financial contributions. This helps to offset our costs for space, labor, materials, and a number of other expenses - and supports the longevity of our community. We estimate the actual cost of our High Holidays programs to be $100 per individual.
If you’re able to give, please consider a gift on a sliding scale of $360, $180, $72, $54, $36, or $18. After completing this registration form, please donate here. Thank you for playing your part in making these services possible!
Additionally, we hope you will consider joining NSP as a founding member! If you do plan to join, any donation at that time will also serve to support High Holidays at NSP.
Rabbi Joseph Berman is the spiritual leader of the New Synagogue Project. He grew up outside Kansas City and received his Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. A Wexner graduate fellow, Rabbi Joseph was ordained in 2010 by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, an unaffiliated and pluralistic seminary in Boston. Following ordination, he served for five years as the Rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Revere, Massachusetts. He has also worked as a farmer, chaplain, and community organizer and is the co-founder of Ruach Guild, a skill development and support group for activists who provide spiritual care to social justice movements and organizations. Rabbi Joseph currently works for justice and equality for Palestinians and Israelis as the Manager of Government Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy for Jewish Voice Peace. He is excited to be following his dream of helping to build a spiritually vibrant, liberation focused synagogue.
Rabbi Mónica Gomery is thrilled to be joining NSP for the high holidays! Mónica currently lives in Chicago building queer Jewish community as Associate Director and faculty member of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, and is on the founding leadership team of Let My People Sing! In her work as a rabbi, Mónica is passionate about supporting people who have been denied access to, disconnected from, and marginalized by ancient and ancestral spiritual traditions to gain access to these traditions as a resource for empowerment and transformation in their lives, so that they can become vessels for healing and justice in the world. She is honored and grateful to get to do this work at the first-ever queer yeshiva in history! Mónica grew up in a Venezuelan Jewish household both in Boston and Caracas and received ordination from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in June 2017. Before moving to Chicago she served as a prison chaplain, a geriatric chaplain, and an educator and prayer leader at numerous other Jewish institutions and organizations. She is also a published poet, a tante to some beloved kids, and a lover of the beach.