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High Holy Day Worship

Beginning with Elul, the month of preparation, and concluding with the stirring sounds of the shofar, the High Holy Day season offers personal and communal journeys of self-awareness and change.

Schedule & Offerings

S’lichot begins the journey toward the unique beauty of High Holy Days, to focus our minds on penitence and preparation.

Rosh HaShanah

The Jewish new year ushers in a spiritual awakening to possibility and potential. A variety of services are available.

Monday, September 6

  • Rosh HaShanah Unplugged, 6:00 p.m.
    This innovative service features a joyful, creative, contemporary prayer experience, suitable for all ages, with unique musical additions to encourage singing and participation. [Sermon by Rabbi Oren Hayon]

Tuesday, September 7

  • Children’s Service (online-only), 9:00 a.m. (broadcast & available on-demand)
    Designed for children 8 and under and their families, this lively and fun service highlights the themes and rituals of the holiday. [Story by Rabbi Joshua Fixler]
  • New Orleans Rosh HaShanah Morning Service, 9:30 a.m. (in-person only)
    For more information on this informal experience for those evacuated to Houston due to the effects of Hurricane Ida, click here.
  • Morning Service, 10:30 a.m.
    This intergenerational service combines familiar music and prayers with beautiful liturgical writing and stirring poetry, along with full translation and transliteration of Hebrew texts. You’ll also experience an inspiring and engaging collection of music led by Cantor Rollin Simmons, with accompaniment on organ and piano. [Sermon by Rabbi Joshua Fixler]
  • Tashlich, 5:00 p.m.
    We set aside some time as Rosh HaShanah concludes to gather at Brays Bayou across from the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center and symbolically cast our sins into the water while singing and reflecting together.

Shabbat Shuvah

Friday, September 10, 6:00 p.m.
Hear a message of inspiration to deepen your spiritual and moral explorations on this very special Shabbat between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

Click here to watch.

Outdoor High Holy Day Family Experience

Sunday, September 12
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location: 6001 Fannin St.

To complement our High Holy Day Children’s Services, which this year will be on streaming video, families with children in 2nd grade or younger are invited to join Emanu El clergy and staff for an in-person outdoor experience featuring a PJ Library Story Walk™. We will be gathering in the Fannin Pavilion at Hermann Park for this very special event. Arrive at your convenience to enjoy a guided walk with activities, an apples and honey snack, and more! This program is free of charge and open to the community; however, space is limited and advance registration is required.

**This event has reached capacity, and registration is now closed.


Cemetery Service

Sunday, September 12
5:00 p.m.
Location: 8431 Bissonnet St.

We invite all to join together in the beautiful, serene surroundings of Emanu El Memorial Park to remember their dear ones during the High Holy Day season.

[Memorial Sermon by Rabbi Oren Hayon]

Yom Kippur

These services, on the holiest night of the year, will feature the contemplative prayers and stirring music unique to this holiday. They will be accompanied by Ann Frohbieter on organ and our professional choir and include the poignant setting of Kol Nidre played by Brinton Smith, Principal Cellist of the Houston Symphony.

[Sermon by Rabbi Oren Hayon]

Wednesday, September 15

  • Kol Nidre First Service, 6:00 p.m.
  • Kol Nidre Second Service, 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 16

  • Children’s Service (online-only), 9:00 a.m. (broadcast & available on-demand)
    Designed for children 8 and under and their families, this service offers engaging music, prayers and stories that will encourage families to reflect on how we can be our best selves. [Story by Rabbi Oren Hayon]
  • Morning Service, 10:30 a.m.
    This service will be led by our clergy, accompanied by Ann Frohbeiter on organ and our professional choir. Through stirring music and meaningful prayer, we will reflect on the themes of repentance and forgiveness. [Sermon by Rabbi Pamela Silk]
  • Afternoon Experience, 12:45 p.m.
    What does it mean to be a part of sacred community? In what ways do we value the experiences of people who are different from us? How can we ensure that every person in our congregation is seen, included, and valued? Join us for an engaging afternoon experience, delving into these urgent questions. Using ancient texts and modern testimonies we will explore and celebrate the holy diversity of our Emanu El community.
  • Healing & Wholeness, 3:15 p.m.
    Find restoration and strength through poetry, song and prayer. [Led by Cantor Rollin Simmons & Rabbi Pamela Silk]
  • Yizkor, 4:30 p.m.
    Through meaningful readings and soul-stirring music, we will journey through varied expressions of grief and memory. [Sermon by Rabbi Roy Walter]
  • N’ilah/Havdalah Experience, 5:30 p.m.
    We will bring our holidays to a close with the sweetness of Havdalah, the separation between the penitential season and the promising new year ahead.


Recorded Services
General Information
COVID/Mask Policy

In alignment with our reopening policy, we are asking attendees at all services and events to be vaccinated. Masking will be required for all worshippers regardless of vaccination status.

For more information, please view our Road to Recovery page.

Passes (Members & Guests)

High Holy Day passes have been sent by mail to members in good standing. If you did not receive yours, please call the synagogue at 713.529.5771.

A notice was sent to the congregation in mid-July surrounding our guest pass policy. A truncated version of this notice can be found below.

We respect that circumstances in our community may require us to operate with a reduced capacity of attendees. As always, members in good standing are our priority and therefore will have the greatest access and ability to attend in-person worship. With the goal of maximizing space for our members and our Emanu El family, the temple Board recently approved a guest pass policy allowing those with the following non-member status to attend this year’s High Holy Day services at Emanu El in person:

  • Individuals who are members in good standing of URJ congregations and follow the 2021 URJ Reciprocity policy
  • Out-of-town family of members and staff
  • Students enrolled in Emanu El’s Basic Judaism class
  • Those who are in Houston for medical-related circumstances, who are also members of URJ synagogues outside of the Houston Metro area
  • Those who are new to Houston (three months or less), who have not yet joined a congregation
  • Local college students

In keeping with our philosophy of “members first,” we are unable to provide guest passes to the following groups for in-person worship:

  • Local family of members and staff who are not members of Emanu El
  • Those who are in town for medical-related circumstances who are not members of a URJ congregations in their home city or state
  • Members of local congregations
  • Non-member teachers in our schools

With that, we welcome and encourage everyone to view our services, through our multiple livestreaming platforms.


Are you heading out of town for the High Holy Days? If you are planning to worship at a congregation near your travel destination, you are eligible for reciprocity. A form to request reciprocity is available by clicking here. Please fill this form out to the best of your ability to help not only your Emanu El team but those at your destination synagogue. Please note that some synagogues may be restricting reciprocity this year or have made plans to only present their worship online due to COVID restrictions.


All parking for on-site services this year will take place at Emanu El, and guests utilizing our Gaylor Parking Facility are asked to come in through Entry 1 (closest to Hermann Park/Main Street). Parking on the first floor of the Gaylor Parking Facility will be reserved for handicap- accessible use only. These spaces will be released 15 minutes prior to the start of services.

The West Lot will be reserved for Rabbi’s Circle members with appropriate pass. These guests are asked to enter through Entry 2 (closest to Mandell Street / Rice Village) and enter through a special Rotunda entry point.

Please note that the Sunset Drive entrance of the synagogue will be closed this year.

For Tashlich, please enter the ERJCC parking lot through gate 1 on Atwell. Due to construction at the ERJCC, you will need to walk out this gate and north towards Braeswood where a member of our off-duty police team will help you to the bayou.

For the Cemetery Service, please enter through the main entrance at the cemetery. To help our officers, we ask those with a handicap placard to please display it as you enter the property.


For wheelchair or disability accessibility, please contact Tiffany Siegel at 713.529.5771, ext. 262 or tiffanys@emanuelhouston.org.

The only reserved seats during the High Holy Days are for those that request this access ahead of time. When contacting Tiffany, please include the services you plan to attend. Those requesting accessible seating may be granted a maximum of four additional seats for family members. Please note this seating will be released 15 minutes prior to the beginning of services.

The deadline for Rosh HaShanah is Wednesday, September 1 and Yom Kippur is Friday, September 10.

Uber to Emanu El for Services

Emanu El is subsidizing Uber by $5 per trip on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. These vouchers are valid for up to two hours prior and two hours following our services, and users must have one end of the route (pick-up or drop-off) located within .25 miles of the synagogue in order to be eligible.

Uber or ride-share service pick-up and drop-off must occur at the north entry to the Barish Sanctuary, as the Sunset Drive entrance will not be accessible. Please note that there will be separate Uber vouchers for the two days of Rosh HaShanah and the two days of Yom Kippur.

Prayer Books

As we join together in sacred community from our homes, there are a variety of ways to follow along in Mishkan HaNefesh, the machzor, or High Holy Day prayer book of the Reform Movement. We will be sharing the words of our prayer book on your screen during services, and you can follow along with these resources available to you at CCAR’s website.

For those attending services virtually, scroll down to “Virtual Services” to follow along in the prayer books.

Print Book
The two-volume, hard-cover set is available, with a generous discount at CCAR Press. Use the code MHN20. Remember to leave adequate time for processing and shipping.

Closed Captioning

Brotherhood provides closed captioning for our High Holy Day worshipers who are hearing impaired. The Brotherhood provides this service at all on-site Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services except for the children’s services. For those watching remotely, scroll down to “Virtual Services” to access the link for captioning during Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services.

Hearing Loop

The Barish Sanctuary is equipped with an Induction Loop System which transmits audio signals directly to one’s telecoil (T-coil)-equipped hearing aid.

Edward Wayne Hunger Fund

Congregation Emanu El’s longstanding commitment to fighting hunger is made possible by contributions to the Edward Wayne Hunger Fund.
Donations to the Hunger Fund support emergency food needs in the Houston area, our partners in the community helping to fight hunger, and our ongoing projects with SEARCH Homeless Services and Kids’ Meals.

In addition to returning your envelope to the synagogue, you may make donations online to the Edward Wayne Hunger Fund at emanuelhouston.org/giving.

Virtual Services
Live Streaming

There are a variety of options to access the streaming video of each of our special and beautiful services.

Services on TV

For a second straight year, Emanu El engaged with Houston Media Source (HMS) to broadcast its primary worship opportunities during the holy days on public access television.

HMS broadcasts on channel 17 on Comcast/Xfinity – the primary cable provider in Houston proper. The broadcasts are also available on AT&T U-Verse, Sudden Link and Phonoscope on channel 99. Please note that some high-rises and multi-unit dwellings may not be included in this availability due to various restrictions.

Broadcast Schedule

  • Rosh HaShanah Unplugged: Monday, September 6, 6:00 p.m.
  • Rosh HaShanah morning: Tuesday, September 7, 10:30 a.m.
  • Kol Nidre: Wednesday, September 15, 6:00 p.m.
  • Yom Kippur morning: Thursday, September 16, 10:30 a.m.

Digital Prayer Books

Free Digital Flipbook
For assistance using flipbooks, click here.

  • Click here for the Rosh HaShanah Unplugged service prayer book
  • Click here for the Rosh HaShanah morning service prayer book
  • Click here for the Yom Kippur prayer book

Downloadable e-book

  • Click here for a downloadable, discounted e-book


For those watching remotely, we intend to use the StreamText platform for a second straight year.

Click here to access captioning for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services.

Technical Support


Our goal is to make your experience as easy as possible in connecting with us during these High Holy Days. Members of the synagogue staff will be available during weekday business hours in addition to during our High Holy Day worship services to provide assistance to our congregants.

Please call 713.529.5771 for support.