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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
Special Gems of Torah Series During Elul: Gems of Jonah

Elul, the Hebrew month that precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of preparation and introspection. Join us during our Gems Torah Study class for consecutive weeks of learning focused on the book of Jonah, the traditional haftarah text for Yom Kippur afternoon, using selections from The Book of Jonah: A Social Justice Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz. These thoughtful sessions will meet over Zoom, led by members of the clergy and our Director of Congregational Learning. We will explore traditional and modern texts and commentaries that will help us prepare our spirits and enrich our experience of the Days of Awe.

Click here to register for this series so we can send you the readings ahead of time.

Click here to access this event on Zoom.

  • Meeting ID: 806 817 588
  • Passcode: 013765


Saturday, September 17

S’lichot Shorts, 7:30 p.m. 

An engaging evening featuring short films and meaningful discussion about themes to help us prepare for the High Holy Day season. Delicious movie-theater-style snacks will be served.

S’lichot Service, 9:00 p.m. 

S’lichot begins the journey toward the unique beauty of High Holy Days, to focus our minds on penitence and preparation. Our beautiful service will begin at 9:00 p.m. in the Barish Sanctuary.

Rosh HaShanah

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

Sunday, September 25

  • NEW! High Holy Day Kick-Off Reception, 4:00 p.m.
    Gather with friends and loved ones before services to celebrate the New Year together over refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
  • Rosh HaShanah Unplugged, 5:00 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]

Monday, September 26

  • Children’s Service, 9:00 a.m. 
    Designed for children 8 and under and their families, this lively and fun service highlights the themes and rituals of the holiday.
  • Rosh HaShanah Morning Family Reception, immediately following our Children’s Service
    Join us for a sweet treat and chance to greet friends at the family reception immediate following the Rosh HaShanah children’s service.
  • 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 Simmons, with accompaniment on organ and piano.3rd through 5th grade students are invited to pray with their parents for the first half of the service, then they will be led by our Helfman Religious School staff into their own separate High Holy Day celebration with fun and engaging activities. Pre-registration required. Click here to register.


Monday, September 26, immediately following our 10:30 a.m. Rosh HaShanah morning service

We set aside some time as Rosh HaShanah concludes to gather at Bill Coates Bridge and symbolically cast our sins into the water while singing and reflecting together. Click here for Bill Coates Bridge location and parking information.

Shabbat Shuvah

Friday, September 30, 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.

Outdoor High Holy Day Family Experience

Sunday, October 2
9:00 a.m.
Nature Discovery Center, 7112 Newcastle

To complement our High Holy Day Children’s Services, families with children in 2nd grade or younger are invited to join Emanu El clergy and staff for an in-person outdoor experience featuring PJ Library Story Walk™.

We will be gathering at the Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire 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.

Click here to register!


Cemetery Service

Sunday, October 2
5:00 p.m.
Emanu El Memorial Park, 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.

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.

Tuesday, October 4

  • Kol Nidre Service, 7:30 p.m.Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
    Sermon by Rabbi Hayon
    This service, 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.

Wednesday, October 5

  • Children’s Service, 9:00 a.m.Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
    Led by our clergy
    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.
  • Morning Service, 10:30 a.m.Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
    Sermon by Rabbi Silk
    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.3rd through 5th grade students are invited to pray with their parents for the first half of the service, then they will be led to a unique, age-appropriate Torah experience facilitated by our teen leaders and Helfman staff. Pre-registration required. Click here to register.
  • Afternoon Experience, 12:30 p.m.
    Enhance your Yom Kippur experience with these afternoon options.

12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.

Jonah Variety Hour, Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
Delve into the Book of Jonah through diverse offerings of music, theater, and art. We will enjoy presentations from Emanu El’s volunteer choir and teen leaders, as well as congregants and guests, including an accomplished poet, a world-renowned visual artist, and more. It will be a whale of a time!

1:30 p.m – 2:20 p.m.

Congregant Voices, Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
Led by Rabbi Silk
Find inspiration in the beautiful stories of temple members who have chosen Judaism as their spiritual path, along with those who are not Jewish and committed to raising Jewish children.

The Rabbi’s Mixtape, Proler Chapel (in person only)
Led by Rabbi Hayon
In this session, we will be exploring the Jewish themes of the Days of Awe as expressed through the lyrics and melodies of some well-known rock and roll songs. Join us to learn, listen and discuss concepts of apology and repentance in an innovative new way!

Gratitude, Growth & Repair: A Creative Visual Art Experience, Oshman Multi-Purpose Room (in person only – registration required)
Join artist and teacher Ellen Orseck in a workshop to explore the range of human emotions through creative visual expression. All levels of artistic experience are welcome, but we request your advance registration as space will be limited for this unique opportunity.
Click here to register.

2:30 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

History of Reform Zionism, Proler Chapel (in person only)
Led by Rabbi Walter & Stefani Carlson
Join us for a journey through the history of big ideas in Reform Judaism through the lens of our relationship with Israel.

Meditation, Board Room (in person only)
Experience a guided journey of mindfulness, utilizing the themes of the Days of Awe.

EE Votes Expo, Oshman Multi-Purpose Room (in person only)
Get ready for the 2022 midterm elections! This interactive expo will make voting easy by helping you build a personalized voting plan and answering all your election questions. EE Votes is a non-partisan initiative to make Emanu El a 100% voting congregation.

  • Healing & Wholeness, 3:30 p.m., Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
    Find restoration and strength through poetry, song and prayer.
  • Yizkor & N’ilah, 4:30 p.m., Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
    Through meaningful readings and soul-stirring music, we will journey through varied expressions of grief and memory.
  • Break the Fast, 6:30 p.m.Barish Sanctuary (in person with streaming options)
    We will bring our holidays to a close by breaking the fast together.

General Information

High Holy Day passes are sent to all members in good standing by mail. We accept passes from other congregations and also welcome military personnel, college students with ID, and out-of-town hospital patients along with their families. Additionally, we offer reciprocity passes to members in good standing at other congregations (more info below).

We also welcome members of the community who have moved to Houston since last High Holy Days. Please ask them to contact Anna Shabtay at 713.529.5771, ext. 261 or annas@emanuelhouston.org to arrange for newcomer passes.

As always, finances are never a barrier to membership at Emanu El, and guest pass options are also available for non-members. If you would like more information about these options, contact David Lamden at 713.529.5771, ext. 221 or davidl@emanuehouston.org.


Will you be out of town for Rosh HaShanah and/or Yom Kippur? If you are planning to worship at a congregation near your travel destination, you may be eligible for reciprocity. Through our affiliation with the Union for Reform Judaism, our congregation enjoys reciprocity with hundreds of Reform synagogues nationally.

The form to request reciprocity is available by clicking here. Please fill out the form to the best of your ability to help not only your Emanu El team but those at your destination synagogue.

If you have questions, please contact Anna Shabtay at annas@emanuelhouston.org 713.529.5771, ext. 261.


Please remember to bring your passes! Only individuals with High Holy Days passes will be permitted entry to the Emanu El campus. Parking on Floors 1 and 2 of the Gaylor Parking Facility will be reserved for handicap-accessible use. The West Lot is reserved for Rabbi’s Circle members with a required special pass. Because there is limited garage parking, we encourage you to park off-site. Buses will run continually between satellite parking and Emanu El.

For Erev Rosh HaShanah and Kol Nidre, park at the Medical Clinic of Houston at 1707 Sunset Blvd. The parking garage entrance is located on Rice Blvd. On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur day, parking will be available at Rice University.

Medical Clinic Parking for Erev Rosh HaShanah
For Erev Rosh HaShanah, park at the Medical Clinic of Houston, located at 1707 Sunset Blvd. The parking garage entrance is located on Rice Blvd.

Rice University Parking for Rosh HaShanah Day
On Rosh HaShanah, parking will be available at Rice University. Rice U is located at 6100 Main St, and available parking is in the South Stadium Lot & Greenbriar Lot.

Click here for a map of Rice University parking on Rosh HaShanah & Yom Kippur Day.


Uber to Emanu El for Services

Emanu El is subsidizing Uber by $5 on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur for worshipers who live within 25 miles of the synagogue.

Please note this voucher will be active from 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 25, until 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 6, at 8:00 a.m.

Click here to access the Uber voucher.


Childcare for children ages 15 months to 8 years is available during both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur morning services. Registration in advance MUST be received in order to prepare for the appropriate number of caregivers. The cost is $10 per child, per service. A light snack will be provided; however, children with allergies are encouraged to bring their own snacks.

The registration deadline for Rosh HaShanah is September 21; the Yom Kippur registration deadline is September 30. Visit us online to register or contact Sarah Kronman at 713.529.5771 or sarahk@emanuelhouston.org.

Registration for childcare has now closed.


For wheelchair or disability accessibility, please contact Christian Simmons at 713.529.5771, ext. 262 or christians@emanuelhouston.org.

The only reserved seats during the High Holy Days are for those that request this access ahead of time. When contacting Christian, 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 21, and Yom Kippur is Wednesday, September 28.

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.

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.

High Holy Day Hunger Appeal

Congregation Emanu El’s longstanding commitment to fighting hunger is made possible this year by contributions to the High Holy Day Hunger Fund Appeal for the benefit of the Edward Wayne Hunger Fund. Donations to the appeal will 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 the envelope you received in your High Holy Day Mailer to the synagogue, with a check payable to Congregation Emanu El (memo: High Holy Day Hunger Fund), you may make donations online.

We kindly ask that no dedications be made for this appeal.

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:
Our primary worship opportunities will be available on public access television through Houston Media Source. HMS broadcasts on channel 17 on Comcast/Xfinity, and 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: Sunday, September 25, 5:00 p.m.
  • Rosh HaShanah Morning: Monday, September 26, 10:30 a.m.
  • Kol Nidre Evening Service: Tuesday, October 4, 7:30 p.m.
  • Yom Kippur Morning Service: Wednesday, October 5, 10:30 a.m.


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.