Note: MyPJCC will be unavailable on Monday, 9/26 due to a system upgrade. Thank you for your understanding.
Note: MyPJCC will be unavailable on Monday, 9/26 due to a system upgrade. Thank you for your understanding.

High Holidays

The Jewish High Holidays are the peak spiritual season of the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serve as bookends to an intense, reflective time known as the 10 Days of Repentance. During this period, we engage in the inner work of change, of returning to our essence and our highest potential as holy human beings. In 2022, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated from sundown on September 25 to nightfall on September 27. In 2022, Yom Kippur is observed from sundown on October 4 to nightfall on October 5.

Learn more about the High Holidays.

High Holidays Events & Programs

Shabbat Tashlich Boating & CelebrationSnacks in the SukkahMakom Yoga: Stretch in the SukkahPJCC Sukkah @ Filoli Harvest CelebrationJFCS High Holiday Food DriveWatch This Year’s Roundtable

Shabbat Tashlich Boating & Celebration

Friday, September 30 • 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Cast away your mistakes of the past year into the water, while enjoying a fun and relaxing tour of the lagoon on 6 electric “Duffy” boats. Then celebrate the first Shabbat after Rosh Hashanah with our community!

Note: Our Tashlich on the Boats experience is sold out, but you can still join the fun! Rabbi Lisa Kingston from PTBE is leading an “on-land” Tashlich ceremony at 5:00 pm at the Leo J. Ryan Park gazebo.

Then, we’ll all return to the PJCC Hamlin Garden for a community Shabbat celebration with Rabbi Lisa, Rabbi Laurie Matzkin (PJCC), and Cantor Doron Shapira (PSC) from 6:00-6:45 pm. All are welcome for these portions of the program.

Join PJCC, Peninsula Sinai Congregation, and Peninsula Temple Beth El in this exciting collaboration for all generations.

Space available for on-land Tashlich ceremony & Shabbat celebration! Registration required; sign up here.

4:00 pm: Meet in front of PJCC and walk to Leo Ryan Park boat launch

4:30-5:30 pm: Boating on the Lagoon including creative Tashlich ritual (Sold out)

5:00 “On-Land” Tashlich option with Rabbi Lisa Kingston at Leo Ryan Park Gazebo (Free)

5:30 pm: All walk back to PJCC

6:00-6:45 pm: Pluralistic, musical Shabbat service in the PJCC Hamlin Garden, led by Rabbi Laurie Matzkin, Rabbi Lisa Kingston, and Cantor Doron Shapira (Free and open to all)

6:45 pm: Oneg Snacks and Sweets

Snacks in the Sukkah

Tuesday, October 11 • 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Shake the lulav with other families! Join PJCC and PJ Library for a fun and relaxed Sukkot celebration. Enjoy etrog “shakes” (sorbet spritzers), edible graham cracker sukkahs, PJ Library holiday stories, and a chance to do the rituals of the holiday.

Geared towards families with children ages 0-8. Registration required. Sign up here.

Makom Yoga

Stretch in the Sukkah: Thursday, October 13 • 12:00 pm • PJCC Hamlin Garden

Join Rabbi Laurie for a gentle yoga experience to help prepare your body and spirit for the upcoming holiday. By integrating meaningful Jewish themes of the season with mindful movement, Makom Yoga is your next step to inner connection with the Jewish calendar.

Please bring your own yoga mat and any props that help you feel supported and comfortable. Chairs will be available.

Registration required; sign up here.

PJCC Sukkah @ Filoli Harvest Celebration

Saturday & Sunday, October 15 and 16 • 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Filoli (86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA)

Join PJCC and PJ Library at Filoli for a family-friendly, hands-on Sukkah experience. We’ll decorate paper chains with our hopes and dreams for the year, design edible sukkahs, shake the lulav, and enjoy PJ Library stories. Thank you to Filoli for including Sukkot in the Harvest Festival weekend!

While you’re at Filoli, experience live music and art, learn more about the harvest season, and spend time exploring the gorgeous house and grounds! Complete Harvest Celebration hours are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Advanced purchase of tickets required. Reserve your tickets on the Filoli website; select the date (October 15 or 16) you plan to attend.

Filoli Public Admission: $25 Adult; $22 Senior (65+); $20 Student/Teacher/Military; $15 Child (5-17); Free for children under 5. Filoli Members: Check your membership for specific pricing.


JFCS High Holiday Food Drive

September 8 – October 11

Help those in need this season… contribute to the Jewish Family & Children’s Services Food Drive! Drop off food and household items in the barrels located in the PJCC main entrance.

For a list of the most-needed items, please visit JFCS’ website.

Todah rabah (Thank you) in advance for your generosity!


The Roundtable

Moving Toward Healing: A Conversation with Our Community Clergy
Tuesday, September 13

We invite you to watch and listen to this year’s Roundtable presentation below.


About Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)

The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah, translated as “the head of the year.” It begins on the first day of the month of Tishrei in the Hebrew calendar. This date typically occurs during September or early October. On Rosh Hashanah we look forward with hope and joy to a year full of blessings. Shanah (year) is derived from the Hebrew words for “change” and “repetition.” As we look back on our actions, words and relationships from the past year, we try to notice patterns and habits that need to change to better support our relationships and our greater world.

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

The Day of Repentance is called Yom Kippur. Taking place 10 days after Rosh Hashanah, it is considered the most important holy day of the Jewish year. From lighting candles at sundown until seeing a dark sky the following night, this is a time for prayer and contemplation of the most vulnerable and courageous variety. By refraining from eating and drinking, work responsibilities, media consumption and other activities that turn our attention to the transactional world, we give ourselves the gift of truly focusing on a personal moral inventory. Jewish tradition requires that we ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt and offer it to others who have hurt us. We acknowledge the hurts we have caused in our relationships, the ways in which we have caused ourselves to stumble, and the large and small behaviors that have hurt our community and our planet. If we have done this work of repair, of Teshuvah (repentance or return), by Yom Kippur, then we can honestly ask to be written in the proverbial “Book of Life” for another year.

High Holidays: Customs & Traditions

Blowing of the Shofar
The shofar, or ram’s horn, is sounded every day during the month preceding Rosh Hashanah, 100 times during the Rosh Hashanah prayer services, and again to end the Yom Kippur fast. Its sound has been compared to a wailing trumpet, a mother’s cry, and even a call to battle. The Shofar has been called a “spiritual alarm clock,” a wake-up call that says: Pay attention and make things better!

Asking Forgiveness
A critical part of this season is engaging in the process of Teshuvah, repairing relationships through our words and acknowledging the impact of our speech. The 10 Days of Repair (in Hebrew, Aseret Y’mei Teshuvah) offer inspiration and encouragement to all of us to acknowledge the impact of our speech. We can tell ourselves the truth, stop making excuses, take responsibility for our behavior, and then decide with commitment that we will make different choices going forward. To say the words “I’m sorry” is to take a step of responsibility and reconciliation and healing that will rebuild trust and love in our relationships.

Rosh Hashanah has a special cleansing ceremony called tashlich, which means to “cast” or “throw away.” It is a chance to symbolically get rid of our mistakes and missteps by throwing breadcrumbs into a body of moving water, as another step toward reconciliation and renewal. By invoking the cleansing power of water, we feel a fresh and clean start to the new year. We can participate in Tashlich any time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Many cultures and religions embrace special foods to symbolize and serve as a reminder of important aspects of a holiday. During the High Holidays, these foods include apples dipped in honey for a sweet year, round challah for the interwoven, ever-continuing cycle of life, and pomegranates for the bright jewels of positive actions that make our world a better place.

During the High Holiday season, it is customary to offer meaningful greetings that express our caring connection and hopes for a joyful and blessed new year. You can greet Jewish friends with any of these suggested phrases:

Shanah Tovah: A good new year!

Shanah Tovah u’metukah: A good and sweet new year!

G’mar Chatimah Tovah: May you be sealed in the Book of Life!

Online Resources to Help Guide You with the Process of Teshuvah

Learn more about the Jewish High Holidays with these helpful online resources

The ten days from Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year) to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are known as “The Ten Days of Repentance.” Together with the Hebrew month of Elul, which immediately precedes them, they form a 40-day period during which we are invited to engage in the practice of teshuvah (repentance). During this time, we reflect on our actions of the past year, ask forgiveness from people we have hurt, and ponder how we may better our moral and ethical behavior.

MyJewishLearning is an excellent web source for learning all things Jewish, from the meaning of Jewish holidays to important Jewish values and ideas to excellent recipes. These two articles provide an explanation about the month of Elul and its importance, and explain the basics of teshuvah, repentance.

JudaismUnbound is a great podcast that features interesting Jewish thinkers and discussions. You might also like ElulUnbound, which offers short podcasts about Elul as well as questions, short readings, and meditations to help you in your self-reflection.

InterfaithFamily has wonderful educational material, as well as personal stories, from a variety of people who are contemplating how to engage in meaningful Jewish traditions and celebrations. Read some of their stories about the special time of Elul at their website.

Aleph is the organization that represents and promotes Jewish Renewal. This is a growing movement in the Jewish community that seeks to uncover and renew the profound spiritual ideas and practices found in traditional Jewish life. Rabbi Marcia Prager’s piece is her interpretation of what teshuvah can mean.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (aka the Velveteen Rabbi), one of the freshest voices in Jewish Renewal, writes a regular blog about the meaning and practice of Jewish life. Her Elul blog posts contain both her wisdom and gentle suggestions for making Jewish meaning. Also included is her beautiful poetry.

Change doesn’t come easily. We hope these resources will help you along the way. Make this time of year a time of personal renewal for yourself and your loved ones.

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