High Holidays

The Berkeley Hillel team is excited about celebrating deeply the essence of the High Holidays. We have learned from our collective student community that you value spiritual experiences, and also feel the tension of wanting to celebrate the Jewish New Year while also balancing class schedules.

So, this year, we decided to try something new. At night, we have service options that you know and love. During the days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we are offering hour-long workshop style experiences that celebrate the essence of the holidays. Want to hear the blowing of the shofar? We got you covered. Want to take a hike that helps renew yourself for the new year? It’s here. Want to empathize with others and volunteer? You’re invited. And do you still want the traditional experience of services? We got it.

All daytime experiences will start on Berkeley time. Come when you can, without the guilt of missing class or the holidays.

Rosh HaShanah – September 9-11th

Sunday Night, September 9th

Traditional Egalitarian Services  7 p.m., Hillel Auditorium

Meditative Musical Services  7 p.m., Bancroft Hotel Ballroom

Festive Dinner  8 p.m., Berkeley Hillel


Monday, September 10th

Traditional Egalitarian Service — 10 a.m., with Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman at Berkeley Hillel

Lessons from Abraham and Sarah: A Text Study — 10 a.m.,  with Leah Kahn at Berkeley Hillel
The Torah portion traditionally read on Rosh Hashanah morning is rich with life lessons. In this dynamic class, we will study one of the pivotal conflicts in the Abrahamic family as a lesson for our own lives as we move into the new year.

Rosh Hashanah: Reflective and Renewing Hike  — 11-12 a.m., with Savyon Sordean, meet at Berkeley Hillel
Hike in the Berkeley fire trails, reflect on the past year, and set intentions on the coming year, to engage in the tradition of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Meet at Hillel.

The Voice of the Shofar, the Call to Ourselves — 12-1 p.m., with Leah Kahn
Hearing Shofar is the central mitzvah (commandment) of the Rosh Hashanah holiday. In this workshop, we will listen to the shofar many times, treating it as a deep meditation and use the sound to deeply reflect on our own lives and spiritually propel us into the new year.

Light Holiday Lunch — 1 -2 p.m.

Let Go and Release: Musical Tashlich and Teshuvah — 2-3 p.m. at Faculty Glade, with Leah Kahn and Isaac Zones
In this tashlich ceremony, we will engage in a classic traditional practice of the holiday. Throwing our missteps from the year before into the water, we will give ourselves space to reflect, renew and let go.

On God: Theology, Sovereignty and Everything In Between — 3-4 p.m., with Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman
This time of year is rich with liturgy, poetry, and words to describe the collective and individual relationship to God. In this class, we will look at the paradigm of a relationship with God that is assumed during the holidays and decide how we feel about it.


Tuesday, September 11th

Traditional Egalitarian Services — 10 a.m., Hillel Auditorium

Light Holiday Lunch — 1 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah Volunteering — 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., with Matt Kolbert
Kick off the year 5779 by cooking and serving a meal at the Men’s Housing Program. Meet at Hillel at 4:30 p.m. to drive together, or at 4:45 p.m. at the location: 1931 Center Street in Berkeley.

Yom Kippur – September 18-19th

Erev Yom Kippur, September 18th

Traditional Egalitarian Kol Nidre — 6:30 p.m., Hillel Auditorium

Meditative Musical Kol Nidre — 6:30 p.m., Bancroft Hotel Ballroom

Yom Kippur, September 19th

Traditional Egalitarian Service — 10 a.m., with Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, Hillel Auditorium

Yom Kippur Vision Board: Past and Future — 11-12 p.m., with Savyon Sordean, Berkeley Hillel
Reflect on the past year and remember the lessons you learned from the challenges you faced.  How can you utilize those lessons to become an even better person this year? With those lessons in mind, we will create a vision board for how we want to be, so that we can be inspired by our own creations for the coming year. Students only, please.

Volunteering at the Alameda County Food Bank — 11 – 3 p.m. meet at Hillel, with Emily
On a day when our tradition tells us to voluntarily abstain from eating, join us to volunteer with an organization working to fight hunger and food insecurity in Alameda County. Transportation will be provided. Students only, please.

Finding Forgiveness Class — 12-1 p.m., with Leah Kahn, Berkeley Hillel
In this class, we will explore classic rabbinic sources that understand the human tendency and condition around the challenges of forgiving ourselves and others. We will use these inspiring texts as gateways for improving our relationships within the spirit of themes of the season.  Students only, please.

Hineni: A Yom Kippur text study — 1-2 p.m., with Matt Kolbert, Berkeley Hillel
Yom Kippur is not just a time for reflection on what you have done in the past year, but also what you will do in the coming one. Hineni translates loosely to “Here I Am”. In this text study, we will ask ourselves who is most in need of our solidarity, and how we can offer it to them. Students only, please.

Yom Kippur Yoga: Re-aligning into the New Year — 2-3 p.m., with Leah Kahn, Berkeley Hillel
Engage in a physical practice to mark the holiday and have time with yourself on the mat during this meaningful holiday season. We will utilize the themes of re-alignment and forgiveness as inspiration for creating a spiritual experience on the mat. All levels welcome. Students only, please.

Traditional Egalitarian Mincha – 4:30 p.m., Hillel Auditorium

Traditional Egalitarian Neilah – 6:00 p.m., Hillel Auditorium

Musical Havdallah – 7:49 p.m., Hillel Auditorium

Yom Kippur Break the Fast – 8:00 p.m., Berkeley Hillel

Sukkot – September 23rd-30th

What are You Grateful For? Sukkot Decorating with the ASUC Senate Office of Justin Greenwald — Sunday, September 23rd, 12:30-2 p.m., Kroeber Fountain 
Come decorate the sukkah with us as we learn about Sukkot’s special connection to gratitude, the harvest, and small things that make life great. Snacks and meaningful discussion will be provided.

Build a Home Sukkah — Sunday, September 23rd, 2-4 p.m.
Have you ever had the opportunity to build a Sukkah at home? Join Leah and her husband Darrell as they build their Sukkah at their home. Enjoy smoked split pea afterward and lime lavender lemonade! (RSVP required to Leah: leah@berkeleyhillel.org by 9/20/18)

Dinner in Lauren’s Sukkah  — Sunday, Sept 23rd
(Hillel Student Board Only)

Traditional Sukkot Meal @ Leah’s house — Tuesday, September 25th
(Jewish Learning Fellowship only)

Sukkot and Vote: Succulents  with Matt — Wednesday, September 26th, 1-5 p.m., Kroeber Fountain
Register to vote! Come to the Sukkah and we’ll handle the hard stuff for you. In exchange, you get to plant and decorate a succulent. Already registered? Show us and you get a succulent too!

Eat, Pray, Lulav: A Sukkot Harvest Celebration w/Savyon — Friday, September 28th, 11 a.m., at Kroeber Fountain
Make rugelach for Shabbat dinner in the Hillel kitchen, and then enjoy it through mindful eating and learning about the traditions of Sukkot.

Sweet Sukkot with the Freshmen Fellows — Thursday, September 27th, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Kroeber Fountain
Join the Freshmen Fellows in the Sukkah for a night of fun and sweet treats.

Sukkah Hop — Wednesday, September 26th, 7-9 p.m.
The Jewish groups at Berkeley have wonderful Sukkot to offer, and we want to hang out in all of them! Join us after BBQ to take a joyous journey through the Sukkot at the Bayit, AEPi, and Hillel.

Sukkot Shabbat — Friday, September 28th, Berkeley Hillel
6 p.m. Shabbat Soul Hour, and 7 p.m. Friday Night Dinner
Join us for a fall harvest meal in celebration of Sukkot. After dinner, join Rabbi Adam in the Sukkah at Kroeber Fountain for learning and dessert!

Shakshuka in the Sukkah w/Dani and  Mishelanu — Saturday, September 29th, 12 p.m., Kroeber Fountain
On this Shabbat noon, we will gather for an Israeli feast to share our love for Shakshuka and the Israeli community on campus.

Simchat Torah – October 2nd

Check out our weekly newsletter for a list of community events to celebrate and dance with the Torah on this joyous holiday. Berkeley students are welcome to participate in a variety of offerings in the Bay Area.

Meet Isaac Zones

Isaac Zones is the Berkeley Hillel Musician-in-Residence for the High Holidays and Shabbat. An Oakland based musician specializing in Jewish, spiritual, folk and family music,  Isaac teaches music classes, leads prayer services, officiates lifecycle events, does concerts and performs for weddings and other celebrations. Isaac learned to play guitar at Camp Tawonga and has worked on staff almost every summer since 2001. Before prioritizing music as a profession Isaac led many Jewish young adult programs including being the founding director of Moishe House.  Isaac enjoys playing sports, exploring music and Jewish identity, working for a more just society with fuller lives for all of us and spending time with family, friends and his loving life partner Vivian.