Can we do the Holidays on our own?

I got a reality check last week, a synagogue email offered etrog and lulav kits for sale. Yup, the High Holy Days are only a month away and on their heels, Sukkot. I adore Sukkot and always have a sukkah. I love having guests in my sukkah and have introduced lots of amazing people to each other amid food and conversation + some lulav waving.  But not this year.  I won’t be endangering my loved ones. I will still have a sukkah and I am ordering an etrog and lulav.

Eli Weisel, Holocaust survivor, said, A Jew alone is a Jew in danger. That can be interpreted in a number of ways. But it sprang to my mind as I thought about the coming holidays. Jews are a communal people. We do things together. I have never had the High Holidays or Sukkot without being surrounded by friends and community. It will be strange. But I expect to learn things about myself and my sense of being a Jew.

I’d love to know how you are planning to deal with the autumn holidays. Are these primarily synagogue-bound celebrations for you? Will you do something at home? Are you looking for ideas of what you can do at home? For yourself? For your children? Please let me know at

I have created a list of bay area synagogues who are offering High Holy Day services online. Most of them are free. Take a look at the list here. Since it is all virtual you don’t have to worry about driving, parking, etc.


A Sukkah of Your Own
Rosh Hashanah Celebration for the Birthday of the World!
Movies & Midrash – Groundhog Day
Preparing for the High Holidays Like Never Before


A Sukkah of Your Own
Building and decorating a family sukkah
A Sukkah is a special shelter that we build, right? In this year of Shelter-in-Place, we won’t be able to build the huge Sukkah at Beth Emek, but we can each have one at our own homes that is just the right size! Join Alon Kama and Janet Milder as they guide us on making a family sukkah. Alon has prepared a DIY plan for simple PVC pipe construction and Janet will show us other models as well as ways to match your own personal style. Please register for this special Zoom event!

Date:   Tuesday, September 8
Time:   7:30 to 8:30pm
Hosted by Beth Emek of Pleasanton
Details here

Rosh Hashanah Celebration for the Birthday of the World!
Let’s celebrate the Jewish New Year and the Birthday of the World with singing and dancing and our favorite puppet friends. Bring your favorite stuffy or puppet to celebrate with us!

Sunday, Sept. 13
Time:   10:30 – 11:15am
Free and via Zoom. Register here to join us!

Movies & Midrash – Groundhog Day
Based on the great success of our first event, we are going to be back with another great movie – Groundhog Day!
Join Aviv Siegel and Roger Feigelson to watch a great movie together, learn more about it and discuss its related Jewish sides.
Let’s watch Groundhog Day and explore the process of Teshuva: Are we there yet?!

Date:  Sunday, September 13
Time:  6:00-9:00 p.m.
Hosted by Peninsula Temple Beth El
Pre-registration is required here.

Preparing for the High Holidays Like Never Before
Jewish wisdom teaches that during the Hebrew month of Elul we are encouraged to prepare ourselves for the meaningful spiritual experience of the High Holidays. During this month, join rabbis and teachers of our community in 12 different classes designed to deepen our experience of these Days of Awe. People of all faiths, beliefs, and perspectives are welcome. All you need bring is your curiosity.

All classes will be held via Zoom. You may participate in as many of these classes as you wish. All classes are free.

Dates:  August 23 – September 17
Full schedule and details here
Hosted by the Peninsula JCC, Foster City