Preparing for the High Holidays in Challenging Times

Inside Leadership

Preparing for the High Holidays in Challenging Times

Upcoming Webinars and Resources to Help Guide You

Closeup of a shofar with an open prayerbook in the back of the shot

We know you are engaged in deep thinking about how to celebrate Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur with your community this year. You have shared with us the many questions that you are grappling with, including scenario-planning, how to create community at a distance, how to best use technology, understanding the impact of High Holiday themes, and how clergy, staff and lay people can work together to create your vision for these unique and holy days. 

As conversations continue about how to best help you prepare for the High Holiday season, we want to offer a bit of a timeline and framework for the upcoming months, including what we believe we can offer to be of greatest support. We would like to help you ask the right questions, arrive at the right answers for your communities, and support you in implementing the plan you determine is best. 

We are pleased to be working with our Movement partners HUC-JIR, CCAR, ACC, NATA, ARJE, ECE-RJ, PEP-RJ, NFTY, and other partner organizations and affiliates to offer the best collaborative thinking and the most comprehensive resources to guide your visioning and planning.  

Below is a collection and the timeline that we, together with our Movement partners, have developed for resource-sharing, webinars, and study opportunities over the next few months. Additional programs will continue to be added as well. If you have questions or suggestions, please reach out to Rabbi Leora Kaye at



  • “Preparing for the Holidays: Where Should We Begin?” 
    Tuesday, June 2, at 8:00 PM ET 
    For small congregations with lay people leading High Holiday worship with no clergy support.  Cantor Rosalie Will and Rabbi David Fine will help you think about the questions to ask, the tools you need, and the opportunities you have to create a meaningful experience for your community.   
  • “Re-Envisioning High Holy Day Liturgy - Where Do We Begin
    Wednesday, June 3, at 1:00 PM ET 
    For ACC/CCAR members; led by Dr. Larry Hoffman and Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin.
  • "Music of the High Holidays"
    Thursday, June 8, at 4:00 PM ET
    Music plays a crucial  role in our High Holiday experience; how in the world do we think about it now? Cantor Rosalie Will with ACC Cantors Ben Ellerin and Rollin Simmons, and DFSSM Director Cantor Richard Cohn will lead us in thinking about the right questions to ask our communities about music and worship in order to get clarity on what we need: if music matters, how do we make it matter this year, and how to “start with why.”  
  • “A Shared Vision: Working Together to Make Meaning for Your Community”
    For your whole team, including clergy, staff, and senior lay leadership
    Wednesday, June 17; at 1:00 PM ET
  • “Practices for Using Technology for High Holiday Worship”
    Thursday, June 25; exact time TBA
    For members of the ACC/CCAR; led by Rabbi Dan Medwin and Rabbi Leora Kaye

Also coming in June, dates and times TBA:

  • Webinar Series on Principles and Practices for Music Production in Worship
    For ACC members; led by ACC cantors for the High Holidays
  • Musical Liturgical Videos of Important High Holiday Worship
    Provided by the ACC and HUC-JIR 


  • “A Multi-Day High Holiday Worship Intensive for Clergy”
    July 7-9; exact times TBA
    FOr ACC/CCAR members; including discussion of key liturgical moments, Yizkort'shuvah, balancing tradition and innovation, and more 

Also coming in mid-July, exact dates TBA:

  • Webinar Series on Engaging Families with Young Children, Teens, and Youth Groups
    Presented by ECE-RJ, ARJE, and NFTY 
  • “Marketing and Communications: Sharing Your Message with Intention”
    Led by the URJ Marketing and Communications staff and PEP-RJ, addressing ways to clearly share your plans with your communities and build pathways in for people who may join you for the holidays.
  • “Membership, Ushering, and High Holiday Committees, What Now? A Whole Lot!” Led by the URJ Strengthening Congregations team and PEP-RJ to help you think through new ways the lay
    leaders in your communities can create sacred and connected experiences throughout the High Holiday season. Follow-up resource will be provided.

August & September

Additional webinars and dates TBA 

  • “What Does Social Justice Look Like in This Moment?
    Sermon seminars for rabbis; co-sponsored by CCAR and the RAC
  • “The 2020 Elections and Our Role as Rabbis”
    For CCAR rabbis; co-sponsored by CCAR and the RAC
  • “Being Inclusive and Accessible from the Start: Celebrating Your Whole Community”
    For clergy, staff, executive directors, and lay leaders leading communal experiences; presented by the URJ Audacious Hospitality staff a webinar offering guidance around creating a sense of belonging for all community members. Highlighting best practices in equity and inclusion while leading small groups, worship, teaching, and programs.

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