High Holidays FAQ

The following is a list of frequently asked questions and answers about Segulah High Holiday services. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please contact us.

Last updated: August 2022

Q: Where will it be? 

A: This year, our services will be outdoors and in a spacious tent in the Shepherd Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. The exact location will be sent to confirmed attendees via e-mail prior to each holiday. It will not be Segulah’s regular Shabbat location.

Q: What style of services will it be?

A: Like Segulah’s Shabbat services, the high holiday services are egalitarian, all in Hebrew, and following the structure of the traditional liturgy.  In addition, there will be several brief drashot on the themes of the days.  The services will be filled with soulful singing that reflects the nature of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as both joyful and serious, and the prayer experience will be made possible by the active participation of everyone who attends.

However, due to the extraordinary circumstances requiring us to meet outdoors with social distancing near a busy street, we are planning to use a microphone to amplify the voice of the leader at these services. Use of electronic amplification at in-person services on Yom Tov is contrary to our usual communal practice, and the decision to use it at these services should not be understood as setting any precedents for other situations.

Q: Are there tickets?

A: There are no tickets; we want these services to be accessible to anyone who wants to take part.  However, advance signup is required, so that we can be prepared for the correct number of people and maintain an accurate record of attendees in the event we need to conduct contact tracing.  Therefore, registration will end for Rosh Hashanah services at 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, September 21 and for Yom Kippur services at 11:59 PM ET on Saturday, October 1.

We’ll be renting our high holiday space for many hours, so the rental costs are significantly higher than for Segulah services throughout the year.  Therefore, there is a suggested donation of $50 per adult ($36 per child) for each holiday to help cover the rental and other expenses.  If you can contribute more than this amount, larger contributions are also welcome, and if the suggested amount is too much, chip in whatever you can.  There will be no fundraising during services.

Q: Who organizes Segulah’s high holiday services?

A: Like Segulah’s activities throughout the year, high holiday services are run completely by volunteers.  You will have an opportunity to volunteer for several roles during Segulah’s high holiday services during registration.

Q: Will there be a community break-fast on Yom Kippur?

A: Yes!

Q: What are people doing for the pre-fast meal?

A: Some people in our community may be able to host guests for pre-fast meals.  However, due to the pandemic, Segulah is not facilitating hospitality (for either hosts or guests) this year.

Q: Will there be children’s programming?

A: Yes!  As usual, children of all ages are welcome at Segulah services. For children age 5 and under, we will have babysitting run by experienced preschool providers.  Also, new in 2022, for children ages 6 through 12, we will have an expanded, age-appropriate program with holiday-related activities in three categories (services, Torah study, and thematic/experiential) run by Judaic educators, interspersed with time for supervised free play.

All children, regardless of whether they are attending the children’s program or babysitting, must be registered to attend Segulah High Holidays.  In order to participate in children’s programming, you MUST sign up by 11:59 PM ET on Saturday, September 10, 2022.  You will be given an opportunity to indicate the time(s) at which your child(ren) will participate in children’s programming or babysitting during registration.

Q: Who will be teaching the program for the 6 through 12 year olds?

A: You can read the bios of our teachers by clicking here.

Q: Will there be a break in the afternoon on Yom Kippur?

A: Yes, but not a long one – probably an hour or so.  The reason for this is so that we can start at 9:15 (rather than any earlier), to make it possible for more people to be present at the beginning.  However, it’s not rude to walk in and out of services throughout the day, so feel free to take your own break whenever you like! To support those in our community commemorating loved ones during the Yizkor service, please consider staying inside for this portion of the services, unless it is your custom.

Q: What do people wear to Segulah high holiday services?

A: There are several different approaches to Yom Kippur attire, and all will be represented at Segulah.  Some people will be dressed up in their finest; others will be wearing all white; others will arrive on Tuesday night wearing the same clothes they wore to work on Tuesday.  Many people have the practice of not wearing leather shoes, perfume, and/or jewelry on Yom Kippur.

Likewise, for Rosh Hashanah, some people will wear the same thing they would wear to Segulah on Shabbat, and other people will dress up more.

Some people wear tallitot, and others don’t.  If it is your practice to wear one, please bring your own.  We expect the supply of tallitot for attendees to borrow to be extremely limited at best.

Q: What if I don’t live in the neighborhood and I need a place to stay?

A: Due to the pandemic, Segulah is not facilitating hospitality (for either hosts or guests) this year, though individuals can certainly make their own arrangements.  There are also several hotels and motels at various price points within walking distance of our high holiday location.

Q: How can I learn the melodies so that I can participate?

A: At several upcoming Segulah events, we’ll be learning high holiday melodies together, so that we can prepare to enter the holidays as a community.  Make sure you’re on the Segulah email list so you can get the details about these events.  We’ve also posted links to some of the melodies on the website, so start listening!