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Holidays at Beth Sholom


High Holiday Season ♦ Chanukah

Tu B'Shevat ♦ Purim  ♦ Pesach (Passover)

Lag Ba'Omer ♦ Shavuot ♦ Tisha B'Av


High Holiday Season

Click here for the 2018 High Holiday Schedule.

The High Holiday Season begins with Selichot and continues through the last Hakafah of Simchat Torah. Readings, prayers, teachings, and music are all part of the observance. There are special programs for children, teens, and adults as well. Free babysitting is available, although reservations are required.

Selichot – Creative programming to energize our reflection as we move into the days of awe.

Rosh HaShanah - The two-day celebration of the New Year. It also marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance leading up to Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement is considered the most holy day of the year. It is marked by prayer and fasting. The service includes prayers for forgiveness, for health, and well-being during the coming year, and Yizkor, the memorial prayers for departed loved ones.  Between the morning service and mincha, an afternoon symposium featuring a prominent Memphian or thought leader is held and is open to the community.

Sukkot - The holiday of Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur. The synagogue’s Sukkah is adorned with fall decorations to recall the days of old when we lived in shelters in the field during the harvest. Morning services are held both days of the holiday.

Sh'mini Atzeret - The eighth day of Sukkot is called Sh'mini Atzeret (the eighth day of solemn assembly). On this festival, the congregation offers a special prayer for rain. In the ancient world, Sh'mini Atzeret often fell at the end of the dry season, so the prayer for rain looked forward to good crops for the coming year.

Simchat Torah - This festival falls on the ninth and final day of Sukkot, and marks the completion of the yearly cycle of Torah readings (Parshiot). There is abundant opportunity to dance around the synagogue holding every Sefer Torah in our Aron Kodesh.  


Chanukah is a joyous holiday, celebrating a great victory for religious freedom won by Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, more than two thousand years ago. The word Chanukah means "dedication," as the victors purified and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem. Traditions include eating foods fried in oil, such as potato pancakes (latkes) and doughnuts (sufganiyot). Beth Sholom has a vibrant array of fun and delicious programming.

Tu B’Shevat

The “Jewish Arbor Day,” which typically falls in January or February, is the Jewish new year for trees. Beth Sholom holds a Tu B’Shevat seder to celebrate the bounty that trees provide.


On the eve of Purim in the synagogue there is lively chanting of the Book of Esther (the Megillah). At every mention of Haman's name, everyone stamps and claps and makes as much noise as possible. The next morning we pray in gratitude for the triumph over hatred and have the opportunity of reading the Megillah observing the mitzvah. 

Pesach (Passover)

We gather four times for Passover services: the first, second, seventh, and eighth days. Yitzkor is observed on the eighth day. Programs such as matzo-making and chocolate Seders are popular among children and adults alike.

Lag Ba’Omer

Starting the second night of Pesach until Shavuot, there is the Counting of the Omer, saying a special blessing each day. The Counting of the Omer lasts 49 days and it is a solemn time during which we refrain from celebrations, dancing, and haircuts. On the 33rd day of the Omer, we take a break from this routine. So, on Lag B’Omer (which stands for 33rd of the Omer), Beth Sholom celebrates with a community picnic. Each year, we also conduct our annual blood drive.


While Passover marks the freedom of the Jewish people from bondage, Shavuot commemorates the gift of the Torah to us, thus freeing us spiritually. It is customary to start the holiday with prayer and an evening of study, as well as to eat a dairy meal. At Beth Sholom, Shavuot is celebrated with special programming, prayer, and cheesecake and ice cream.

Tisha B’Av

Literally translated as the ninth of Av (the Hebrew month), Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning and remembering the destruction of the first and second Temples and other misfortunes. It is a fast day, and the book of Lamentations in read as part of the festival service.

Fri, September 30 2022 5 Tishrei 5783