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A Boulder Guide to High Holiday Services

The High Holidays are “late” this year (September 29-30 for Rosh Hashanah and October 8-9 for Yom Kippur), which means you still have time to get tickets! Now for the bigger question: where to go.

Boulder has many options for its diversified Jewish community. Here’s a quick synopsis – in alphabetical order – of some of the services and denominations in Boulder to help you find a good fit.

Adventure Judaism:

An alternative, innovative approach to Judaism that combines nature and ancient wisdom of Jewish traditions. Rosh Hashanah is retreat-style located in Coal Canyon, about 30-minutes from South Boulder, at Camp Granite Lake, a rustic environment (with indoor plumbing). The evening service is  held indoors, and the prayer book, replete with nature photographs, is projected on the big screen. Then, the next day, expect a hike to tashlich at lake’s edge followed by as service in an outdoor amphitheater. Leave the dress clothes in your closet, bring your friends or kids, if you have them (it’s at a camp, after all), and plan to disconnect to reconnect – there’s no Wi-Fi. The services are Reform with a mixture of Hebrew and English and include musical instruments. The catered traditional Rosh Hashanah dinner (additional fee) and breakfast (included) are not kosher. The caterer mixes milk and meat but does not serve shellfish or pork. Participants can stay overnight if they like, in lodge rooms, dorm rooms or at the campsite. Or, drive home to Boulder or Denver. For more information, click here. Yom Kippur services are held in Boulder. Kol Nidre is at Casey Middle School. The daytime observance is retreat-style at Chautauqua. You will also find family services and youth and teen programs. For more information about Yom Kippur, click here.

Congregation Bonai Shalom:

The synagogue offers traditional prayer and practice aligned with the Conservative Movement of Judaism and welcomes people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, abilities, gender identification, as well as interfaith families. High Holiday services have been carefully created to provide congregants with meaningful ways to connect to their Judaism and spirituality whether it’s through a joyous Rosh Hashanah service, a tasty community kiddush lunch, or the special Tashlich in the synagogue’s (literal) backyard. On Yom Kippur, traditional services wrap around a meaningful break of yoga, learning, and social justice. Most of the service is conducted in Hebrew and congregants can follow along with English translations in the siddur. High Holiday services for adults and young families are held at the Boulder JCC. Childcare is also available. For more information click here.

Congregation Har HaShem:

The oldest continually operating synagogue in Boulder, Congregation Har Hashem opened its doors in 1965 and started with just 35 families. Fast forward 54 years and it’s a vibrant, active part of the Reform Jewish community. The synagogue’s mission of ‘generosity, inclusion, diversity, and making the world more just’ is reflected in its many outreach programs within and outside the Boulder Jewish community. The synagogue readily accommodates people of any age who may temporarily or permanently move, hear, see, touch, think, learn, communicate, process stimuli, and/or experience emotions differently. This holds true for all the High Holiday services, which are conducted in Hebrew and English (mostly English) and held at two locations: Boulder Valley Christian Church (full congregation and childcare for children under 9 yrs. on Day 1 Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur), and Har HaShem (family services for K-6 grade on Day 1 Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and second day of Rosh Hashanah). For more information, click here.

Nevei Kodesh:

Using the full power of sacred music, embodied practice, mindful intention and ancient liturgy, Nevei Kodesh creates High Holy Day services that are direct gateways to divine experience. Committed to the renewal of Judaism as a transformative spiritual pathway in the 21st century, and grounded in a feminist, earth-centered, ecumenical, holistic paradigm, this community aims both to inspire and support spiritual development, and to connect people more deeply with one another. Services feature a custom-made prayer-book filled with prayers that are easy to follow (often with a phrase of Hebrew (plus phonetics) and one of English), as well as a projector screen and world-class worship band supporting several hundred voices raised in prayer and song. Most services – except for the second day of Rosh Hashanah – are held at the Unity of Boulder Spiritual Center, 2855 Folsom, which along with a beautiful sanctuary also provides an outdoor creek-side prayer space (used by the whole group during morning services), a sacred labyrinth, and numerous rooms for meditation, chanting, yoga, and teen and children’s programming, which continue in parallel to adult services throughout the holy days. Day two of Rosh Hashanah is held in the mountains at the spectacular Shoshoni retreat center, and advance registration is recommended as this smaller service always sells out. All holidays and locations include children’s programming, which is mostly free with advance registration. Community services are open to all, and financial contributions are sought to help cover costs. No one will be turned away for lack of funds, and those on limited incomes are invited to contact Nevei Kodesh in advance to make arrangements and feel more comfortable at the door. For more information, click here.

Pardes Levavot:

Pardes Levavot is a small Jewish renewal congregation, proud of its unparalleled intimacy, and guided by a vision of holy community. High Holiday services, which are offered free of charge and held in our Sanctuary, reflect the values we hold dear:

  • Curiosity: We create a safe space for creatively and deeply exploring Judaism
  • Open Doors: We welcome all seekers, regardless of formal religious affiliation
  • Bridging Generations: We welcome children of all ages and their unique energy in our services
  • Deep Ecumenism:Inspired by our beloved Reb Zalman z‘‘l, we delight in having shared this home with Shepherd of The Hills Lutheran Church for 14 years, lovingly affirming each other‘s identities and spiritually growing together
  • Collaborative Leadership:We have all been called, in some way, to the work of building and sustaining holy community

For more information, click here.

About Stacey Rosenbaum

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2 comments

  1. CU Chabad also will be having services. https://www.jewishcu.com/templates/section_cdo/ai

  2. Good Yuntif S.F. – Ben