Shalom and Welcome to HBT – for the High Holy Days and beyond!

We would like to extend a warm invitation to you and your friends and family to join with us for the High Holy Days this year at Temple Hillel B’nai Torah. You may have visited us once or twice or have friends in our congregation. If so, you know that for a small shul, we provide a wide variety of programs that support our principles of Avodah, Torah, Havurah and Tikkun Olam. Our programming reflects the passionate commitment of our members and the diverse nature of our community, which is welcoming to the LBGT community, multi-racial families and interfaith couples.

Nowhere is this more true than in our observance of the Yamim Nora’im, the Awesome Days, otherwise known as the High Holy Days. In our unique Reconstructionist services, Rabbi Barbara Penzner serves as cantor as well as rabbi, leading us in uplifting song. A number of HBT members will assist in leading and speaking during the services. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the musaf service (which follows the Torah service) will feature an original, creative program developed by a group of congregants. Through the participation of our community members throughout the holidays, we create a strong sense of havurah, community and fellowship.

During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, our building buzzes with activity, all intended to bring reflection and renewal to our otherwise busy lives. Every service and program seeks to bring meaning to the New Year and to infuse each of us with gratitude, uplift, and inner peace. We offer programming for children from infants to teenagers on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur day. During the break on Yom Kippur afternoon, we offer yoga, meditation and  discussion.

We hope that you will accept our invitation to pray/daven/worship with us this year. Whether you are near or far, we hope that you will consider yourself a part of HBT. We believe that we have something very special here at HBT and you are our best ambassadors for letting the Jewish world of greater Boston in on our secret.

Please use this link to let us know you will be joining us for High Holiday services.  If you have any questions, please call the Temple Office at (617) 323-0486.  Best wishes for a summer of renewal and relaxation, and for a peaceful, healthy, and joyful New Year!


Rabbi Barbara Penzner

Jean Weinberg and Jan Snitzer (Co-Presidents)

Non-members, register HERE for High Holy Days services




@ Temple Hillel Bnai Torah


SELICHOT: Preparing for the High Holy Days

Saturday, September 24th 8pm - 10pm @ Congregation Dorshei Tzedek and Shir Hadash

Selichot ushers in the week leading up to Rosh Hashanah.With Selichot we intensify our efforts toward teshuvah, “turning” or repentance.  Join with other Reconstructionists for a unique evening of study, song and prayer

 ROSH HASHANAH:  Welcoming the New Year 5777

Our services offer food for the heart and mind, filled with music and based on traditional Hebrew prayers (with poetic translations), using the innovative Renew Our Days machzor (prayerbook for the High Holy Days).

Erev Rosh Hashanah:

Sunday, October 2nd 6:30pm - 7:30pm

We welcome the New Year with music and storytelling.

Stephanie Sher will lead with the Rabbi; Rich Moche will teach a Sephardi piyyut for a new beginning to the year.

First Day of Rosh Hashanah:

Monday, October 3rd 9:30am - 1:15pm

Programming for children (toddlers through 7th grade) begins at 10:15 am and ends at 12:15.

At 9:30 Tracy Rich will open the sanctuary service with fifteen minutes of chanting in the sanctuary.

The Rabbi’s sermon “A Moral Revolution for Change” will take place at 11:15.

At 11:45, children join adults for a story and the sounding of the shofar. After the Torah service,

Steve Snitzer will lead a creative Musaf (afternoon) service with the Rabbi, with lots more shofar blasts.

Tashlich:  Rosh Hashanah “Recess”

Monday, October 3rd 5pm

Tashlich is the custom of symbolically releasing our transgressions and cast bread crumbs to help us throw off that which holds us back from complete teshuvah. Get out of your seat and work off your holiday meal! Bring your family, your friends, your dogs, a few bread crumbs, and enjoy the ritual and the fresh air by the Charles River.   We meet by the boat launch at Millenium Park off VFW Parkway in West Roxbury until 6pm.

Second Day of Rosh Hashanah:

Tuesday, October 4th 9:30am - 1pm

Our second day observance offers different approaches to prayer, including group aliyot to the Torah for everyone and interactive study and prayers. Shelley Stevens will lead the Musaf service with the Rabbi.

Shabbat Shuvah: Shabbat Shuvah/Shabbat connecting Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur

Saturday, October 8th 10am – 12noon

On this special Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we include prayers and melodies from the High Holy Days and encourage introspection on the themes of the High Holy Days.

YOM KIPPUR: The Day of Atonement

One day a year we devote to reviewing our lives: where we have been, where we are, and charting a course for where we want to go. In our congregation we follow the tradition to dress entirely in white during Yom Kippur. Many refrain from wearing leather, especially leather shoes. In body and mind, we seek ways to return to our Source and be renewed. Be sure to join us for the closing of Yom Kippur for Neilah and the final shofar blasts.

Kol Nidre: Evening Service

Tuesday, October 11th 6 pm – 8:15pm (Doors will close at 6:15pm for the Kol Nidre prayer)

Kol Nidre, the prayer of release from vows, is traditionally said before sunset.  We will start the service promptly at 6; please plan to arrive a few minutes early.   This is the one service of the entire year when a tallit (prayer shawl) is worn in the evening. Bring your own tallit or use one provided by the congregation. We will put the tallit on together as a community at the start of the service. Lev Mamuya will play cello. We close the doors to provide more focus on the haunting Kol Nidre prayer, which is sung through three times as the temple leaders hold the white Torah scrolls. The temple co-presidents will reflect on the temple community in the past year and invite you to support our unique congregation. Susannah Sirkin will offer reflections while the Rabbi chants the evening service. The Rabbi’s sermon will be “Breaking Down Walls with Love.”

Yom Kippur Day:  Rising Above our Material Needs to Attain a New Spiritual Level

Wednesday, October 12th 9:30am - 1:30pm

Programming for children (toddlers through 7th grade) begins at 10:15 am and ends at 12:15.

Rich Moche will lead us in a Sephardi melody toward the end of the morning service. At 11:45 Judith Levine will give the Personal Offering, a personal expression of the meaning of the day. At 12 noon, all the children will join the adult service for the Rabbi’s story and participate in returning the Torah to the ark.

Claudia Harris will provide reflections during the Musaf (afternoon) service, along with Rabbi Penzner. The Musaf also features a guided meditation on the theme of “Avodah,” worship.

Afternoon Mind-Body Alternatives:

Three options 2:00pm-4:00pm: Find other ways to touch your heart and mind.

Stretch your body and soul in yoga with certified yoga instructor Laurie Rotman, open your heart in meditation and chanting with Tracy Rich, or join in a discussion with the Tikkun Olam Committee about social justice issues we plan to address this year.   No experience necessary. Bring/wear comfortable clothing for yoga.

Yizkor and Mincha (afternoon service) 4:30pm-6:15 pm: Yizkor is the quiet, intimate gathering with others who have suffered losses, either recently or long ago.

Mincha features the reading of the powerful Book of Jonah, with commentary by Josh Coben and concludes with a special Martyrology service that will include an interactive part for everyone in the congregation.

Ne’ilah/Havdalah 6:15 pm-7:15pm: Ne’ilah, “the closing of the gates” is the dramatic finale of the day. We sing our hearts out as we seek one last chance for our hearts to open in prayer and for our prayers to be received with compassion. Everyone is invited to come stand on the bimah and offer private prayers before the open ark. All ages crowd in the sanctuary to end the day with the rituals of Havdalah, followed by a communal shofar-blowing (bring your own shofar if you have one). We break the fast together at the temple before heading to…

Communal Break - Fast 7:30 pm: Members open their homes in various neighborhoods for potluck break-fast meals. This is a great way to meet temple members and neighbors. Check with the office to see who is hosting in your area. (A special break-fast for Families with Young children will be offered at an earlier time.)

And don’t miss eating in our Sukkah, and dancing at our Simchat Torah celebration, Sunday, Oct. 23 6-8pm.

 Shanah tovah umetukah—we wish you a sweet beginning to a blessed New Year!

Click the links below to access HBT's HHD schedules and events information.

  • Full High Holy Day Schedule.
  • HBT High Holy Day Info Sheet