High Holy Days Observances Return to Temple Mizpah

The Temple Mizpah schedule for High Holy Days observances follow. Unless otherwise noted, services will be at the temple, 849 Chestnut St..
Monday, Sept. 6:
7 p.m. service
Tuesday, Sept. 7:
9:30 a.m. service; lunch at noon
Sunday, Sept. 12:
10 a.m. Elmwood Memorial Park cemetery service led by Marc Orner
Wednesday, Sept. 15:
7 p.m. Kol Nidre service
Thursday, Sept. 16:
9:30 a.m. service
3:30 p.m. Yizkor service; 6 p.m. Break the Fast


The High Holy Days will be observed in person this year by members of Temple Mizpah, a year after COVID forced Cantor Monica O’Desky to create a virtual experience.

Observances also will be streamed this year, O’Desky said, so that members will have a choice. The High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and end ten days later with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Jewish calendar is lunar-based, so holy day observances occur at different times each year. This year’s High Holy Days are beginning early, with Rosh Hashanah oberved Monday evening, Sept. 6, through Wednesday evening, Sept. 8. Services are scheduled Monday and Tuesday at Temple Mizpah. 

Monica J. O’Desky

In an email interview for a previous Spirit of Abilene article, O’Desky said that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the bookends of a period of introspection.

“I think of this time almost like you can look at a tax return,” O’Desky wrote.

A time of introspection may not be as neat as a tax return, she wrote, but should be a time to examine what you did with your life the previous year. What worked well and what didn’t? 

“What should I carry forward to the new year and what actions, traits, attitudes should I leave behind?” are questions to ponder, O’Desky wrote. Also, each person should ask whether an apology is owed to someone and then carry that out.

“We are required to ask for forgiveness from others three times,” O’Desky wrote, “but they are not required to forgive us.” 

Often left out, but important, O’Desky wrote, are actions and attitudes for the self. Did I do enough self-care? Was I overindulgent? Am I treating myself as a being made b’tzelem Elohim–in the image of God?

“We remember those who came before us and those whose lives enable us to reach this time and hope to be worthy of their efforts,” O’Desky wrote. “It’s a complicated time that causes many mixed emotions.”

Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene

Top photo credit: Photo credit: slgckgc on Visual Hunt / CC BY

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