PJ Library High Holiday Events and Resources

Celebrate the Fall Holidays with PJ Library!

The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) on Sunday, September 25th, at sundown. For the following week, Jewish families around the world will gather to celebrate these occasions with services, symbolic foods, hearing the shofar and gathering with family and friends. These “Days of Awe” culminate with Yom Kippur (the day of atonement), but then celebrations continue with Sukkot (the feast of booths), Shemini Atzeret (featuring prayers for rain in Israel) and Simchat Torah (“rejoicing in the Torah”).

We hope that you will join one of these great community events from our partners that celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah. (Click the holiday names to skip to the program listing for that holiday.)

 

apples and honey on a table Rosh Hashanah (“The Head of the Year”)

Starts Sunday, September 25th (sundown), ending at nightfall on Tuesday, September 27th

Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a ram’s horn blown like a trumpet), and eating apples or round raisin challah dipped in honey—both symbolizing sweetness and the circular nature of starting the year over.

Another aspect of the Days of Awe (Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur) is tashlich (“casting off”). Small pieces of bread are tossed into flowing water, such as a creek or river, symbolically casting off our sins. The common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is “L’Shana Tova,” which in Hebrew means, “(have) a good year.”

girl blowing a shofar Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”)

Starts Tuesday, October 4th (sundown)

According to Jewish tradition, fervent prayer and honest soul searching lead to repentance and forgiveness. With genuine reflection, we can get the gift of a clean slate for the new year. Therefore, Yom Kippur is a day of prayer and introspection, observed through fasting and attending services.

Find a Family-Friendly Holiday Service

For additional High Holiday services, check out the Jconnect list of services throughout the community, open to families who aren’t members of a congregation.

Past Events

Military Mitzvah HH Card square Military Mitzvah Card Project

PJ Library and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington are partnering with local families to send High Holiday cards to Jewish military stationed in Alaska and all over the world! Sign up to send a card by September 2nd or 12th!

Pick with PJ

Sunday, September 11th | 2:00-4:00 PM
Two locations: Stribling Orchard in Markham, VA

Head to the apple orchard to pick fresh, delicious apples for Rosh Hashanah and Grandparents Day! We’ll celebrate together outside as we pick apples, have professional family photos taken, read stories, and do a mitzvah project (making cards for Jewish military service members and donating apples to the local food bank).

This program is a collaboration of The Jewish Federation, PJ Library, and Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia.

Rosh Hashanah Park Playdate (Woodbridge)

Wednesday, September 14th | 2:00-4:00 PM
Harbor Drive Wellness Park (13030 Harbord Dr, Woodbridge)

Buzz on over to the new bee themed playground in Woodbridge and visit with the bees and Pozez JCC’s Tracy! She will have honey sticks, Rosh Hashanah stories and some buzzy fun.

Apple Picking with Bethesda Jewish Congregation

Sunday, September 18th | 10:00 AM
Homestead Farm (15604 Sugarland Road, Poolesville, MD)

Join Bethesda Jewish Congregation and the BJC Religious School for a pre-High Holy Day Apple Picking at Homestead Farm. Meet at 10am by the covered picnic tables for a short pre-holiday reflection discussion with Rabbi Eric Abbott. Family friendly. Open to all individuals and families. Interfaith and LGBTQ+ welcome.

Day of Awesome

Sunday, September 18th | 10:00 AM–2:00 PM
Edlavitch DCJCC (1529 16th St NW, DC)

Join us in the EDCJCC Parking Lot for our annual Day of Awesome event featuring live music from children’s entertainer Auntie A, dancing, instruments, yoga; Rosh Hashanah-themed arts and crafts stations; story time featuring books about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; and snacks and drinks.

Tashlich and Picnic Lunch at Ben Brenman Park in Alexandria

Sunday, September 18th | 11:00 AM
Ben Brenman Park Congregation (4800 Brenman Park Dr, Alexandria)

Join Agudas Achim for tashlich to prepare for the Days of Awe. We’ll think about the ways in which we missed the mark this year and the ways we can try to do better next year. Stay and play on the playground after the event. Bring breadcrumbs and a picnic lunch.

Young Families Apple Picking

Sunday, September 18th | 11:00 AM
Hollin Farms (1524 Snowden Road, Delaplane, VA)

Join Olam Tikvah Young Families for a fun day in the orchard. We’ll pick apples for Rosh Hashanah, plus potatoes, gourds, and squash. Visit hollinfarms.com for more information about Hollin Farms and what’s in season. Pack a picnic blanket and lunch to stay for lunch.

Apples in the Campfire: A Rosh Hashanah Gathering

Sunday, September 18th | 3:30 PM
Harbor Drive Wellness Park (13030 Harbord Dr, Woodbridge)

Rosh Hashanah is almost here, celebrate with Danielle and Melissa and the Pozez JCC at Lacey Woods Park! Bake some apples in the campfire (with toppings!), have campfire stories, play some games, and have a New Year good time!

Tot Sized Taste of Rosh Hashanah

Sunday, September 18th | 4:00 PM
Congregation Beth El (8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda)

Congregation Beth El, Beth El Preschool and PJ Library invite you to join on Sunday, September 18, at 4:00 pm for a fun FREE afternoon program celebrating Rosh Hashanah! All tots and their adults are welcome to join for age appropriate activities where we will learn about and experience the fun in the Jewish New Year. RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

Pick with PJ graphic with apples and owlsPick with PJ

POSTPONED TO Sunday, October 2nd | 2:00-4:00 PM
Waters Orchard in Germantown, MD

Head to the apple orchard to pick fresh, delicious apples for Rosh Hashanah and Grandparents Day! We’ll celebrate together outside as we pick apples, have professional family photos taken, read stories, and do a mitzvah project (making cards for Jewish military service members and donating apples to the local food bank). Register for the Maryland location.

This program is a collaboration of The Jewish Federation, PJ Library, Bender JCC, Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia, Edlavitch DCJCC, and Shaare Torah.

Bim Bom Bags: Fall Flavors

Order by Tuesday, September 20th
$18 per bag, or $75 for all five bags in the series

Bim Bom Bags are the perfect way to bring Jewish holidays and celebrations into your home with learning, crafts, snacks, and more. This year we are offering a series of five bags! Buy all five or choose the ones that appeal to you. When you sign up, we will hand-deliver (in Northern Virginia or Montgomery County) Jewish-themed arts & crafts activities to your door to work on independently with your child(ren).
High Holidays: Buy your bag by Tuesday 9/20 for delivery on Friday 9/23; the online gathering is on Thursday 9/29.

MD families sign up with the Bender JCCGW

VA families sign up with the Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia

Rosh Hashanah Park Playdate (Fairfax)

Tuesday, September 20th | 2:00 PM
Van Dyck Park (3720 Old Lee Hwy, Fairfax)

Buzz on over to Van Dyck park where there is a honeycomb to climb in and visit with the bees and Pozez JCC’s Tracy! She will have honey sticks, Rosh Hashanah stories and some buzzy fun.

Rosh Hashanah Family Jam

Saturday, September 24th | 11:00 AM
Congregation Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim (1840 University Boulevard West, Silver Spring)

Learn about Rosh Hashanah through music, yoga, percussion instruments, crafts and much more with Auntie A.

West End Farmers Market

Sunday, September 25th | 8:30 AM–1:00 PM
Ben Brenman Park Congregation (4800 Brenman Park Dr, Alexandria)

Stop by the PJ Library, Pozez JCC, and Agudas Achim table at the West End Farmers Market when you’re shopping for Rosh Hashanah apples and other foods! We’ll have a holiday craft, giveaways, and more!

High Holy Days at Temple Shalom

Sunday, September 25th–Monday, September 26th | Times Vary
Temple Shalom (8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase)

Join Temple Shalom for tot and youth services for Rosh Hashanah (September 25th and 26th).

Apples and HoneyFest

Sunday, September 25th | 5:00 PM
Shaare Torah Congregation (1409 Main Street, Gaithersburg) 

Join Shaare Torah for a  new Erev Rosh Hashanah program led by Rabbi Annie Lewis & Rabbi Yosef Goldman with a live band.  Bring a meal for your family,  lounge on the lawn and enjoy music and drinks for the season.  The concert will be followed by Maariv.

Apples and Honeys

Monday, September 26th | 10-11:30 AM
Bender JCC (6125 Montrose Rd, Rockville)

Celebrate the Jewish New Year (outside and in-person) with your little ones at a program that is designed just for them! Join early childhood music specialist Lisa Baydush for a 45-minute kid-friendly, music-filled Rosh Hashanah morning. After the music program, we encourage you and your family to stay for a service project to support families in Montgomery County. Register in advance.

Rosh Hashanah Services with Young Families

Monday, September 26th | 10:30 AM
Tuesday, September 27th | 10:30 AM
Agudas Achim Congregation (2908 Valley Dr, Alexandria)

Join Morah Ariel for a Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach Family Service on both days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. We’ll gather in the tent outdoors and move indoors only in case of inclement weather. We’ll sing, pray, and snack together, all while making new friends and celebrating a sweet new year! Best for children birth to age 5 with their caregiver. Older siblings welcome. Open to the entire community. YOU are welcome! Please join us!

Rosh Hashana Family Service and Tashlich

Monday, September 26th | 1:00-3:30 PM
Cabin John Picnic Area (7701 Tuckerman Ln, Potomac)

All families are invited to join the Bethesda Jewish Congregation community for a Rosh Hashanah experience including lunch, Ttshlich, and an outdoor family Rosh Hashanah Service. Lunch and Tashlich begin at 1pm. Family service begins at 2:30pm. All families are welcome including interfaith and LGBTQ+.

Yom Kippur Family Services

Wednesday, October 5th | 9:00 AM
Temple Beth Torah (4212-C Technology Court, Chantilly)

Join Temple Beth Torah for our Yom Kippur family service at our Reform congregation in Chantilly, VA. FREE, RSVP Requested.

I’m Sorry Day

Wednesday, October 5th | 10-11:30 AM
Bender JCC (6125 Montrose Rd, Rockville)

Teaching your little ones to say “I’m sorry” is a great way to begin explaining the holiday of Yom Kippur. Join the Bender JCC (outside and in-person) with early childhood music specialist Lisa Baydush for a 45-minute family-filled morning where we will explain this holiday in a tot-friendly musical way. Register in advance.

High Holy Days at Temple Shalom

Wednesday, October 5th | 2:00 PM
Temple Shalom (8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase)

Join Temple Shalom for a community family service and dramatic teen presentation of Jonah.

Yom Kippur Services with Young Families

Wednesday, October 5th | 10:30 AM
Agudas Achim Congregation (2908 Valley Dr, Alexandria)

Join Morah Ariel for a Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach Family Service on both days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. We’ll gather in the tent outdoors and move indoors only in case of inclement weather. We’ll sing, pray, and snack together, all while making new friends and celebrating a sweet new year! Best for children birth to age 5 with their caregiver. Older siblings welcome. Open to the entire community. YOU are welcome! Please join us!

Happy Sukkot header

Please see the registration and information pages for each event for details about social distancing and Covid safety.

Sukkot (“Feast of Booths”)

Starts Sunday, October 9th (sundown) and ends at nightfall, Sunday, October 16th

The holiday of Sukkot is named after the booths or huts in which Jews are supposed to eat and sometimes sleep during this week-long festival. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav (a frond from a date palm tree, tied with branches of the willow and myrtle trees) and etrog (yellow citron).

Shemini Atzeret (“Eighth Day of Assembly”)

Starts Sunday, October 16th (sundown)

The distinguishing feature of Shemini Atzeret is the prayer for rain. Rain and water are key to survival in the Middle East, from the days of the Israelites through today. If you want to learn more about it, you can read Maya Prays for Rain by Susan Tarcov, the first PJ Library book about this little-known holiday!

Simchat Torah (“Rejoicing with the Torah”)

Starts Monday, October 17th (sundown), ending at nightfall on Tuesday, October 18th

Simchat Torah is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. It takes place in the synagogue, with reading and joyous dancing and singing.

Parking Lot Sukkah Family Design Challenge

Sunday, October 2nd | 10:00 AM
Charles E Smith Jewish Day School (Lower School, 1901 East Jefferson Street, Rockville)

Get into the spirit of Sukkot by bringing your family to the CESJDS STEM Center’s Parking Lot Sukkah Family Design Challenge. Children (preschool – 5th grade) will hear different PJ Library books read by engaging CESJDS students and faculty. Then, we will dive into designing and building your own mini-Sukkah with your family using recycled materials such as cardboard and newspaper.

Fairlington Farmers Market

Sunday, October 9th | 9:00 AM–1:00 PM
Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street, Arlington)

Stop by the PJ Library, Pozez JCC, and Agudas Achim table at the West End Farmers Market to kick off your Sukkot celebrations with a craft, story, giveaways, and more!

Capital Jewish Food Festival

Sunday, October 9th | 11:00 AM–4:00 PM
F Street, between 2nd and 3rd Streets, NW, Washington, DC

Enjoy a wide variety of foods from local restaurants while learning about DC’s Jewish culinary scene and engaging with organizations fighting for food justice and sustainability. Highlights include tasting samples, cooking demonstrations, interactive workshops, headline speaker Michael Twitty, and more.

Celebrate Sukkot with Young Families of Agudas Achim in Alexandria

Sunday, October 9th | 3:30 PM
Agudas Achim Congregation (2908 Valley Dr, Alexandria)

Morah Jen will share her book The Stars Will Be My Nightlight: A Sukkot Story, published by Kar-Ben. We’ll decorate the sukkah and make a Stars craft to take home. We’ll share a snack, play some games, and sing and dance in the sukkah.

Community Festival, Sukkot Services and Lunch at Temple Shalom

Monday, October 10th | 2:00 PM
Temple Shalom (8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase)

Celebrate Sukkot with your family at Temple Shalom!

Sukkah Hop with Pozez JCC’s Growing Jewish Families

Sunday, October 9th – Sunday, October 16th | times vary
Locations in Northern Virginia (see link for details)

Join Pozez JCC’s Growing Jewish Families and the rest of Northern Virginia’s Jewish community to celebrate Sukkot (the Festival of Booths) at sukkahs around the area. At each stop, we’ll explore together the holiday of Sukkot through stories, crafts and more. Have your Sukkot Hop Passport stamped to be entered to win prizes.

Sukkah Hop Dates and Locations:

  • Sun, Oct. 9 @ 3:30pm, Agudas Achim Congregation, 2908 Valley Dr., Alexandria
  • Wed, Oct. 12 @ 9:30am, Gesher Jewish Day School, 4800 Mattie Moore Ct., Fairfax
  • Wed, Oct. 12 @ 5:30pm, Chabad of Loudoun, Ashburn
  • Thur, Oct. 13 @ 5pm, Pozez JCC, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax
  •  NEW DATE: Wed, Oct 19 @ 6pm, Chabad of Arlington and Alexandria, 1307 N Highland St, Arlington
  • Fri, Oct. 14 @ 1:30pm, Congregation Adat Reyim, 6500 Westbury Oaks Ct., Springfield
  • Sun, Oct. 16 @ 10:30am. Temple Beth Torah, 4212 Technology Ct, Chantilly
  • Sun, Oct. 16 @ 12:30pm, Congregation Beth Emeth, 12523 Lawyers Rd, Herndon

Teddy Bear Sleepover at Gesher JDS

Wednesday, October 12th | 9:30 AM
Gesher Jewish Day School (4800 Mattie Moore Ct, Fairfax)

Bring your favorite fuzzy friend (bears, bunnies, dogs and cats, all stuffies are welcome!) to have a sleep over at the Pozez JCC or Gesher Jewish Day School. Drop them off at the Sukkah Hop on Wednesday October 12th at 9:30 am at Gesher JDS or on Thursday October 13th at 5:00pm at the Pozez JCC. Your stuffie will spend the night being pampered and entertained (we will send you a link to the pictures so you can see all the fun they had!) and you can pick them up the next morning (if you need to arrange a later pickup time, please let us know). They may even come home with a special surprise friend for their stuffie!

Teddy Bear Sleepover at Pozez JCC

Thursday, October 13th | 5:00 PM
Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia (8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax)

See Teddy Bear Sleepover description above.

Sukkah Village: Pizza in the Hut

Friday, October 14th | 5:45 PM
Bender JCC (6125 Montrose Rd, Rockville)

This year Sukkah Village is a “Pizza in the Hut” Celebration! Each family will get a Pizza Party Pack of dinner, dessert, and drinks. After our time in the sukkah, we will move under the stars to enjoy a family-friendly movie on our outdoor movie screen. Register in advance.

B’nai Ahava: Schmooze in the Sukka

Friday, October 14th | 6:30 PM
Bet Mishpachah meets at the Edlavitch DCJCC (1529 Sixteenth Street NW, DC)

B’nai Ahava (community of love) aims to bring together LGBTQ+ Jewish youth quarterly for an hour of schmoozing. Following the schmoozing hour, attendees are able to stay for Bet Mishpachah’s Friday Night Services starting at 8 PM.

Community Playhouse Build

Sunday, October 16th | 9:00 AM-3:00 PM
Bender JCC (6125 Montrose Rd, Rockville)

Create a team of 8 and join Bender JCC’s Delivering Good Network and Habitat for Humanity Maryland for a community-wide playhouse build! This Sukkot, help ensure our local children have a safe place to play. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Teams are required to raise a minimum of $2,400 to to offset the cost of materials and supervision and to benefit Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership programs and services.

Tot Erev Simchat Torah at Temple Shalom

Sunday, October 16th | 5:15 PM
Temple Shalom (8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase)

Celebrate the start of Simchat Torah with your family at Temple Shalom with musical and joyful services, followed by dinner in our Big Tent!  Register for dinner (either potluck or catered pizza) at the above link. Chag Sameach (happy holiday)!

Erev Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret at Oseh Shalom

Sunday, October 16th | 6:15–7:30 PM
Oseh Shalom (7515 Olive Branch Way, Laurel)

Join us for dancing, Klezmer music, and unrolling the Torah with the community. There will be a special opportunity for children to ask questions about our Oseh Torah. Come at 5:00 PM for pizza and salad or join via Zoom.

Family-Friendly Events Cosponsored by PJ Library in Greater Washington

Musical Kabbalat Shabbat

Friday, December 9, 2022 | 6:15 pm - 7:30 pm

Wheelchair Accessible

Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach Shabbat Family Jam

Saturday, December 10, 2022 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Wheelchair Accessible

Chanukah Havdalah in Pajamas

Saturday, December 10, 2022 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Wheelchair Accessible

Tots Program – Chanukah Music, Movement and Services

Sunday, December 11, 2022 | 11:00 am - 11:30 am

Wheelchair Accessible
Great Hanukkah Escape graphic with title and pictures of dreidels and locks

The Great Hanukkah Escape

Sunday, December 11, 2022 | 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Wheelchair Accessible

Chanukah with Grandfriends

Tuesday, December 13, 2022 | 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Grown-up & Me: Guided Chat and Play Series

Thursday, December 15, 2022 | 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Wheelchair Accessible

BJC’s Hanukkah Celebration!

Friday, December 16, 2022 | 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Wheelchair Accessible