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B’nai Sholom Counts Down to Rosh Hashanah with Free Festival, Open House, Themed Services

Month-long Series to Lead Up to High Holy Days

                B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany launches “Countdown to Rosh Hashanah,” a month-long series of events, themed Shabbat services and a potluck dinner designed to enrich the experience of the upcoming High Holy Days.

The countdown begins with “A Day at B’nai” family festival and open house Sunday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the synagogue, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany.  It is free and open to all.

A bounce house, games and crafts, face painting, social action project, music and dancing and refreshments guarantee a fun time for all ages.  Festival-goers can tour the synagogue and learn about B’nai Sholom’s warm and welcoming ritual life from Rabbi Donald P. Cashman.  President Barbara Devore and representatives of the membership committee will be on hand to offer information about becoming part of the congregation.

B’nai Sholom’s Countdown to Rosh Hashanah begins with the new moon preceding the Jewish New Year.  In keeping with the day’s tradition, Rabbi Cashman will sound the shofar, or ram’s horn, at 11:45 a.m. using his collection of horns gathered over 40 years. 

                The festival will be followed by a series of services and a potluck dinner to deepen connections with Judaism’s sacred season:

  • Friday, Aug. 17, 8 p.m.: Learners’ Service – Preparing for the Days of Awe by increasing the understanding of the flow of the service and the important additions to it on the Holidays.
  • Friday, Aug. 24, 8 p.m.: Themes of the Days of Awe – What’s the focus on during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?
  • Saturday, Aug. 25, 6:30 p.m.: Potluck Dinner – Bring a Rosh Hashanah dish and share stories of food and family;
  • Friday, Aug. 31, 8 p.m.: Music of the Days of Awe – Getting reacquainted with the seasonal tunes, their stories and their significance and, perhaps, learning something new;
  • Saturday, Sept. 1, 9 p.m.: Selichot – The late-night penitential service prior to Rosh Hashanah;
  • Friday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m.: Are We Ready? – A service that ties everything together on the final Shabbat of the year.

The services and potluck are open to all.

                “Preparing for the High Holy Days has never been so user-friendly: fun, food and a refresher in the meanings, ritual and music,” said Rabbi Cashman.  “Please join us for one or all of these events and services.”

B’nai Sholom offers visitors and guests the opportunity to attend High Holy Day services at no charge either as guest of a congregation member or simply by contacting the synagogue office.  Guests also may enjoy B’nai Sholom’s reception after the Rosh Hashanah evening service, lunch at a congregant’s home after Rosh Hashanah morning service and the break-fast following the concluding service on Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset Sunday, Sept. 9.

Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region, creating a vibrant Jewish present that links ancient traditions with the promise of the future.  Nearly 130 diverse households from eight counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.

For more information, visit  or contact the B’nai Sholom office: 518-482-5283 or

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420 Whitehall Road, Albany, NY 12208
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