Join us for a High Holiday season like no other.  More than ever, this is the year to come together in community and in relationship. 

Please check the schedule below for our full listing of services and activities, starting in early Elul (Aug. 23).  And be sure to register so we can send you the Zoom links for our online services.  Donations are gratefully appreciated.  You may wish to order a prayerbook or flowers, or to contribute to our Yizkor slideshow.  And please let us know if you can volunteer to help. 

Click below to reach the Registration/Order form, or to download a copy and mail it in.  For all questions, please contact our coordinator Janet Braun at

Starting on August 23, join Hazzan Ramón Tasat and guest leaders for a month-long exploration of the spiritual process of teshuvah/return as we examine traditional poetry and modern Israeli songs.  We’ll be on Zoom every weeknight at 8 p.m. (Sundays through Thursdays) from August 23 thru September 24 for a 20-minute dip into our spiritual traditions.  Click here for the schedule.

Selihot Service – September 12, 2020 – 8:30 pm

On the Saturday evening before Rosh Hashanah we will gather for a Havdalah service on Zoom, followed by a discussion of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s bestselling book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” in combination with Kol Ami congregation.  Our Selihot service will begin approximately at 9:45 p.m., as we usher in the melodies and themes of the High Holiday liturgy.



Erev Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 18, 2020 – 6:30 pm R

Rabbi Gilah Langner and Hazzan Ramón Tasat lead a combined service for Shirat HaNefesh and Kol Ami Congregation.  Rabbi Gilah will be speaking about the theme of Zochreinu L’Chayim, Remember us for Life.

Rosh Hashanah, 1st Day, Sept. 19, 2020 – 10:00 am  R

Hazzan Ramón will lead services for 1st day of Rosh Hashanah.


Rosh Hashanah, 2nd Day, Sept. 20, 2020 – 10:00 am – 12:15 pm

Rabbi Gilah and Hazzan Ramón will lead a modified service on second day of Rosh Hashanah, with a Torah discussion focusing on the Akeidah/the Binding of Isaac in art and literature.  

Stay on Zoom or pop in at 12:30 for a Rosh Hashanah Sephardi Seder, with special foods and blessings. 

Tashlich and Shofar Blowing:  Jones Mill Road Park, a few meters from the intersection of Jones Mill and Levelle Drive, Chevy Chase, MD – 5:00 – 6:00 pm.  Please maintain appropriate physical distancing.

Yom Kippur, Kol Nidre, Sept. 27, 2020 – 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm   R

Kol Nidre starts before sundown and is followed by a special Yom Kippur evening service, led by Hazzan Ramón Tasat.

Services begin promptly at 6:30. Please login to Zoom services early to allow time for the host to let you in via the waiting room and so that you do not feel rushed.





Sept. 28, 2020 – 10:00 am – 7:40 pm R

Morning Service, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Yizkor, around 12:30 – 1:00 p.m.CORRECTION: 11:45 – NOON

Afternoon Programming (jointly with Kol Ami) 

  • Meditation with Jane Petkofsky, 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Text Study with Gideon Amir, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Qi Gong with Eve Soldinger, 2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Book of Jonah with Richard Ruth and the Pizza & Talmud Teens, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Teen Zoom lounge opens at 4:00 p.m.
  • Concluding the Selichot Experience with Hazzan Ramón, 4:15 – 5:15 p.m.
Minhah (Torah Reading, the Book of Jonah, and discussion)  – 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Neilah –  6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Final Shofar Blast and Havdalah  – 7:34 p.m.


Our High Holiday prayer book is Dr. Joe Rosenstein’s Machzor Eit Ratzon.  We will have the Hebrew on the Zoom screen during our services.  For translations and comments on the prayers, you might prefer to have a print version on hand.  We have a limited number of machzorim available for purchase.  Or you can borrow a copy and return it after High Holidays.  Either way, pickup is on Sept. 13, 1-2 p.m. in the circular driveway at NC4.  Please sign up on the registration form.


Support Shirat HaNefesh and add beauty to your home on the High Holidays with native flowers suitable for planting in your yard after the holiday ($24 per plant).  Deadline to place your order on the registration form:  Friday, Sept. 4.  Pickup on Sept. 13, 1-2 p.m.

Apples and Honey

Support Shirat HaNefesh and add a touch of sweetness with locally sourced, sustainably grown apples and Israeli honey ($18 per set).   Deadline to place your order on the registration form:  Friday, Sept. 4.  Pickup on Sept. 13, 1-2 p.m.

Yizkor Listing

The High Holidays call to mind our loved ones who are no longer with us.  This year we are able to offer you the opportunity to sponsor a page or multiple pages on our video scrapbook which will be shown during Yizkor, and which will also be accessible on our website.  You can upload photographs, a message and names of those whom you will be remembering. Each page in the scrapbook can take up to two photos, and costs $25.  Deadline for submissions:  Friday, Sept. 11. A link for upload will be emailed upon registration.


Volunteer as a “Zoom gabbai” to help our Zoom services run smoothly.  We will offer training beforehand.  Please sign up here for a slot.

We invite everyone to make a donation to Shirat HaNefesh in honor of High Holidays.  The suggested donation for services is $180;  please make a meaningful contribution within your means to help keep our beloved community thriving Here

All regular services will be held on Zoom in 2020.

Circumstances permitting, we will hold Tashlich and a shofar service on Sunday Sept. 20, 5-6 p.m., at Jones Mill Road Park, a few meters from Jones Mill and Levelle Drive in Chevy Chase, MD.   Please maintain physical distancing.

Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 19

Children’s Services with Carol Boyd Leon at Kol Ami  (under age 7), 10:00 to 10:30 a.m.

Children’s Services with Carol Boyd Leon at Kol Ami  (ages 7-12), 11:00 to 11:45 a.m.

Family Tashlich and Shofar Blowing, Sept. 20, 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Sign up on the Registration form for a 15-minute interval between 5 and 6 pm.

Location:  Jones Mill Road Park, a few meters from Jones Mill and Levelle Drive Chevy Chase, MD

Yom Kippur, Sept. 28

Children’s Services with Carol Boyd Leon at Kol Ami  (under age 7), 10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Children’s Services with Carol Boyd Leon at Kol Ami  (ages 7-12), 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Teen Zoom Lounge open, 4 – 6:30 p.m.

Rabbi Gilah Langner
A High Holiday Message from Rabbi Gilah Langner

I am sitting in a doctor’s office in August as I write these words – waiting a couple of hours to be seen, a little nervous about the number of people in the waiting room, a little jumpy every time someone greets a patient in a loud voice.  And I start thinking about the nurses and technicians here, the doctors and receptionists, the person at the front door taking temperatures and asking the now-usual questions.  And I think how they are here, every day doing tasks, racking up exposures they do not want, worrying about the parents with diabetes they go home to at night, or the next patient coming through the door who might not want to believe that the cough they’ve had for a week is covid.    

This year, the line from our High Holiday prayers — who shall live and who shall die — no longer feels like the high drama of a medieval romantic poet.    It feels urgent, real, agonizing.  Mi yanuach u-mi yanua?  Who gets to live in relative safety, and who must go back to work in order to feed their families?  Mi ba-ra’ash u-mi ba-magefah?  Who will die in storms, and who will perish in the plague?  At the heart of our High Holiday services our Unetaneh Tokef prayer confronts us each year with our deep vulnerability.  And this year — whether because of our age or our health conditions, or because we are living in a country that has not taken the necessary precautions to keep its inhabitants safe — we are especially vulnerable, we are angry, we are deeply worried.  

But we are instructed by another phrase in the High Holiday Amidah, Zochreinu l’chaim / Remember us for life.  We pray that we will be written into the Book of Life for this coming year.  And every moment we are keenly aware that our own actions will help determine our fate.  This year,  perhaps we might translate zochreinu l’chaim as “keep reminding us to choose life! ”  Every time we put on a mask, every time we keep physically distant, every ounce of patience we muster as we take precautions — let’s whisper to ourselves:  zochreinu l’chaim, remember us for life, remind us it’s for the sake of life. 

And because this is a year like no other, we need one more motto for the High Holiday season.  At Rabbi Gerry Serotta’s suggestion, we chose the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel:  “In a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”  Our High Holiday confessional prayers have been trying to make us take responsibility collectively for the ills of society.  But we are also response-able — we are able to respond and therefore we must.  We must act, speak out, support, criticize, do something to remove the terrible inequities of fate in our country.  Both the coronavirus crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement have opened our eyes to the depths of continuing racial injustice, to the disproportionate burdens suffered by people of color in our society.  We are responsible to right the wrongs of the past, to repair what is broken in our society, to remove the inequalities that have suffused this land with such harshness. 

But that too is one of the messages of the High Holidays — that second chances are possible if we truly turn and change our ways.  Let’s spend the weeks before the High Holidays engaging in study, discussion, and reading, in a process of discernment as to how we can fix our souls and fix the world.  We invite you to read Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist, which will be a topic of discussion at Selichot services on Sept. 12th.   And we invite you to engage in an extended Selichot practice, Sephardi-style, with the magnificent array of short, 20-minute sessions on weeknights with Hazzan Ramón and numerous guest leaders, beginning on August 23rd.  Details, and our full listing of services, are available below.  We welcome you to join us at Shirat HaNefesh on this necessary journey. 



The Yamim Noraim experience can be transformative.

Many of us are finding that Judaism can be inspiring and above all … happy! Seekers of a spiritual compass, we may not have to search outside of Judaism, after all, to encounter a vibrant source of spiritual inspiration. Returning home feels good.

The services that we will share over the High Holidays are filled with music that will reach your heart…