Congregation Kneseth Israel teams up for 'Selichot'

Congregation Kneseth Israel, 330 Division St. in Elgin, announces its High Holy Days prayer schedule.

Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein, spiritual leader of the synagogue, explains that Rosh Hashana marks the beginning of the Jewish new year.

"It is a time of spiritual reflection and renewal. While usually seen as serious holidays, this year we are exploring the joy of Judaism throughout the season," Frisch Klein said. "It is important to create a culture of joy rather than just one of obligation."

To kick off the season, there is a short service and study session called "Selichot," which means apology. This year, it will be held in Elgin with the McHenry County Jewish Congregation and Beth Shalom in DeKalb. It will focus on the power of speech and feature Kol Nidre on the cello by Kerena Moeller from the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Selichot Services will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.

Rosh Hashana evening services will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. Attendees will enjoy the annual Apples and Honey Fest and each other's company.

Rosh Hashana services will continue at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3. Baby-sitting will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a children's service at 10:30 a.m. "There is nothing more joyous than the sounds of children laughing and playing and having a good time," said Heather Weiser, director of education. "And the children, they never phase the rabbi."

One of the most joyous services of the year is Tashlich, held at a pond or river bank. "We throw our sins away symbolically, as bread crumbs. Watching kids run after being inside all morning is always fun."

This year will be different. Participants will gather at 5 p.m. Oct. 3 at Lords Park, followed by a brief family service that will take place outside. In case of rain, it will be held at Congregation Kneseth Israel.

Another Rosh Hashana service will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Kever Avot will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, in the Jewish section of Bluff City Cemetery, 945 Bluff City Blvd. in Elgin.

"While this brief service may seem sad, there is even joy in remembering those who came before and pausing to reflect on our relationships with them."

Kol Nidre services will begin at 5:30 p.m. (sharp) on Tuesday, Oct. 11. During this brief service, hear the soulful music of Kol Nidre releasing you from your vows and the reassuring, hopeful, joy-filled promise of G-d, "I have forgiven you according to your word."

Yom Kippur services will begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12. The children's service will be at 10:30 a.m., with baby-sitting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Yizkor, the memorial service, will begin at approximately noon.

This year, Congregation Kneseth Israel is piloting a new prayer book, "Eit Ratzon," an independent publication written by a math professor at Rutgers. Excepts will be used particularly for the Yizkor service.

"There is a committee that has been meeting since March. Some people felt that it was time to find a prayer book with more joy, better translations with gender neutral language, and transliterations embedded in the text. We are very excited about this initiative."

In the afternoon, there will be a study session led by Rabbi Frisch Klein about the power of prayer at 3:30 p.m., at which time comments about the new prayer book will be welcome.

The afternoon service resumes at 5 p.m., after the study session at 3:30 p.m. It concludes at 7 p.m. with Havdalah and the annual break-the-fast sponsored and prepared by the Sisterhood of Congregation Kneseth Israel.

"There is joy in that final shofar blast, the braided candle, the community coming together. There is joy in the food!"

No tickets are required. For details, visit or call the office at (847) 741-5656.

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