Congregation Kneseth Israel to host High Holy Days starting Sept. 25

  • Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein holds a Torah scroll in preparation for the High Holy Days.

    Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein holds a Torah scroll in preparation for the High Holy Days. Courtesy of Risa Cohen

Updated 9/24/2022 12:40 AM

Congregation Kneseth Israel in a continuation of its 130th year, is delighted to celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days, beginning Sunday evening, Sept. 25. Services will be offered as both in-person and via Zoom.

The theme for this year's season is "From Surviving to Thriving: Making Our Days Count."


As Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein says, "While the pandemic is not completely over, we have learned much during this time. About connection, about community, about prayer. It's not enough to survive, and we are keenly aware of those things we lost during this time. The question becomes how do we thrive? Each of us must find our own meaning in our lives. Each of us must find ways to make the gift of our lives count. That is part of the spiritual message of this season.

Services will include a return to some "old favorites" at CKI. Our cantorial soloist, Stephanie Burak Goth returns from Denver to lead our music. The choir, under the skilled director of Stew Levin, is in-person and sound terrific. They have been rehearsing since May. Children's programming under the capable and fun direction of our educator Heather Weiser. Kerena Moeller from the Elgin Symphony Orchestra playing Kol Nidre on the cello. These are just some of the favorites planned for during the course of the 10 days.

As the president of the congregation, Robin Coyne commented, "When you focus on what is possible amazing things happen! Look where we were two years ago, what we learned and how much better we are now, even through the grief for those we lost. A new appreciation for life, community and making things more accessible for all."

Zoom is here to stay adding to the sense of community, connectedness and creativity. It helps people who otherwise couldn't actively participate, those who hear better on Zoom, those who have mobility issues, those who can't drive, and those who live too far including those out of state or even in foreign countries. It even helps when there are weather issues!

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And yet, this year, people are feeling comfortable enough to be back in the building; online registrations for being in the building are running stronger than for those who will be on Zoom.

People come to services for a number of reasons: to hear the sound of the shofar, to feel connected to the past and the present, to listen to the beautiful music, to stare out of the beautiful stained glass windows, to hear the ancient words of the liturgy and Torah, to listen to the words of the rabbi. For some it is about reconnecting with their friends, some of whom they haven't seen in person in two and half years.

Charlie Neuman, the synagogue treasurer said, "The Jewish High Holy Days are a time for introspection and reflection. It is an opportunity to think about what my past has been and what God has planned for me in the future." Gene Lindow, CKI's ritual chairperson adds, "These Holy Days are a path of return and reconnection. It shows our love of God and our fellow humans. It shows God's love for us. It helps us find compassion, empathy and enlightenment and enables us to do tikkun olam, repairing the world which starts with each of us."

"This year is also the 130th anniversary of our congregation, so the theme, also fits nicely with the celebration. What a milestone! While it is great that we have been here for 130 years, the question becomes, where do we go from here? What legacy do we leave for our children and grandchildren? How do we guarantee the next 130 years? How do we thrive as a community?

For a full schedule of services, check out the CKI website, To join us, either on Zoom or in-person, contact the CKI office, (847) 741-5656.


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