Guide to the High Holy Days Introduction and Table of Contents

 The High Holy Days — What Are They?

Let our High Holy Days Guide help you.

The High Holy Days—or, High Holidays as they are also called—consist of two autumn holidays called Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In Hebrew, “Rosh Hashanah” means “Head of the Year” and it’s the Jewish New Year. Ten days later comes Yom Kippur, which is Hebrew for the “Day of Atonement.” It is the most solemn day of the Jewish year, and many adults fast as a spiritual practice for the duration of the day. Because of differences between the Hebrew and Western calendars, the High Holy Days move around a bit on the Western calendar, but they always fall sometime in September or October.

These holidays, and the stretch of days in between them, are sometimes referred to as the “Days of Awe” or the “Days of Repentance.” They’re serious but also joyful, and they are the one time of year when the largest number of people in the Jewish community attend synagogue services. The main reason these are considered the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar is because they are about self-examination, forgiveness, the repairing of broken relationships and giving ourselves a fresh new start.

People of all faiths, including people who identify as non-religious, are completely welcome to attend and participate in these holidays. So we’ve put together a helpful High Holy Days Guide.

 You can download the entire interactive Guide to the High Holy Days as a .pdf file.


What is the Meaning of the High Holy Days?

Symbols and Rituals

High Holy Days Food!

Celebrating High Holy Days with Kids & Family

Community During the High Holy Days

High Holy Day Services FAQ

View as a PDF.


Author: 18Doors


18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact info@18doors.org.