High Holidays FAQ

General Shul Questions

I haven’t been able to come to Shul since March - how is the Shul handling Minyanim?

We offer davening every day of the week (without registration) and on Shabbos (with registration), and require masks and generous social distancing. Davening has been taking place in the Main Shul and Heritage Hall.

How many people fit in those rooms with social distancing?

We are able to fit approximately 40 spots in the Main Shul and 50 in Heritage Hall - each one of those “spots” can hold up to two people (i.e. two members of one household can sit together). Both locations have a women’s section, as well. We have minyanim at various times to accommodate more people.

May restrooms be used?

Yes, restrooms are available for use by one person at a time.


How will Selichos be held this year?

Selichos will be held like any other weekday davening, without requiring registration. They will be recited before Shacharis each morning. The first night of Selichos, September 12, there will be a service in the Main Shul at 12:15am, as well as a pre-Selichos inspirational talk on BJ Zoom by Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman at 10:30pm.

On the first day of Selichos, Sunday September 13, you may tune in to Virtual Beth Jacob to hear Selichos recited in the Main Shul, more information to come.

I can’t attend regular Selichos services, but I would like to experience some in-person preparation for the High Holidays before Rosh Hashana. What are my options?

In addition to virtual programs like “12 Hours of Teshuva”, we will offer Covid-safe evening programs to small groups during the week before Rosh Hashana, by registration only. Program will be limited to small numbers each night, and will include brief remarks by a BJ Rabbi on various elements of High Holiday themes.

Rosh Hashana

How do you anticipate being able to handle a larger crowd on Rosh Hashana?

In addition to back-to-back morning minyanim (Shacharis and Mussaf) in each of the indoor spaces, we will be renting two large tents and placing them in other parts of our campus for additional seating. We expect to be able to accommodate over 350 double-spotsfor Rosh Hashana morning davening using this system.

These are the tentative times and locations (subject to modification based upon your requests in a forthcoming registration):

  • The early morning minyanim in the Main Shul and Heritage Hall will begin at 6:10am, and conclude around 9:30am. The next minyan will begin at 9:45am, and conclude around 1:30pm.
  • For the outdoor options, we will be offering services at 7:30am and 8:30am.
  • In addition, a “Shofar + Mussaf”-only service will be held at 11:30am in an outdoor tent, as well as at around 1:30pm indoors.
  • All services will be quicker than most years, but retain the core structure of the Yamim Nora’im davening you are familiar with.

I would like to attend the outdoor davening, but even though it will be a faster service than usual I am nervous that it may get too hot as the morning progresses. May I drink water during services?

Halachically speaking, one should refrain from partaking of food or drink before Kiddush. Participants who need to do so may bring their own grape juice and a grain-product (cookie/cracker) and step out of the tent after Shacharis to make Kiddush. After Kiddush is made, you may drink water as needed.

What really bothers me is wearing a mask. May I be more lenient about mask wearing if davening outside in the tent?

Unfortunately not. Our health advisors have told us not to allow any leniency about mask wearing outdoors, and we feel it is responsible to follow that recommendation.

How will Shofar blowing be performed safely?

A mask will be placed over the shofar, and those who are blowing Shofar will be tested for COVID right before Rosh Hashana.

What about Rosh Hashana evening services?

Between the tents and the existing davening spaces we expect to be able to accommodate all those who wish to attend services during the day and evening, both men and women. The outdoor tents will have lighting.

I have been advised to avoid being around people at all. Can I still hear Shofar?

Yes! In collaboration with other local shuls, we will be sending volunteers around the neighborhood to blow shofar. If you think your street may be overlooked, or if you need a home visit, please contact Rabbi Dov Foxbrunner at rdf@bethjacobatlanta.org

Will there be security on the High Holidays?

Of course! There will be rigorous security both inside and outside the building. Our hired security will be augmented by ushers who have already been training to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears during services.

How can I sign up for Rosh Hashana Davening?

An email with the registration link was sent out September 1, and registration has closed. If you missed the deadline, please email Rabbi Foxbrunner, rdf@bethjacobatlanta.org.

Online registration forms are a challenge for me. Can someone help me with registration by phone?

Yes, you may call the Shul office starting September 1 and you will be assisted - 404.633.0551. 

Yom Kippur

Everything above is about Rosh Hashana. What about Yom Kippur?

Because we will be using information gleaned from Rosh Hashana to inform Yom Kippur plans, Yom Kippur information and registration will be shared right after Rosh Hashana.

Youth Programs

Will there be any youth programming over the High Holidays?

Unfortunately we will not be able to offer youth programs or childcare on Yamim Nora'im mornings. However, we intend to offer other creative programs for BJ youth both before Rosh Hashana, as well as on Rosh Hashana afternoon. More information will be shared on that shortly.