Rosh Hashanah

As the first day of the Jewish year, Rosh Hashanah marks a turning point in our year, a separation between what was and what will be. It offers a time for Secular Humanistic Jews to pause in their daily lives and reflect on their behavior and renew their commitment to their best selves and highest values. Rosh Hashanah at the Jewish Cultural Society provides a time for renewal, reflection, and new beginnings. The blast of the shofar brings the community together to begin this time of reflection through music, readings, and a creative observance.

Our Rosh Hashanah observance is held at the JCC of Greater Ann Arbor.


The JCS community gathers on the banks of the Huron River for refreshments and a chance to “cast off” (or let go of) their shortcomings of the past year. As participants promise to strive to become better people, they toss beautiful flower petals into the river, an expression of hope for the future.

Tashlich is celebrated at Island Park (see map).

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur brings the 10 days of the Jewish New Year to a close. We gather to observe Erev Yom Kippur, known as Kol Nidre, to provide further opportunities for individual reflection and to listen to the haunting melody of Kol Nidre. On Yom Kippur day, we consider how our actions affect the greater community. We examine the world, but look inside ourselves to see how we can make a difference. We think about what we have been doing with our lives to meet our prophetic tradition of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. At the Jewish Cultural Society, we believe that only by doing for others can we overcome our transgressions against others, ourselves, and the problems of our society.

Yom Kippur observances take place in the JCC of Greater Ann Arbor.

Break-the-Fast Potluck

To close the high holidays, we usually gather for a community potluck at the end of Yom Kippur at the JCC of Greater Ann Arbor.