For this coming New Year, Rosh Hashanah begins September 9. For the longest time, our Yuntiff services have begun at 8pm. However, this year, our Rosh Hashanah service will begin at 7pm.
Mah Nishtanah HaLaila Hazeh? Why the change? There are a few reasons.
First, the primary reason for an 8pm start was to allow those who worked during the day to have time to come home, eat, and not rush to Temple. However, September 9 is a Sunday when most people are not at work. Presumably coming earlier should not present a problem.
Secondly, I’ve heard that some families in the midst of their Rosh Hashanah festive meal are reluctant to transition to coming to Temple. Given that it’s Sunday, it’s more feasible to enjoy an early relaxed dinner and still have plenty of time to come to Temple.
Finally, it seems like each year fewer students are attending High Holy Day services. Without delving into the reasons for this phenomenon, the Rosh Hashanah Evening service is the shortest of all the major services for the High Holy Days. On average it is 90 minutes.
School age kids can come for Rosh Hashanah at 7pm and easily be home by 9pm. That is, unless they want to stay longer for the delicious Oneg that follows the service.
So please make a note: Rosh Hashanah will arrive on Sunday, September 9 at 7pm. Ten days later, our Yom Kippur service on Tuesday the 18th will revert to its customary time of 8pm.