2020 High Holidays

Program Details

Registration is now open!

Additional Info

Friday, September 18, 2020
Like all Kavana programs, this event is powered by partners, staff and participants.
Volunteer to helpMeet the staff

The High Holidays are a very special time at Kavana, and although this year will certainly look different, we expect that to be as true as ever!  We'd love to have you join us.

Kavana's mission is to "empower participants to create a meaningful Jewish life" -- which means that the choice is yours to decide where you want to be and how you want to spend these days. Think of it as a "choose your own adventure" High Holiday experience!  

This year, because of Covid, most of our programming will happen online; however, the same general approach applies: Kavana will offer a wide array of services and programs to meet the needs of our diverse Jewish community. Whatever path(s) you choose -- family/kids' programming, traditional services, musical & contemplative services, yoga and arts workshops, learning sessions, or some combo of all of these -- we hope that these holidays will provide you with an opportunity for serious reflection and introspection, a feeling of newness, and a commitment to growth and betterment of the self, the community, and the world.


- Location: Most High Holiday services and programs will be accessible on Zoom this year. "Location" details (e.g. links) for all High Holiday events will be sent once you register and payment has been received. In addition, we are creating opportunities for individuals who would like to hear shofar in person (in local parks). Those details will also be communicated after you've completed the registration process.

- Cost: As in the past, we are requesting payment of $18 per partner, $250 per non-partner, to help us cover the many costs of making these holidays happen! This year, Kavana's High Holiday expenses break down differently (we're spending less on rental spaces, more on tech, and about the same amount on staffing) -- but our total cost is about the same. In the cooperative spirit, we ask everyone to contribute something, and we acknowledge that partners are already under-writing our operating expenses through regular contributions (which is why registration is so much less for partners than non-partners). If you are able to pay the full suggested amount, we encourage you to do so, and appreciate your support! That said, we never want money to be the issue, and we know that this year has been a hard one economically for many... so if you cannot pay the full amount (due to covid-related financial hardship, or for any other reason), please contribute an amount that feels meaningful and doable for you. Email us if you have any questions.

- Registration: Advanced registration is required. Once your payment has been received, you will be sent an email with the schedule and location details/links to access services and programs.

- Schedule: At a glance, you will note that we've broken down some of the longer offerings (e.g. traditional morning services) into more bite-sized chunks, to allow for breaks and to create multiple entry points throughout the course of the day. (Note that we're working through a few last minute details, so we'll send a final confirmation of the schedule to those who register the week before each holiday.) Detailed program descriptions coming soon. In the meantime, you can expect the following:

Rosh Hashanah

Erev Rosh Hashanah - Friday evening, September 18th
7:00pm - Erev Rosh Hashanah Service (Zoom)
DIY Rosh Hashanah Seder Meal (Do-it-yourself, at home)
Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum's Rosh Hashanah Sermon (pre-recorded)

RH Day 1 - Saturday, September 19th
Rosh Hashanah Family Service (pre-recorded)
8:45am - Yoga (Zoom)
9:00am - Rosh Hashanah Family Programs (Zoom)
10:00am Musical & Contemplative Rosh Hashanah Morning Service, with Shofar (Zoom)
10:00am - Traditional Rosh Hashanah Morning Service
12:00pm - Torah Service
1:30pm - Musaf Service (Zoom)
1:30pm - Arts Workshop (Zoom)
3:00pm - Youth Discussions for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students (Zoom)

RH Day 2 - Sunday, September 20th
9:00am - Traditional Rosh Hashanah Services (Zoom)
afternoon - Shofar Blowing & Tashlich (in-person, in local parks)

Yom Kippur

Kol Nidre - Sunday, September 27th
Anytime - Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum's Yom Kippur Sermon
6:00pm - Kol Nidre Services (Zoom)

Yom Kippur - Monday, September 28th
Anytime - Yom Kippur Family Service (pre-recorded)
8:45am - Yom Kippur Yoga (Zoom)
9:00am - Yom Kippur Family Programs (Zoom)
10:00am - Musical & Contemplative Yom Kippur Service (Zoom)
10:00am - Traditional Yom Kippur Morning Service (Zoom)
11:15am - Yom Kippur Learning: Jewish Rituals for after Death (Zoom)
12:00pm - Combined Torah Service (Zoom)
1:30pm - Musical and Contemplative Yizkor: Remembering (Zoom)
1:30pm - Traditional Yizkor & Musaf Services, with Avodah (Zoom)
2:30pm - Yoga Nidra: A time of rest (Zoom)
3:00pm - Youth Discussions for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students (Zoom)
4:00pm - Insight Journaling (Zoom)
6:00pm - Book of Jonah study (Zoom)
7:00pm - Neilah Service (Zoom)

Program Staff

Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum
Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum
Rabbi and Executive Director

Rachel Nussbaum co-founded Kavana in 2006 and serves as its Rabbi and Executive Director. Thanks to her leadership, Kavana has received lots of recognition for its innovative approach to building Jewish community, and Rachel’s responsibilities run the gamut… from teaching and counseling, to dynamic prayer leadership, to re-working the synagogue model for the 21st century. Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Rachel holds degrees from Duke University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She has been a recipient of the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, the AVI CHAI Fellowship, and the Joshua Venture Group Fellowship; more recently she helped to found the Jewish Emergent Network and serves on its executive committee. Rachel resides in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood with her husband Noam Pianko and their three children, and the whole family enjoys the outdoorsy, low-key vibe of the Pacific Northwest.

Cara Abrams
Cara Abrams
Director of Education

As Director of Education, Cara is responsible for ensuring that Kavana’s educational vision is being implemented across the board. Her experience in formal and informal Jewish educational settings position her well to oversee our after-school programs, from designing curriculum to working with our educators on professional development. Since transitioning to virtual learning, Cara has been diving deep into utilizing best practices for online learning, mastering Zoom tools, and designing new pathways for kids and families to maintain their connection to the Kavana community. In addition to our weekly programs, Cara supports families through the B'Nei Mitzvah process as well as our other youth and family programming. Outside of her work with Kavana, Cara enjoys cooking with her husband Tony, social-distance hang-outs with friends and family, and walking in her neighborhood.

Traci Marx
Traci Marx
Spiritual & Musical Director

Traci Marx is a musical prayer leader who prays and plays with great joy and deep reverence.  Traci found Kavana in 2015 and serves as the Spiritual and Musical Director, where she leads prayer services, Hebrew chanting sessions, and spirituality retreats.  Ordained as a Kohenet, Hebrew Priestess, Traci officiates weddings, B’nai mitzvah, memorials, and other life cycle events, utilizing meaningful ritual, heartfelt prayer, and embodied song to elevate as sacred all of life’s experiences.  Traci brings music and Jewish ritual to political actions, uplifting community and offering spiritual focus to political work.  Traci earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and brings warmth, sensitivity, and attunement to all of her work.  Traci parents two children, one of whom recently became a Bar Mitzvah with Rabbi Rachel.  Traci finds balance and soul-soothing happiness singing Grateful Dead tunes with other musicians in her role as organizer of the Pacific Northwest Deadheads.

Maxine Alloway
Maxine Alloway

Maxine has served as an educator at Kavana for many years, helping us to develop our educational approach. She currently leads our monthly Havdalah Club and Prep & Practice programs, and teaches over the High Holidays. Outside of her work with us, Maxine is a faculty member in the University of Washington's College of Education, working primarily with soon­-to-­be elementary school teachers.