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High Holy Days FAQs

Is there parking?
Beth Abraham has a good-sized parking lot, and if you come within the first 30-60 minutes of services you are likely to get a spot. You are welcome to park along the side streets in the neighborhood, such as Raymond, Chester, Berkeley, and Wood Streets. Please make sure not to block anyone's driveway and to respect a distance of 25 feet from any intersection, according to Nashua city regulations.

Do I need a ticket to come to services?
Every member of Beth Abraham who is in good standing receives tickets for every member of the household. Others arrange for tickets ahead of time and make a donation. We do not turn anyone away at the door. If you have not arranged ahead of time, please come and one of the greeters will welcome you. We would give you a ticket at that point with some information about Beth Abraham and an encouragement to make a donation to help us remain able to offer our services for the whole community.

If I go to the ReNewYEAR service, can I also go to the Sanctuary service?
Yes! You can go between the services as long as you leave and enter at appropriate times. If you go to the ReNewYear service, you will be able to go afterward to the Sanctuary and hear the rabbi’s sermon, be there for the shofar blowing service, and say Yizkor memorial prayers on Yom Kippur.

Where am I allowed to sit in services?
Anywhere! Beth Abraham has no assigned or pre-arranged seating. You are welcome to be in any part of the rooms where services are taking place, as close or as far back as you like.

Will I be lost if I don’t know Hebrew or have never been to services before?
Our community is made up of people from every imaginable background. The combination of our individual perspectives, questions, and prayers is what makes our High Holy Day services particularly powerful. Our ReNewYEAR service is particularly designed to be a learning service. If you do not know Hebrew, most of the prayers in the Sanctuary service that we sing together are transliterated phonetically into English. Those melodies are also available on our website. The rabbi intersperses explanations through the service, and we have material at the synagogue or that you can download ahead of time about the themes and ideas of the service.

Are there special places or activities for children?
Children are welcome in all of our services and activites. This year we are launching a second service called ReNewYEAR, which is multigenerational and planned with children in mind as well as adults. On Rosh Hashanah after we are hosting a program in collaboration with the PJ Library of the Jewish Federation of New Hamsphire, for families with children ages 8 and under.

Can I bring my kids into services, even if they are little?
Absolutely! Children of any age can experience services and be fascinated by many dimensions – the big room, the sounds of singing, the intangible atmosphere of introspection. Being together with your child or children can be profound for you too. If you have a child who makes noise or is active, try sitting toward the back of the Main Sanctuary or closer to the door in the ReNewYEAR service, in case you need to take a break with your child so other people can concentrate. But a little noise from young people contributes a good energy! Do make sure to supervise your children, whether they are in the service or in the open spaces.

Can I bring snacks?
You can! We are a kosher facility, so you can bring fresh fruit and vegetables, whole or cut up in your home or prepared anywhere so long as they are plain; packaged snacks and drink boxes that have a kosher certification symbol on them, typically a U or a K with a circle around it. Foods baked in your home may not be brought in. On Yom Kippur, you can bring snacks for your children, and if you need a little food for medical reasons, we ask that you step outside or to a nonpublic area when you eat. If you have a question, or if you have special dietary needs that are hard to meet this way, ask Rabbi Jon ahead of time.

Can I bring crayons or markers, or something else to occupy a child during services?
Traditionally, writing is considered a violation of the holy day rules. Our suggestion is stickers that can be put on paper.

Do I have to wear a tallit (prayer shawl) or a kippah (covering for the head)?
Our norms are as follows. All men, whether Jewish or not Jewish, wear a kippah. Women are encouraged to do so but not required. Jewish men are expected to wear a tallit, and Jewish women are encouraged to do so as well but not required. If a woman is going up to the bimah in front for an honor, she needs to wear a head covering during the time she is in front of the congregation. We have both tallitot and kippot available for people to use.

Can I use my cellphone?
We observe the holy days by the traditional rules for Shabbat and festivals. Cellphones, cameras, and electronic devices are not used in the synagogue. If you have a profession that requires you to be reachable, please set your device to vibrate, turn it off as soon as you perceive a call, and then walk outside the building to pick up a message or return a call.

What arrangements do you have for people who are disabled or have limited mobility?
We always save some seats that are easy to get to, by aisles and near the main doors into the Sanctuary. The ushers will be happy to help you.

Can I take a break during services? Where can I go?
Yes, you certainly can leave during services. There are certain times when it is not appropriate to leave – usually when the congregation is standing. You are welcome to be in the Gallery, which is our big open foyer, the library toward the back entrance, or the kitchen in the Religious School Building. We ask that you be mindful of the fact that even quiet conversations carry toward the prayer spaces, even when the doors are closed. So keep conversations very quiet, and if you are talking find a place that is far from the Sanctuary or the Great Room in the school.

Sat, August 18 2018 7 Elul 5778