The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ) will hold its Yom Kippur Kol Nidre Services and Yom Kippur Day Program at The Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Rd. CHJ is known for its meaningful and relevant High Holiday themes, community spirit, and reflective workshops and discussions, all within the natural setting of The Unitarian Church grounds and sanctuary. All services and programs are free and open to the public, and free childcare is provided during daytime programming.
Services include readings, music and reflection about the major themes of the holiday, including self-examination and renewed commitment to positive action. Interwoven with these timeless ideas will be the theme of this year’s High Holiday services, ACTUALIZING OUR IDEALS: Turning our Good Thoughts into Action in the Wider World.
Fred Ury, Westport resident and Past-President of the Connecticut Bar Association, will speak at the Yom Kippur Kol Nidre service at 7:30 pm Tuesday evening, September 25. The somber tone of live music will play a prominent role during the evening service, marking the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar.
Yom Kippur Day programming on September 26 will run from 1:15-6:00 pm.
Families with children are invited to attend special Family Services (appropriate for children ages 4-14) on Yom Kippur day, September 26, 1:15-2:00. Marcia Kosstrin, a Stamford resident who has been captivating CHJ families for over six years at these programs, draws a crowd with her animated story-telling. She says, “What I love best about telling stories during the High Holidays is finding stories that speak to the spirit of the holidays – particularly stories that reflect common human experiences, both good and bad, and gently guide us to be the best person that we can be. At our Young People's Yom Kippur service, I will tell the story of Jonah. This story is filled with powerful emotion and lessons learned--the hard way. We can all learn from Jonah and his mistakes, as we continue to reflect on our lives and behavior.”
Also at 1:15 there will be a simultaneous workshop on “The Joy of CHJ” for prospective and new members and the generally curious, as well as a guided meditation session. Starting at 3:15 will be the CHJ Panel of Doers, where the altruistic actions and activities of CHJ members will be further explored. Yom Kippur concludes with Memorial and Closing Services from 4:30 pm to approximately 5:30 pm, followed by a community Break-Fast.
Prospective members and guests are welcome to join the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism for all of their High Holiday Services. All services are free.
Reservations at (203) 226-5451 are suggested but not required for CHJ services and programs. All programs take place at The Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road, and are open to the public free of charge. Casual dress is recommended for daytime programming.
Humanistic Judaism emphasizes personal responsibility in fulfilling the Jewish ideals of loving kindness, justice, good deeds, and giving to those in need. These ethical ideals are shared by Jewish tradition and humanist philosophy. Humanistic Jews practice in personally meaningful ways, consistent with a modern understanding of the world.
CHJ is a cooperative congregation run exclusively by members, who plan educational programs, social events and holiday observances throughout the year. Because it is a warm and welcoming community, interfaith couples also find it to be the right place for their families. CHJ offers a full-service Sunday School program for children through Bar/Bat Mitzvah. For more information call (203) 226-5451 or visit www.humanisticjews.org.
Humanistic Judaism is the most recent group recognized as a major branch of Judaism by the United Jewish Communities. The Fairfield County CHJ Congregation was founded in 1967. Humanistic Judaism is now active in many countries throughout the world.