OAKLAND -- Jewish religious leaders near the Oakland hills say all are welcome to celebrate the High Holy Days beginning next week and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Rabbi David Cooper, of Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont, and Paul Geduldig, executive director of Oakland's Temple Sinai, say the 10-day period of spiritual reflection is a time for people to take stock of their lives and the impact they have on the world around them.

"The High Holy Days are a time in the context of your community that you are engaged in some degree of introspection," Cooper said. "Maybe it's a matter of work, or maybe a matter of love and the way you connect to the larger community. Or maybe it's in the way you take care of yourself or take care of people around you."

From Sept. 4-14, Jewish religious communities will mark Rosh Hashana, the new year, and at the end of the celebration, Yom Kippur, a day of fasting, reflection and prayer.

To encourage attendance by younger people who may not be able to afford tickets to services by Kehilla, Cooper said everyone in their 20s and 30s will be admitted free. He and Geduldig said sliding-scale admission is available to everyone at their services because the two communities don't want to turn any one away who can't pay.

"The members of the community absorb the overwhelming costs and ask those who are able to purchase a ticket," Geduldig said.


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Geduldig said the High Holy Days services are a good time for prospective members to learn about the synagogue and its preschool. The services will be diverse in their musical styles with some geared toward children, he said.

Cooper said the High Holy Days are meant to set a tone for many days to come and can have an impact on non-Jewish people, too.

"It doesn't mean it is the only time of year that one would engage in such activities," he said. "But it is a time of year that is ritually set aside ... to think about who we are and whether we are being the best version of ourselves that we can be."

Kehilla, a politically progressive community founded in 1984, will host services at its synagogue located at 1300 Grand Ave., as well as the Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive. Temple Sinai, a synagogue that dates back to 1875 and is also focused on social action, will host services at its 2080 Summit St. location and the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway.

For a full list of events and suggested ticket prices, visit www.kehillasynagogue.org and www.oaklandsinai.org.

IF YOU GO
What: High Holy Days services
Hosts: Kehilla Synagogue and Temple Sinai
When: Sept. 4-14
Schedule and locations: http://www.kehillasynagogue.org/HighHolyDays/
http://www.oaklandsinai.org/HHDServices/