Honoring Rabbi Meyer

SHIRAT HANEFESH HOLIDAY GUIDE 2019/5780: Services are held in the beautiful stained-glass-filled sanctuary and are led by our cantor, Hazzan Dr. Ramón Tasat, and with Rabbi Gilah Langner on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah.

Soulful Music
Services are filled with both exotic and familiar melodies from our Hazzan, with plenty of opportunity to sing along at every service.
Talks, scholarly insights, and folksy wisdom by our very own congregants.
Children and Teens
Children and teen services are held on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur mornings.   Child care is available upon request in advance, for a modest fee, for under age 10.
Join us for a joyful Rosh Hashanah and meaningful Yom Kippur. In 2019, we honor the legacy of Rabbi Marshall Meyer, rabbinic innovator and human rights champion, on his 25th yahrtzeit.   His collection of writings — You Are My Witness — is our watchword for the coming year, as we look inward and outward in protest against cruelty and abuse of all kinds, in defense of democracy and human rights, and in solidarity with the Jewish people around the world.  The High Holidays bid us return to our true values, our voices of courage and humanity.  
Services at Shirat Hanefesh are a blend of old and new, combining inspiring live music and readings with traditional prayer, Torah, silent meditation, and community study. Stay for as long as you need to renew your spirit for the new year. All are welcome.
Please volunteer to help ensure that our High Holiday Services run smoothly.
Contact us at HHD@shirathanefesh.org.

Click above to register & order online.

Click above to download a PDF form to mail in.

Click above to download a PDF of the order of our services.

Registration is required for Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah 1st Day, Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur Morning.
You may also order prayerbooks, flowers, Child Care, and Memorial Listings.

Selihot Service – Havdalah Under the Stars, September 21, 2019 – 8:30 pm

Start the High Holiday season off with a special evening of Selihot  on the patio outside the Community Room of NC4. After a potluck dessert reception, Hazzan Ramón will lead us in Havdalah.  After our program, Rabbi Gilah will join us in leading the Selihot service, starting at about 10:15 p.m

Please register by sending email to  HHD@ShiratHaNefesh.org.

Erev Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 29, 2019 – 7:00 pm R

Hazzan Ramón Tasat introduces the 5780 High Holiday theme – “Atem Eidai – You Are My Witness – The Legacy of Rabbi Marshall Meyer”

Rosh Hashanah, 1st Day, Sept. 30, 2019 – 9:00 am  R

Introductory Prayers, Blessings, and Songs  – 9:00 – 9:45 am
Shaharit (Morning Prayers)  – 9:45 – 10:30 am
Torah Service (Reading, Discussion, and First Shofar Soundings)  – 10:30 – 11:45 am
Musaf Service (Special Prayers, Full Shofar Soundings) – 11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Children’s Service (ages 7 to 12) Community Room – 10:00 am – 10:45 am, snack — 10:45 – 11:00
Teen Service (ages 12 to 18) Community Room – 11:00 am – noon (younger children are welcome)

TASHLICH  Jones Mill Road Park, a few meters from Jones Mill and Levelle Drive Chevy Chase, MD – 5:00 – 6:00 pm


Rosh Hashanah, 2nd Day, October 1, 2019 – 9:15 am – 12:15 pm

Rabbi Gilah Langner and Hazzan Ramón Tasat will lead services in the Community Room.
Shaharit Service  – 9:15 – 10:15 am
Torah Service and Sermon  – 10:15 – 11:30 pm
Musaf Service – 11:30 – 12:15 pm

Yom Kippur, Kol Nidre, Oct. 8, 2019 – 6:15 pm – 9:00 pm   R

Kol Nidre starts before sundown and is followed by a special Yom Kippur evening service. Please arrive no later than 6:10 pm for this sacred service. Sanctuary doors will close during the Kol Nidre prayer. Latecomers will be seated after the Kol Nidre prayer is concluded.

Yom Kippur Morning, Oct. 9, 2019 – 9:00 am – 2:00 pm R

Introductory Prayers, Blessings, and Songs  – 9:00 – 9:45 am
Shaharit (Includes Pleas for Forgiveness)  – 9:45 – 10:45 am
Torah Service (Reading, Discussion)  – 10:45 – 11:45 am
Musaf Service (Pleas for Forgiveness, Unique Yom Kippur Prayers) – 11:45 – 1:30 pm — (Yizkor – approx. 12:30 pm)
Children’s Services (ages 7 to 12) in the Community Room – 10:00 am – 10:45 am
Teen Services (ages 12 to 18) in the Community Room – 11:00 am – noon (younger children welcome)

BREAK – Bible Study: 2:00 – 4:00 pm – Gideon Amir  |  Gentle Yoga: 2 – 2:45 pm – Paula Amann  R


Yom Kippur Afternoon, October 9, 2019 – 4:00 pm – 7:20 pm

Minhah (Torah Reading, the Book of Jonah, and discussion)  – 4:00 – 5:45 pm
Neilah (Our last prayer as the sun sets & the gates close)  – 5:45 – 7:20 pm
Final Shofar Blast and Havdalah  – 7:20 pm

Community Break the Fast (Community Room) – 7:35 pm  Register here

Join our community in marking the end of Yamim Noraim,  for our joyous Break-the-Fast pot-luck, 7:35pm. Indicate what dish you will bring to share. Your contributions help us all celebrate.

Community Break the Fast (Community Room) – 7:35 pm until 9:00 pm 

Join our community in marking the end of Yamim Noraim,  for our joyous Break-the-Fast pot-luck. Indicate what dish you will bring to share, if you wish. Your contributions help us all celebrate.

In order to get an idea of how many might attend and who can bring what, please let us know by clicking on the sign-up button:
Sign Up!


Our High Holy Day prayer book, Machzor Eit Ratzon .


Add beauty to our services with potted chrysanthemums that you can take home afterwards ($18 per plant).

Memorial Listing

The High Holy Days call to mind our loved ones who are no longer with us. To include their names on our Memorial Plaque, use the registration form or contact Amy Plotnick (ajplotnick@verizon.net or 301.593.6633). The suggested contribution is $18 per name. Please register no later than September 27 so we have time to prepare the Memorial Plaque.


Volunteer to help ensure that our High Holiday Services run smoothly. Contact us at HHD@shirathanefesh.org and we will get back to you with details.

Full members

Shirat HaNefesh members, dependent children and college students may attend at no cost.

Associate members, non-members and guests

Registration for associate members, guests and non-members of Shirat HaNefesh is available for a suggested donation of $225 per adult (but no one is turned away — please make a meaningful contribution within your means to help us underwrite the costs of providing these services). Register Here

All services are held at   North Chevy Chase Christian Church 8814 Kensington Parkway Chevy Chase, MD 20815. (Download map.)
Rosh Hashanah, Sep. 30

Children’s Services (ages 7 to 12) from 10:00 – 10:45 Teen Services (ages 12 to 18) (younger children welcome) from 11:00-12:00

Family Tashlich, Sep. 30, 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Jones Mill Road Park, a few meters from Jones Mill and Levelle Drive Chevy Chase, MD

Yom Kippur, Oct. 9

Children’s Services (ages 7 to 12) from 10:00 – 10:45 Teen Services (ages 12 to 18) (younger children welcome) from 11:00-12:00

Child care is available for children under age 10.

The total cost for all three services is $30 per child. Reservations required. Contact HHD@shirathanefesh.org  or  Register Here

Rabbi Gilah LangnerAtem Eidai:  You Are My Witnesses
A High Holiday Message from Rabbi Gilah Langner

When Hazzan Ramón mentioned that this year is the 25th yahrtzeit of his beloved mentor, Rabbi Marshall Meyer, zichrono livrachah, I immediately agreed with his plan to devote our High Holiday experience to learning about and celebrating the life of this human rights champion and rabbinic innovator.  Known for his steady hand and upraised voice in opposition to the junta in Argentina, Rabbi Meyer gave everything to his adopted country while serving there from 1959 to 1984, through the dark days of the military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. 

Rabbi Meyer drew strength for his activism from Jewish texts and history.  He wrote:

“When I was in Argentina I didn’t take positions because of a specific political persuasion, but rather my activism emanated from the wellsprings of my own Judaism.  If one was to take the Bible seriously, I believed, you just couldn’t watch these things happen and maintain silence…   The problems are ours because Amos, Isaiah, and Hosea taught us that they are ours, taught us that there is only one mankind as there is only one God.  Why should so few have so much and so many starve?  This is a Jewish question.  This is a biblical question.  I bleed with people when I see them hungry and crawling for safety.” 

The title of Rabbi Meyer’s compiled writings provides the theme for our High Holidays in 2019:  You Are My Witness: The Living Words of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer.  The phrase evokes an ancient rabbinic midrash in which the rabbis imagine God as saying to the people of Israel:  Atem eidai/You are My witnesses.  In other words, if you are My witnesses, then I am God.  If not, then I am not God.

This sounds radical in its time.  But it is a stark reminder — as important in 2019 as in 1980 as in the ancient world — that unless we Jews act in the world based on everything we have learned and understood to be God’s will, then we are preventing God from being God; we are not truly worshipping the God who makes moral demands on us.                 

I invite yoiu to join us on these High Holidays as we bring to life the teachings and goodness of this towering seeker of justice.  At Selichot services on Sept. 21, Rabbi Gerry Serotta will speak about the life and times of Rabbi Marshall Meyer.  On Rosh Hashanah morning, David Balto will share his own work in prisons and the depths of humanity this work has evoked.  On Kol Nidre evening, our speaker will be Deborah Benchoam, who spent four of her teenage years in Argentine jails and whose release was enabled by Rabbi Meyer.  And on Yom Kippur morning, we will have the opportunity to study and reflect on some of Rabbi Meyer’s teachings and writings together in small groups. 

Hashem oz l’amo yitein / May God give strength to his people.  With the clear-eyed vision and a fearless nature, Marshall Meyer’s strength was a gift to our people – and a reminder, as true today as 25 years ago, that we are all able to lift our voices against injustice.  We are all part of the continuing quest for a better world and a sane and moral society. 

I close with a prayer from a speech given by Rabbi Meyer at Columbia University in 1991, two years before his death.  He wrote: 

“We have been summoned to be the witnesses of God:  Atem Eidai, ne’um Adonai.

Let us then be witnesses to the sanctity of human life.

Let us be the disciples of Aaron, searching out and pursuing ways of peace.

If war must be fought, let it be the very last alternative.

Let us put our passion into repairing a bruised, pained, and bleeding world filled with groaning, moaning, sick, hungry, homeless, and alienated human beings.

Let us mend the torn fabric of our society.

Let us be messengers of peace in all of the Middle East.

Let us be collaborators in the peacemaking between Jews and Palestinians, and between Israel and all her Arab neighbors.

Speedily, and in our days, bim’heirah beyameinu.

The Yamim Noraim experience can be transformative.

Many of us are finding that Judaism can be inspiring and above all … happy! Seekers of a spiritual compass, we may not have to search outside of Judaism, after all, to encounter a vibrant source of spiritual inspiration. Returning home feels good.

The services that we will share over the High Holidays are filled with music that will reach your heart…