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High Holidays

Avi shofar.jpg

Prior to 2013, when we completed our “Room To Soar” building expansion, High Holiday services were held offsite at Summit High School, Summit Middle School, or the Grand Summit Hotel. With the completion of our new Sanctuary, we’ve been able to have High Holiday services in our own building ever since.

In 2017, we added a new twist. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur Day, our traditional service and our family service start almost simultaneously in our sanctuary and social hall. At approximately 11:00 a.m., we open up the doors between the two services so that the entire community can be together for the reading of the Torah and the rest of the service. Thanks to this creative choreography, Rabbi Friedman and Cantor Roth are able to lead both services and they can be with all our members – from the youngest to the most veteran.


At the end of Yom Kippur, everyone is invited to bring his or her own shofar to sound the final “Tekiah Gedolah” of the High Holiday season. 

Sukkot & Simchat Torah

Each year on Sukkot, our Men’s Club builds a beautiful Sukkah on the synagogue’s front lawn. Then the students of our ELC and JLC decorate it. All our students visit the sukkah to learn about the symbols of the holiday and to enjoy some snacks. Our Men’s Club likes to hold a special “Scotch & Siddur” night in the sukkah and our Women’s Group has enjoyed “Wine & Wisdom” in the Sukkah as well. We have hosted interfaith meetings and many other events in our sukkah over the years.  During the week of Sukkot, we try to have as many meals, Kiddushes and Onegs in the sukkah as possible. Of course, the most popular sukkah event each year is “Pizza in the Hut.”

We conclude the High Holiday season by dancing with Torah scrolls on Simchat Torah. Each year on Simchat Torah, we honor two members of our community who have contributed to the religious life of the congregation with the final aliyah in the Book of Deuteronomy and the first aliyah in the Book of Genesis. 

Sukkot - Avi Pizza Hut.jpg
Summit JCC Hanukkah.jpg


The three Summit synagogues jointly purchased an oversized menorah many years ago. Over the years, it has been set up on the grounds of each congregation at one time or another. However, in recent years, it has been placed on Summit’s Village Green for the duration of Hanukkah. Each year, we come together for a communal menorah lighting event there. In addition, each year we join together with Faith Lutheran Church, which has placed a menorah on its property every Hanukkah since 2007 (click here for the rest of the story). In addition, we come together as an Ohr Shalom community with special events in the ELC, in the JLC, and even for adults.

Summit JCC at Tap Into Summit Hannukah.jpg


Purim is always a fun time at Congregation Ohr Shalom. In addition to the traditional Megillah reading, we also have a Megillah reading geared towards the youngest members of our community. We often read part of the Purim story while eating the festive Purim meal; we call it “Purim Dinner Theater.” Ohr Shalom has a long tradition of Purim parody songs that animate our annual Purim spiel. And, of course, Purim would not be complete without a Purim carnival with the Men’s Club providing all the necessary junk food.

Congregation Ohr Shalom Purim


While Passover is a home-based holiday, we try to enhance that home celebration through synagogue programming. Each year, we mill our own flour and bake traditional matzah. The Women’s Group assembles Seder kits with all of the necessary ingredients for the Seder plate. Then, we match up those who have extra seats at their tables with those who need a place to go for Seder. During the intermediate days, we have a kosher-for-Passover dinner catered by our own Rabbi and Cantor.

Congegation Ohr Shalom Passover
Summit JCC Yom Hashoah

Yom Hashoah 

Each year on Holocaust Memorial Day as established by the Israeli Knesset in 1951, we join together with the other Summit synagogues for a community Holocaust remembrance.

Yom Ha'atzmaut 

Israel’s Independence Day is an important day on our school calendar. We re-enact the moment each year when Israel transitions from the somber Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance) to celebratory Yom Ha’atzmaut. Yom Yisrael (Israel Day) in the JLC  features the food, music, dance, and culture of modern-day Israel.

Summit JCC Yom Haatzmaut


The 16th century mystics of the Galilee established the tradition of staying up all night to study Torah on the eve of Shavuot. At Congregation Ohr Shalom, we keep this tradition going with a modern twist. Each year, we invite members of the community with some unique body of knowledge to be our teachers for Shavuot Night Live (SNL). SNL combines traditional Jewish learning with modern topics as well as food and drink (read: ‘cheesecake’). It’s one of the highlights of the year.

Tisha B'av

The 9th of Av has come to be a day of reflection for the many calamities that have befallen our people over the centuries. Typically, we join together with the other Summit synagogues on the eve of Tisha B’Av to read the Book of Eichah (Lamentations).

Congegation Ohr Shalom Shavuot
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