Please join your Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community
for an inspired and meaningful
High Holy Days, 5780
Led by Rabbi Oren Postrel
Cantorial Soloist Felicia Palmer 
St. Marks-in-the-Valley, Los Olivos:

Erev Rosh Hashanah:  Sunday, September 29, 5:30 and/or 7:00PM

Dinner:      Once again the community is being offered a pre-Rosh Hashanah

celebration at St. Mark’s.  Dinner is planned for 5:30 followed by services  at 7:00.  The Board will provide entrees, so please bring sides and dessert as we continue this lovely tradition for the SYVJC!  RSVP if you plan to join us.

Services:    Services start at 7:00PM and end approx. 8:30PM


Rosh Hashanah:  Monday, September 30, 10:00AM

(St. Mark’s, services will end approx. 12:30PM)


Tashlich:  First just us for a no host optional lunch. (approx. 1:00 PM)

(locations, details, and sign up provided Erev Rosh Hashanah)

Tashlich service will follow.  (approx. 3:00 PM)

Kol Nidre:  Tuesday, October 8, 7:00PM

(St. Mark’s, services will end approx. 8:45PM)


Yom Kippur:  Wednesday, October 9, 10:00AM

(St. Mark’s, services will end approx. 12:00PM)


Yom Kippur Afternoon:  October 9

“Journey Stories”  4:30PM

Yizkor  5:00PM

If you have submitted the names of the deceased you would like to be recognized, last year, you do not need to do so again. If you would like to submit names, both English and Hebrew (if you know the Hebrew name/s), there will be a Yizkor sheet at Rosh Hoshanah services, or you can contact Susie Pierson by email or 805-217-5304.

N’ilah   6:00PM

(St. Mark’s)


Break-Fast:  immediately following services in Stacy Hall.  This is a potluck. Sign-up sheets will be available at Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre services. Please consider bringing wine in addition to food.



For non-members, the suggested donation for attending each service is $50 per person, $100 per couple (children under 13 are free). No one will be turned away.

Questions? email or call 805-693-4243.

“The story of human life is the story of rebirth: over a normal lifespan, we die and are reborn thousands of times. We say goodbye to one year as it yields to another; we overcome one obstacle as it evolves into another; we correct one mistake as it produces another. The rotations of life spiral along parallel lines, where we “relive” profound moment after profound moment. On this dual path, each thing connects with another.” 

Paul Steinberg, Celebrating the Jewish Year JPS, 2007


Around this time of year, I’m drawn to familiar texts, especially the various High Holy Day books in my rabbinic library, such as the one above.


Rabbi Raphael, (ז׳ל) dean of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion when I was a student, and the immediate past rabbi of this community, now rests on the other side of existence. He was taken too soon from what we think of as a normal, long life. Illnesses happen and take our beloved teachers and friends. There are medical accidents, unpredictable car or air crashes, which may snatch our beloveds too soon, because well— that’s life. That’s pretty much normal. Tragedy, sickness and loss come to us because in the course of life, it’s normal.


I compose this message on Wednesday August 7th, as not even one Shabbat has passed since the most recent attack by gun violence in the United States in Ohio and Texas. We will come together to welcome the new year at the end of September. I shudder to think what might transpire in the interim. That’s not normal.


Let year, Rabbi Raphael wrote on the topic of spiritual responsibility. He described a reckoning of our own moral qualities and our own actions. I embrace that interior search for this community and try and make a strict reckoning of my own every year. This year though something is different. Something not normal has come into our lives that has disrupted too many normal lifespans.


Specifically, I’m having great difficulty in reconciling what is “normal” with this new American spasm of mass murder by gun violence. I don’t like to be afraid of my world, and I’m generally not. But fear of gun violence has become a lamentable risk for those of us who shop the big boxes, attend high school, university or even kindergarten. Parenthetically, it took my mind but only a few seconds to recall examples in these very categories of mass shootings. My soul’s reckoning can’t comprehend the evils that have been visited upon us. 


I pray for a rebirth in our new year; a rebirth of restraint, dignity, and kindness in our land. Our lives in the Santa Ynez Valley spiral along parallel lines with those who’ve lost their beloveds to gun violence and with those who are just plain scared. We must act each in our own way to bring about a lasting halt to this epidemic of gun violence. Who knows, perhaps there has been a rapid response from our government to break the cycle of easy killing instead of being stymied by more easy killing. Let us overcome, or at least let us address this obstacle before it becomes more dire. 


Our movement has offered guidelines for greater safety and ways in which to take action.  Let us start there, each in our own way. As my colleague Rabbi Jonah Pesner of the Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement has written: “Join me in ensuring the period of “thoughts and prayers” without action is over—that instead we prioritize real, lasting change to keep our communities safe.”


URJ Religious Action Center


We are new to each other. We haven’t had time to develop trust. Let us collectively yearn for trust between us and a return to a more normal national life with less hate, less gun violence and a new year filled up optimism and confidence that we will dwell all under our own vine and fig tree (or Meyer lemon) in safety and security in our land. 


To a sweet and safe new year 5780.



Rabbi Oren J Postrel

Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community