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High Holy Day Primer 2021


​​Below is a High Holy Day Primer, created by Interfaith Fellow ‘17-’19 Wendy Goldberg, to help Augsburg know about this big season for Jews in our community.


  1. We are entering the Jewish High Holy Day season, which runs for the entire lunar month of Tishrei this year from Monday evening, September 6 – Wednesday, September 29.  Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are listed on secular calendars, but there is another 9-day holiday called Sukkot, right after Yom Kippur.  It is a big harvest celebration but it is not listed on calendars.
  2. The second set of holidays, Sukkot, is likely much less observed among our Jewish students and faculty, though some students will not go to class on the first​ two​ and last​ two​ days of Sukkot (dates below), and we have at least one student who observes all of the holidays faithfully and will not participate in classes on the holy days.
  3. For college students, being away from home for these holidays can highlight the homesickness and the yearning to be in the nest, and for some, quite the opposite.  If you celebrate Christmas, imagine staying on campus while most students return home for the holiday.  If you celebrate Ramadan, this season is similar to that month of observance. The University of Minnesota Hillel will welcome students and ​can be reached through
  4. There is a wide swath of Jewish observance among Augsburg students, faculty and staff.  Some adhere closely to the traditions, so they don’t write or use electricity on these major holidays​ and likely attend services in person or on zoom. ​ Others have very secular experiences, don’t celebrate these at all, or focus mostly on the feasting, not the religious and spiritual aspects of these holidays.  It’s appropriate to ask how someone celebrates these holidays​.
  5. The greeting for this season is, “Sha-NAH to-VAH”. meaning Happy New Year.
  6. How to be an ally:  We encourage you to have conversations with your Jewish students and colleagues about their observances.  ​If you are aware that students or colleagues are Jewish, it would likely be welcomed to ask them how they observe the holidays and what they mean to them.  Since ​Jewish students​ and colleagues​ may or may not self-identify​, ​you may want to​ announce an invitation ​to ​”​any Jewish students/faculty​”​ to talk with you about what this next month is for them, vis a vis classes or being far (or near) family. ​To further be an ally you could also move important meetings or events away from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  
  7. The 2021 dates for these holidays are:

Monday, September 6 – September 8: Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 6 and ends at nightfall on September 8. Some American Jews celebrate for one day, others for two.​  Some of our students (and faculty) will not attend classes on these days. Some will miss just Tuesday, September 7, and some will attend classes per usual. 

Wednesday, September 15 Yom Kippur begins an hour before sundown. Yom Kippur ends at nightfall on Thursday, September 16, and after a fully 25-hour fast and being in synagogue services most of those 25 hours, the feast goes into the evening, like an Eid meal​.  This is the holiest of holy days and for those observing, they would not do work for these 25 hours, or a bit before and after the specific fast times.

Sukkot begins at sundown on Monday, September 20 and the first two days are ​considered ​holy ​days where some Jews don’t work, use electricity, engage in commerce​, etc​.  People or communities build a sukkah (booth) and eat most of their meals there for 8 days, even if it rains or snows. Sukkot ends at sundown on Tuesday, September 28, 2021for some, and Wednesday, September 29 for others.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Wendy Goldberg: or 612-386-1191.​ ​To connect students with Jewish events or community contact Rivka Buchbinder of Minnesota Hillel-Augsburg or University of Minnesota Hillel, 612-379-4026

Further information about the Augsburg University Religious Holiday Policy.