Holidays at Main Line Reform Temple are marked with worship and celebration, bringing together our MLRT family. We hope you will join us in celebrating this year!
Our High Holy Days bring the community together, infusing meaning into our Days of Awe. From the first sound of the shofar to the last blast on Yom Kippur, our Rabbis inspire us and our Cantor and choirs move us.
Rosh Hashanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance. Both the Morganroth Sanctuary and nearby Lower Merion High School are filled with members of MLRT and their families, praying together and preparing for the new year. Children’s services take place in the afternoon and are geared toward specific age groups.
Yom Kippur, considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, means “Day of Atonement” and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance. Listen to the sounds of the shofar and the inspiring words of Rabbi David Straus, Rabbi Geri Newburge, Cantor Faryn Rudnick, and Rabbi Kevin Kleinman on this solemn day. Children’s services take place in the afternoon and are geared toward specific age groups.
Main Line Reform Temple celebrates with traditions old and new for Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim, Passover and Shavuot. MLRT has a unique way of making the holidays meaningful and fun for all ages. Learn about our special celebrations for the holidays below!
Beginning five days after Yom Kippur, Sukkot is named after the booths or huts (sukkot in Hebrew) in which Jews are supposed to dwell during this week-long celebration. Embracing the outdoor nature of the harvest festival of Sukkot, our community gathers to decorate and dwell in one of our five sukkot. MLRT is proud to help bring Sukkot to the community at large by lending out sukkot and visiting local apartments with our Sukkah-Mobile.
Simchat Torah celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. As part of the celebration at MLRT, the Torah scrolls are unraveled completely with members of the congregation holding onto the Torah scroll as it creates a circle around the sanctuary. The night is filled with music and dancing and is not to be missed.
Chanukah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem. The modern home celebration of Chanukah centers around the lighting of the chanukiyah, a special menorah for Chanukah; foods prepared in oil including latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts); and special songs and games. The Chanukah celebration at Main Line Reform Temple is filled with music and the lights of many menorahs being lit together in joy.
Tu B’Shevat or the “New Year of the Trees” is Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the 15th (tu) of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Scholars believe that originally Tu B’Shevat was an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. In the 17th century, Kabbalists created a ritual for Tu B’Shevat that is similar to a Passover Seder. Today, many Jews hold a modern version of the Tu B’Shevat Seder each year. The holiday also has become a tree-planting festival in Israel, in which Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of loved ones and friends.
Purim is celebrated by reading the Scroll of Esther (Megillat Esther), and with a fun and festive Purim Spiel, performed by MLRT clergy and staff. Our Sisterhood Shalach Manot fundraiser sent out over 850 packages last year and the holiday is capped off with the Purim Carnival, complete with bounce houses, games, raffles, and more.
Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is one of the three major pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel. It is a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt–especially the night when God “passed over” the houses of the Israelites during the tenth plague–and of the following day, when the Israelites had to leave Egypt hurriedly. Centered on the family or communal celebration of the seder (ritual meal), Passover is one of the most beloved of all Jewish holidays. Join our popular Second Night Seder and spend the holiday with MLRT!
This is a sacred and sanctified observance in which we remember the Shoah, Annual Commemoration of the Holocaust and the Light of the Candles for the Six Million. It is our one opportunity to bear witness to history, and to give testimony that we will never forget that Holocaust, and those that may threaten yet again. Please be with us in solidarity and in community. The entire community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, is invited to join us and school-aged children are encouraged to attend. We are grateful to Suzanne and Norman Cohn and their family for the annual support of this most important commemoration.
Shavuot is one of our three major pilgrimage festivals, along with Passover and Sukkot. Coming just seven weeks after Passover, Shavuot is often the forgotten festival. Unlike Passover, with Seder, or Sukkot, with the building of the Sukkah or waving of the lulav and etrog, there are few rituals, either synagogue-based or home-centered associated with Shavuot.
Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. We link Passover to Shavuot with the counting of each day (called Siphrat Ha’omer), as tradition teaches us the Exodus from Egypt was not just a physical liberation, but also a spiritual liberation, enabling us to be free to follow the ways of Torah and tradition.
Tisha B’Av is the major day of communal mourning. Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of both the first and second temples in Jerusalem (586 B.C.E, and 70 C.E respectively), and is observed by fasting and the reading of Eicha (the book of Lamentations).