Holidays at CAA
Congregation Agudas Achim offers a full calendar of holiday services.
High Holidays. Our high holy day services begin on erev Rosh Hashanah and include two days of Rosh Hashanah services. Second day services are a usually a bit more relaxed. Our custom over the past 10 years has been to here from different congregants on that day on a theme related to the holiday. We typically hold a memorial services at our community cemetery on the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Kol Nidre starts our Yom Kippur observance, followed by a day of prayer and study and concluding with a community break fast. We bring a cantor to the community to help the rabbi make these services more meaningful.
Sukkot. On the heels of the high holy days comes Sukkot. Our community Sukkah is open to all members of the congregation and usually is the site of formal and informal festival meals. Each year, we offer members the option of purchasing a lulav and etrog.
Simchat Torah. At Agudas Achim, we celebrate the ending and beginning of the annual Torah reading cycle by unrolling one of our Torah scrolls and admiring its length, artistry, and content. There's plenty of music provided by the synagogue band, and the dancing typically makes it out to the parking lot at some point.
Hanukkah. No Hanukkah celebration would be complete without latkes and donuts with friends. There's nothing quite like seeing the social hall filled with Agudas Achim families and their menorahs! Some families light multiple menorahs -- lighting the entire room during the darkest time of the year. In addition, our Hebrew School students set up our very tacky (there is no other word for it) decoration at the end of the synagogue driveway to share their Hanukkah spirit with our neighbors and passersby.
Purim. Our Megillah reading is always a family friendly, fun event. From informal readings in funny voices to polished spiels, every year is a bit different. Giving to charity is also a custom on Purim; at Agudas Achim, participants bring donations the evening of the Megillah reading to be passed on to help those less fortunate. Some members of the congregation exchange mishloach manot (Purim Baskets) filled with hamantaschen and other goodies. Of course no Purim would be complete without a Purim Carnival. Each year, a group of volunteers works together to bring our students and their friends a morning filled with fun games, contests, and prizes! Help organizing the spiel or the carnival is always welcomed.
Pesach. Some years we host a community Seder in the social hall; other years we match guests and hosts. It's our goal that everyone in the congregation have a Seder to attend.
The congregation also has celebrations around Shavout and Tu Bishvat, and remembrance services for Tisha B'Av and Yom Ha-Shoah.