High Holiday Experience

Experience the New Year: A Festival of Renewal

Traditional and Alternative Choices for Celebrating Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur


Whether you love (mostly) traditional services or prefer to participate in engaging discussion, healing and wholeness workshops, family services, text study, expressive movement or even a New Year’s hike, come build your own High Holiday Experience with us!

Join our team of rabbis, scholars and teachers for prayer and play, music and movement, reflection and renewal, meals and more! Traditional and alternative options for adults, families, singles and teens meeting a variety of interests. Child care is available. Students and active duty military may participate free of charge.

Comments from 2017 High Holiday attendees:

“The leaders and staff were warm and welcoming. The service was very meaningful. I thoroughly enjoyed all the services.”

“Great options and speakers. Church had plenty of parking and was comfortable.”

“I have been telling neighbors and friends about this group.”

“Fantastic. We thank you for this amazing experience.”

Be sure to join us for Rosh Hashanah dinner. You’ve never experienced the High Holidays like this!

Ready to reserve now? Start by selecting a ticket option.


Learn More about the High Holidays

“Remember Us Unto Life” is a radio conversation between Rabbi Ismar Schorsch and host Larry Josephson, a secular Jew who wants to know more about the religion of his grandparents. Rabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin served as associate producer and music consultant for the program.


Meet Our Team of Leaders

Rabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin


Rabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin is the founder of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County (JCoOC). Her passion for all things Jewish and love of helping people find what is meaningful to them in Judaism is a signature of her spiritual leadership and service to the OC Jewish community. Ordained by both the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Rabbi Tilchin has 18 years of pulpit and interfaith experience in Orange County and New York.

Rabbi Shai Cherry


Rabbi Shai Cherry holds a doctorate in Jewish Thought and Theology from Brandeis University and was subsequently ordained as a Conservative Rabbi.  He wrote the first user-friendly text on Jewish biblical commentary:  Torah through Time: Understanding Bible Commentary from the Rabbinic Period to Modern Times.  He is also the featured lecturer for The Great Course’s “Introduction to Judaism.”  Rabbi Cherry has taught at Vanderbilt University, UCLA, the American Jewish University and the University of San Diego.

Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or


Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or, MFT, has been a spiritual leader, therapist and educator for more than 35 years. She is currently the Director of the JQ International Helpline and Inclusion Services, which offers support for LGBTQ Jews and their allies. Rabbi Bat-Or has also served congregations in Berkeley and Orange County, CA, and Macon, GA. She has been published in the Journal of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. As a Marriage & Family Therapist, Rabbi Bat-Or created and taught the Seven Steps to Healing® model, which emerged from her work with people recovering from trauma.

Rabbi Jason Rosner


Rabbi Jason Rosner was ordained by Hebrew Union College (HUC).  He also holds a Master of Hebrew Letters from HUC, a Master of Literature from the University of St. Andrews, and was commissioned as a reserve officer and chaplain candidate in the US Air Force. Rabbi Rosner returns to his native Orange County from leading a synagogue in Wimbledon, southwest London, to work with Irvine Hebrew Day School. He is passionate about expanding the Jewish educational opportunities in Southern California.

Cantor/Chaplain Fran Chalin


Cantor Fran Chalin, M.S.W./M.J.C.S., has been both clergy and educator in the Los Angeles Jewish community for more than 20 years. She served as cantor for Beth Chayim Chadashim, the world’s first synagogue with outreach to the LGBT Jewish community. In this role, Cantor Chalin was an active member of the Interfaith clergy coalition for human rights and healthcare reform. For the last nine years, she’s been a hospice chaplain with VITAS, working with families as they confront dying and death.

Scott Spitzer, PhD


Scott Spitzer, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University, Fullerton, where he is also the faculty advisor for Hillel. Scott serves on the board of the UC Irvine Olive Tree Initiative, where he helps to bring students from all backgrounds to the Middle East to learn about the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict first-hand. Scott has also been creating innovative, inspiring and substantive Jewish services for children for the past 15 years.

Jill & Amnon Damti, Two Worlds


Jill and Amnon Damti tell the story of the convergence of the deaf and hearing worlds through dance and movement. Amnon Damti is considered one of the premier deaf dancers in the world today as well as a gifted choreographer. Jill Damti not only dances but also helps the audience experience and embrace points of inflection between the deaf and hearing worlds through narrative and interaction. This Israeli couple has performed around the world–from the White House in Washington D.C. to Germany, Sweden, Paris, London, Wales, Russia, Paraguay and Panama.

Rabbi Peter Levi


Rabbi Peter Levi is a veteran Jewish community professional with experience in community relations and interfaith affairs. After leading congregations for more than a decade at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, Temple Chai in Phoenix and Temple Beth El in South Orange County, he now directs the Anti-Defamation League’s Orange County/Long Beach Regional Office, acts as president of the Orange County Board of Rabbis, participates in the Orange County Sheriff’s Interfaith Advisory Council and serves on the editorial board of the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly

Ron Levy

ron-levy-piano-e1504049481111.jpgRon Levy is a professional pianist, keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer with a master’s degree from UCLA. He has taught at and held accompanist positions for a variety of organizations, including Idyllwild Arts Academy, Orange County School of the Arts, Orange Coast College and UCLA. Ron held the keyboard chair in the Club Grill band at the Ritz-Carlton for 10 years; he subsequently led the jazz trio at Pelican Hill Resort upon its opening for three years. Ron is currently musical director and bandleader at the Center for Spiritual Living Newport-Mesa and for the “Saturdays@5” program at St. Mark Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

Erin Gruwell


Erin Gruwell has earned an award-winning reputation for her steadfast commitment to the future of education. By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her students’ lives, encouraging them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, reconsider their own daily decisions, and ultimately, re-chart their future. Inspired by Anne Frank, Erin and her students captured their collective journey in a New York Times bestseller, The Freedom Writers Diary. Her impact as a change agent resulted in the Hollywood film, Freedom Writers, based on the book and starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Erin. Erin also founded the Freedom Writers Foundation, where she currently teaches educators around the world how to implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms. Erin’s teaching methods have been published in, Teach With Your Heart as well the Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide. She continues to fight for equality in education and inspires teachers and students all over the world with her work.

Professor Menachem Hofnung


Menachem Hofnung has been the Chair of Department of Political Science of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2015-2017). He was also a President of the Israeli Law and Society Association (2007-2010), Chair of the International Political Science Association Research Committee on Political Finance (2006-2009) and President of the Association for Israel Studies (AIS) (2013-2015). Professor Hofnung has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley and Irvine, San Francisco State University, the University of Florida at Gainesville, Moscow State University and was a Research Fellow at the Center for Law and Society at the University of California at Berkeley and Sydney University, Australia.

Rabbi Jill Zimmerman


Rabbi Jill Berkson Zimmerman is the founder of the Jewish Mindfulness Network and Hineni: The Mindful Heart Community, an online, webinar-based mindfulness community. She teaches mindfulness through a Jewish lens, and Judaism through the perspective of mindfulness. Rabbi Jill has worked in congregations in Beverly Hills (Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills), Riverside, Carlsbad, Mammoth Lakes and Seattle. She is a contributor to the Women’s Torah Commentary and is very involved in social activism. Rabbi Jill was ordained by Hebrew Union College and has graduated from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbinic Mindfulness program, and was certified as a Jewish Meditation teacher. Before rabbinical school, she had a career in organizational development and community building and is a Certified Master Gardener. She and her husband just moved to Orange County. Rabbi Zimmerman’s website is: http://www.ravjill.com/

Ready to reserve now? Start by selecting a ticket option.

High Holiday Program

  • All times are approximate and subject to change.
  • Child care is available throughout all programming.

Wednesday, September 20 – Erev Rosh Hashanah

  • 6 p.m. Erev Rosh Hashanah Services, including sermon by Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or, “See the Beauty, Hear the Love, Speak the Truth”
  • 7:30 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Dinner following services (reservations required; please see below for more information or make a dinner reservation)

Thursday, September 21 – Rosh Hashanah Day 1

Traditional Service Schedule:

  • 8:30 a.m. P’sukei D’zimra
  • 9 a.m. Musical Morning Service (Shaharit)
  • 9:45 a.m. Torah and Shofar Services
  • 11 a.m. Sermon (Rabbi Marcia Tilchin)
  • 11:45 a.m. Musaf Service

Alternative Programming Schedule:

  • 9:15 a.m. “Five Steps to Gaining Wisdom” Wholeness Workshop with Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or
  • 10:35 a.m. Family Service with Rabbi Jason Rosner and Dr. Scott Spitzer
  • 11:40 a.m. “Memory through Movement” Workshop with Two Worlds Performers Jill & Amnon Damti
  • 12:15 p.m. “Continuous Creation” Text Study with Rabbi Shai Cherry 
  • 2 p.m. “Wonders of Creation” Rosh Hashanah Hike and Tashlikh (in Laguna Wilderness Area) with Rabbi Peter Levi – Make Hike Reservations Here

The day concludes with juice and apples & honey for all attendees on the patio.

Friday, September 22 – Rosh Hashanah Day 2

Traditional Service Schedule:

  • 8:30 a.m. Shaharit / Morning Service
  • 9:40 a.m. Torah and Shofar Services
  • 10:50 a.m. Sermon (Rabbi Jason Rosner)
  • 11:20 a.m. Musaf

Alternative Programming Schedule:

  • 9:15 a.m. “Beliefs, Opinions, and Facts” Wholeness Workshop with Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or
  • 10:35 a.m. Family Service with Dr. Scott Spitzer and Rabbi Michael Gilboa
  • 11:40 a.m. Text study with Rabbi Jason Rosner

12:45 p.m. Rosh Hashanah Lunch for all

Friday, September 29 – Erev Yom Kippur / Kol Nidre

  • 6 p.m. Kol Nidre
  • 6:45 p.m. Ma’ariv Service, including Sermon by Rabbi Shai Cherry
  • 7 p.m. Teen Program with Rabbi Jason Rosner (in a different room)

Saturday, September 30 –  Yom Kippur

Traditional Service Schedule:

  • 8:30 a.m. P’sukei D’zimra
  • 9 a.m. Musical Morning Service (Shaharit)
  • 9:45 a.m. Torah Service
  • 11:15 a.m. Pre-Yizkor Sermon
  • 11:35 a.m. Yizkor
  • 11:55 a.m. Sermon with Special Guest Erin Gruwell of the Freedom Writers Foundation, “The ABCs of Acceptance, Benevolence and Compassion: A Teacher’s Tale of The Freedom Writers Atonement”
  • 12:25 p.m. Musaf Service

Alternative Programming Schedule:

  • 9:15 a.m. “How do I Make Myself Count?” Wholeness Workshop with Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or
  • 10:35 a.m. Family Service with Rabbi Jason Rosner and Dr. Scott Spitzer
  • 11:40 a.m. Yom Kippur Movement Workshop with Two Worlds Performers Jill & Amnon Damti
  • 12 p.m. “Am I My Sister’s Keeper?” Teen & Young Adult Study with Rabbi Shai Cherry
  • 1 p.m. “Triage in the Age of Trump” Adult Text Study with Rabbi Shai Cherry
  • 1:15 p.m. Open Twelve-Step Meeting

Afternoon Discussions and Workshops:

2:30–5:30 p.m. Special 3-Hour Program: “Internalizing Transformation: An peter-levi-e1505152999378.jpgInteractive Workshop” with Rabbi Peter Levi

Yom Kippur is primarily about transforming ourselves from who we have been to who we can be. This 3-hour interactive workshop will take us on a journey of discovery, growth and transformation using exercises and discussion.


RabbiJillZimmerman-small2:30-4:00 p.m. “Forgiveness: The Challenge” with Rabbi Jill Zimmerman

We are implored to forgive others and ask for forgiveness during the High Holy Days. What do you do when the pain is so deep that you don’t feel ready to forgive? OR if the person who has hurt you has not asked for forgiveness? And how do you forgive yourself? Join Rabbi Zimmerman for a discussion and lovingkindness meditation as a healing practice for forgiving ourselves and others. 

3:30-4:30 p.m. “The Role of Religion in Israeli Politics” with Professor Menachem menachem_hofnungHofnung

Come hear about this thought-provoking topic from a professor who has served as the Chair of Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


4:30-5:30 p.m. “What’s New with LGBTQ?:  Support Group for LGBTQ, Friends and rachel-bat-or.jpgAllies” with Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or

It’s been a tumultuous year of both forward movement and setbacks for LGBTQ Jews and our allies. We are now more determined than ever to develop our advocacy and leadership skills, increase our visibility, and challenge the lack of knowledge that keeps others from accepting who we are. This workshop will be part support group, part review of the negative and positive impacts of the past year’s events, and part discussion of the nuances in how we live our lives.

Concluding Services:

  • 5 p.m. Family-friendly Minha service
  • 6 p.m. Neilah

Followed by Special Break-the-Fast (Reservations Required; make your reservation here.)

At St. Mark Presbyterian Church
2200 San Joaquin Hills Rd.
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Make your reservations today.

Reserve for High Holidays using our easy 2-step process.

The Jewish Collaborative of Orange County charges no membership fees to access any of our programs during the year, including High Holidays. We are funded entirely by your donations. Our High Holiday ticket amounts reflect the cost of creating a rich experience with many options for celebrating the New Year. All contributions to JCoOC are tax deductible.


A JCoOC “Experience the New Year” ticket admits you to any and all general admission services and programs and childcare on Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Days 1 & 2, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Lunch, Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. Please also consider joining us for an optional Erev Rosh Hashanah community dinner (9/20/17).

Rosh Hashanah Dinner (9/20/17) Reservations

Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

Green Salad
Sweet or Roasted Chicken (Pasta Available for Vegetarians)
Pareve Sweet Noodle Kugel
Roasted Potatoes with Carrots
Roasted Vegetables
Apple Cobbler and Fruit

I don’t have to cook? Count me in!
$40 (Age 12 & Up) and $25 (Age 3-11) – Make a Dinner Reservation
No Charge for Children Ages 2 & Under (but please let us know they’ll be with you)

Individual Ticket
I’m in!
Please accept my $280 donation
Admits one person age 18 & over

Couples Ticket
I want a “Twofer” so I can bring my significant other, best friend or child at a reduced cost!

Please accept my $500 Donation
Admits two people

Family Ticket
I’m bringing the “Whole Mishpaha!” 
Please accept my $700 Donation
Admits up to two adults plus children

JCoOChai Donation
I want to make sure others “Experience the New Year!” 
Please accept my $1,800 Donation
Admits an individual or family
Includes pre-High Holiday brunch & lecture with Rabbi Shai Cherry, PhD, in a private home and an intimate post-Yom Kippur Break the Fast

Alternative Donation

  • I want to make an alternative donation
  • I am a college student or active duty military
  • I want to donate toward childcare (suggested at $15/day per child)
  • I just love JCoOC programming and want to make a donation!
    Use this option to make a one-time donation. Or click here to become a monthly donor in lieu of purchasing tickets. Thank you!


Do you have questions or would you like to speak with someone about your ticket purchase? Please email joy@jewishcollaborativeoc.org or call 949.402.8004.

Shana tova! We look forward to seeing you!

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