Observing the New Year and High Holidays with community members, friends new and old, and family connects each of us to our traditions, teachings, ancestors, and mitzvot. Synagogues in the greater Indianapolis area offer a variety of options for worship during this time of year. 


In addition to local service opportunites and resources from our synagogue partners, the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis will be currating family resources and learning opportunities to support you through the Fall holidays.


Be sure to check out the Elul, Days of Awe, and Sukkot subpages for complete holiday descriptions, resources, and connection opportunities.

Need some support this holiday season? JFS is here to help! Contact Julie Sondhelm at (317) 536-1476 or jsondhelm@jfgi.org.

Chabad Center for Jewish Life: Orthodox | 2640 W. 96th St., Carmel | 317-251-5573 | chabadindiana.org | rabbi@lubavitchindiana.com

Congregation Beth-El Zedeck: Reconstructionist/Conservative | 600 W. 70th St., Indianapolis | 317-253-3441 | bez613.org | bez613@bez613.org

Congregation Beth Shalom: Reform | 849 W. 96th St., Indianapolis | 317-306-5644 | bethshalomindy.org | info@bethshalomindy.org

Congregation B'nai Torah: Orthodox | 6510 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis | 317-253-5253 | btorahindy.org | office@btorah.org

Congregation Shaarey Tefilla: Conservative | 3085 W. 116th St., Carmel | 317-733-2169 | shaareytefilla.org | office@shaareytefilla.org

Etz Chaim Sephardic Congregation: Sephardic Orthodox | 6939 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis | 317-251-6220 | etzchaimindy.org | president@etzchaimindy.org

Humanistic Judaism: 317-721-2747 | HumanisticJewsIndy@gmail.com

Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation: Reform | 6501 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis | 317-255-6647 | ihcindy.org | info@ihcindy.org

Temple B'nai Israel: Reform | 618 W. Superior St., Kokomo | 765-452-0383 | TempleBnaiIsraelKokomo@gmail.com



Elul is the 6th month in the Hebrew calendar and the last month of the Jewish yearly cycle, occurring in August or September. The month of Elul precedes the month of Tishrei during which communities celebrate the High Holidays including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Chodesh Elul (the beginning of the month of Elul) begins in the evening on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.


Regarded in commentaries as a time of heighten spiritual connection, Elul is seen as a month of Teshuva (forgiveness or return) and has taken on a context as a month of learning and preparation for the High Holidays. It is custom in communities that the shofar is blown each day during weekday morning services as an invitation to awaken and connect. Another custom of Elul is reciting selichot (prayers of forgiveness). The Sephardic tradition is to recite Selichot every day of Elul while the Ashkenazi tradition is to add these prayers starting the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.


See the ELUL page for further explanation of learning opportunities & Selichot service schedules.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah occurs in the fall, around September or October, on the first and second day of the Jewish month of Tishrei. Rosh Hashanah 2023 begins at Sundown on Friday, September 15 and ends Sunday evening, September 17.


Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning "head of the year," is the Jewish New Year. While a happy and festive holiday, it is also seen as a time to evaluate the past year and perform Teshuvah by repenting for transgressions and forgiving others for theirs. A traditional greeting around Rosh Hashanah is Shana Tovah or literally "A Good Year!"


See the Days of Awe page for further explanation of the holidays.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur falls on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei (nine days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah), in September or October. Yom Kippur 2023 begins at sundown on Sunday, September 24 and ends Monday evening, September 25.


Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, when individuals and whole communities repent for their sins over the past year and ask that they be inscribed in the "Book of Life" for the year to come. The holiest day in the Jewish year, it is customary for adults to abstain from eating or drinking for 25 hours. Additional abstentions include refraining from bathing, wearing of makeup or applying lotions, wearing luxurious items like leather, and other bodily pleasures.


See the Days of Awe page for further explanation of the holidays.


Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah

Sukkot begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, in September or October. Sukkot 2023 begins at sundown on Friday, September 29. Shmini Atzeret (and Simchat Torah in some communities) begins at sundown on Friday, October 6. Communities that celebrate Simchat Torah seperate from Shmini Atzeret will observe this additional day of holiday beginning in the evening on Saturday, October 7 and concluding in the evening on Sunday, October 8.


Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, commemorates the Biblical period of wandering in the desert. A temporary shelter (a sukkah) is built outside the home and used to take meals and even sleep in it for the duration of the one-week holiday. The "eighth day" of Sukkot, known as Shmini Atzeret, can be considered a separate holiday. It marks the beginning of the rainy season in Israel and the year's first prayer for rain, so that the ground might be prepared for planting when springtime arrives. Some also celebrate Simchat Torah, the rejoicing of the Torah, on the same day, while others celebrate the following day.


See the Sukkot page for further explanation of the holidays.