As the Jewish community prepares for High Holidays unlike any in our lifetimes, the Culture and Learning Center at B’nai Shalom in West Orange is offering a series of events to help make Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as meaningful as possible this year. All events are free and open to the community.

On Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., Rabbi Robert L. Tobin, spiritual leader of B’nai Shalom, will lead “Rising to the Occasion: How to Elevate Your Online Holiday Experience.” Introducing easy yet mindful ways to lift our online synagogue experience from “different” to beautiful, Rabbi Tobin will cover everything from how to access the service from home to creating a “holy space” for prayer and reflection.

On Sept. 12 at 9 p.m., B’nai Shalom’s Selichot Players will present  a vivid dramatic reading of “The Wise Men of Chelm,” just prior to Selichot. As the days of repentance begin, the story of the foolish Chelmites living in 15th century Poland has much to say about human fallibility and our talent for making mistakes even when we are trying to do good things for others. A traditional Selichot service will follow the performance on Zoom.

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“What better preparation for Selichot than to empathize with the charming fools of Chelm, and perhaps to find some compassion for our own missteps,” said Rabbi Tobin.

There will be a Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) Community Learning Experience soon after the holidays. A timely and provocative online course, The Ethical Life: Jewish Values in an Age of Choice will be offered this fall at B’nai Shalom. The complete 5-part series will begin on October 22. Each session will be presented via Zoom, facilitated by Rabbi Richard Fagan. It will feature world-class scholars from the JTS faculty.

Registration is needed for all these events. To learn more and register go to When you register, you will receive the Zoom link in response.