The Days of Awe will feel different this year.

A Note about High Holy Days 5781/2020

We are saddened to announce that Nishmat Shoom will not be holding in-person Days of Awe services this year, the way we have for the past two years. This decision was made with the Jewish value of pikuach nefesh—prioritizing the importance of saving a life—in mind. Due to continued concerns about the pandemic, and our desire to protect all of our community, especially those who are most vulnerable, we will be doing something different this year.

We feel deep grief about the temporary loss of this in-person communal time, and we imagine this may bring up grief for those who have come to call this High Holiday community home, as we have. Of course, our intention is to return to in-person services and other gatherings when it is safe to do so, but for now, we are thinking creatively and planning for other things we can offer.

Nishmat Shoom’s Days of Awe offering this year will be a fabulous mix that could include at-home DIY rituals, nature-based experiences, downloadable songs, short live online gatherings, connections with other radical non-Zionist community services across the country, and more. More details will be posted on social media and sent to our mailing list.

Train in Conflict Resolution with Restorative Circles

We’d love to share with you a critical offering and opportunity that is budding in our community right now to learn about Restorative Circles. This will be a 6-week training series to build skills in addressing community conflict. To defund the police and dismantle the carceral system it supports, we need alternatives in our communities to address conflict, hurt, and harm. This series is being organized specifically for Western Massachuetts. We hope you’ll consider attending! 

The first 2.5 hour session is a stand-alone introduction that can be attended by anyone, whether you plan to continue with the rest of the weeks of the training or not. After the first week, you can decide whether to continue with the next five sessions. 

The first session will take place on Thursday, July 9, 2020, 6:30-9:30 PM. The suggested donation is $8-$18 for the first session. Preregister here!

Captioning will be available on Zoom with Rev Live.

If you have further questions about accessibility, please reach out to Darla Stabler:

Flyer for conflict workshop.

Resources for Juneteenth and Beyond

We miss you and hope you are finding breath and ground in the midst of uprising, unraveling, and change. We continue to be inspired by and in awe of the powerful work we are witnessing and part of. Whether you are out in the streets, in your kitchens, in your beds, networking, singing, praying, resting, learning—we are with you in spirit.

We are also honored to share these resources with you, as a way to uplift the work of people who are Black, Indigenous, and/or Jews of Color. We also are continuing to look at how we, both individually and collectively, can deepen our work towards dismantling white supremacy, defunding the police, and investing in more life-affirming, just ways of being. 

In that spirit, we want to offer this list of resources and events. We are sending this out now, especially, so that you have access to this for Juneteenth (observed tomorrow, Friday, June 19th).

For this Shabbat
(Friday evening 6/19 and Saturday 6/20)

Black Lives Kaddish
Shoshana Brown, sent this out from the Jewish Multiracial Network, inviting folks to say Black Lives Kaddish this Friday—on your own or in a virtual gathering with others. 

Juneteenth Kabbalat Shabbat with Rabbi Sandra Lawson and Rabbi Isaama Goldstein-Stoll
Registration for this Zoom event is FREE but required. Service begins at 5:00pm. 

Saturday Morning Shacharit with Tchiyah
Zoom event

Saturday evening Havdalah for Jews of Color with Kol Or
Zoom event


Rad Jewish Resources for Pandemic Times

The love that we generated during our last Nishmat Shoom gathering this fall has not been far from our minds—remember that room full of beloveds, singing and praising together? We still get to tap into that feeling of magic and connectedness in any moment we may feel heavy under the weight of social distancing—and we can remind ourselves that the distance, too, is an act of collective solidarity to keep our people safe from harm. 

In the midst of the challenges, amazing things are being created and the meaning of “community” is stretching to include new ways of being together. We wanted to make sure you know about some resources that can keep you connected to spirit and Jewish community at this time. (Special thanks to Dori Midnight for compiling the initial list).

We hope to cross paths with you in some of these virtual spaces. As with many gatherings these days, we are not certain about what we will be offering next, whether virtual or in person. But, please stay tuned, and know we are thinking carefully about what’s to come for Nishmat Shoom! This community is special and dear to so many of us: please know we are committed to continuing to breathe life into it. 

… AND let’s keep connecting. Tag us in your Instagram posts (@nishmatshoom) about things you are creating; post on our facebook wall ways you are creating ritual. And, if you have an offering you’d like us to consider adding, shoot us an email at

P.S. If you’re longing for the connection of the Days of Awe, let yourself be transported back for a while with our Days of Awe 5780 SoundCloud Playlist.

Art by Wendy Somerson | | @wendyelisheva