The programme is now available for our Ten Days of Learning and Reflection – this year on Zoom. For details, see below.

Click here for the texts we'll be studying during the 10 days.


For information on our other offerings for the Yamim Nora'im during this strange pandemic year click here.  Videos from Rabbi Joel and liturgical recordings for the High Holy Days can be found here


All sessions are on the usual KNM Zoom link, here.

The Kol Nefesh High Holy Day At-Home "Retreat": Ten Days of Learning and Reflection

The period of the High Holy Days is a culturally supported time for reflecting on our lives. It provides an opportunity for turning over our core values and assumptions and pondering which areas of our lives we need to develop and work on. 


Each year, Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue offers a unique ten-day spiritual "retreat" during the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in which we take a theme and explore it in depth from a variety of perspectives. Through this process, we allow ourselves to stop, think, and re-order our priorities – to re-connect to our deepest take on reality. We aim to arrive at Yom Kippur having done the inner work necessary to put our utmost into that great day of reckoning.


This Year's Theme  
The Seven Laws of Noah: Judaism and Universal Ethics

This year we will be exploring the rabbinic idea that humans are all bound to keep a set of common laws called the “Shevah Mitsvot Bnei Noah” – the seven commandments of the descendants of Noah. In this season we imagine that all humans pass before God to be judged; but judged for what? We will examine how these Noachide rules evolved and what they say about the bonds of obligation linking all humans.


Please join us for all or some of the shiurim this year! All sessions are stand-alone, requiring no background knowledge; but participants who manage to attend all of the sessions will gain a more complete understanding of this year’s theme. In addition, Rabbi Joel will be at all of the sessions, ensuring that there is a constant conceptual ‘shape’ to our ten days of learning.

Schedule of Events

The Erev Rosh Hashanah and pre-Yom Kippur sessions will be community-wide events in which we will prepare for the day to come. During the pre-Yom Kippur session we will also hold a communal Yizkor service, hear a shortened Kol Nidrei service, and deliver our Kol Nidrei Appeal.


At each of the study sessions, we will look at one of the seven classical Noachide laws in detail.

All sessions are on the usual KNM Zoom link, here.

Friday 18th September  


Erev Rosh Hashanah

Join us for a community-wide get-together. This will include a brief introduction to our theme, a musical invitation to enter the sound world of the High Holydays, a virtual sharing of the foods that we will be eating to symbolise our aspirations for the year to come, and the first screening of the film created around our Hands-across-the-Lands Covid-19 photography project linking KNMS kids with their peers in Jerusalem.


Sunday 20th September   

7.55pm: Havdalah

8.00–9.00pm: Session

9.00–9.20pm: Reflections and processing

The first evening session. We will begin with dinim – the establishment of a legal system. Rabbi Joel will be in dialogue with Joel Fenster and Greg Ostroff, two young lawyers from the community, about how they understand the role of law in society.


Monday 21st September

7.40–8.00pm: Mini-S'lichot

8.00–9.00pm: Session

9.00–9.20pm: Reflections and processing

The prohibition on cursing God. Is a sense of the sacred universal, and should we defend it in a modern society?


Tuesday 22nd September

7.40–8.00pm: Mini-S'lichot

8.00–9.00pm: Session

9.00–9.20pm: Reflections and processing

The universal prohibition against murder and bloodshed. Our discussion will centre on Colum McCann's novelised true story Apeirogon, about an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian working together for peace. Led by the Kol Nefesh Book Club.


Wednesday 23rd September

7.40–8.00pm: Mini-S'lichot

8.00–9.00pm: Session

9.00–9.20pm: Reflections and processing

The prohibition against sexual transgressions. Rabbi Joel will be in dialogue with Dr Jill Zelin about sexual transgression in the ancient world and in modernity.

Jill is a senior consultant in sexual and reproductive healthcare in East London.


Thursday 24th September


“Strange worship”, or idolatry. Are non-Jews prohibited from worshiping their own Gods? Rabbi Joel will lead the discussion.



Friday 25th September

5.00pm: Minchah

5.15pm: Open chat

5.30pm: Yedid Nefesh, Leyening, D'var Torah

6.00pm: Prayers for the community, the country, the State of Israel, the sick; Kaddish

6.10–6.50pm: Kabbalat Shabbat (ending before Shabbat comes in)

The prohibition against theft. Rabbi Joel will speak on  "What is Property and What is Theft?"


Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) 26th September

7.50–8.00pm: Havdalah

8.00–9.00pm: Session

9.00–9.20pm: Reflections and processing

The Noachide prohibition against tearing a limb from a living animal. Rabbi Joel will be in conversation with senior veterinarian Daniel Preter on how attitudes to animal welfare have changed.

Daniel grew up in Munich, Germany and studied Veterinary Science there. After completing his doctorate in experimental surgery he moved to London and started working as a vet. He became a partner in Medivet and his main role today is running the group's graduate programme, and working with students and universities.



Sunday 27th Sept 


Morning before Yom Kippur

There is an ancient tradition of convening a Beit Din sometime between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the annulment of vows. We will do something similar on the morning before Yom Kippur.  To bring us towards the conclusion of the Ten Days we will have a community-wide morning gathering that will include Kol Nidre, some final reflections on the Ten Days, a communal Yikzor, a D’var Torah and the yearly Kol Nidre Appeal. Don’t miss it!