Jewish Holy Days of prayer and reflection

Jewish Holy Days of prayer and reflectionBy LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer

“These are the holiest days of the year,” says June Wasserman, Secretary of the Indian Wells Valley Jewish Community Association (IWVJCA). “It is a time of prayer and reflection.” This year services are being held at the Paradise Club on the base. Wasserman and Dr. June Leslie Wilder, Vice President of IWVJCA, assure everyone that car pools and transportation will be provided for those without base access.

“All Jewish days start in the evening,” says Wasserman. Monday evening on September 6 at 6:30pm is the first evening service of Rosh Hashanah with Tuesday morning September 7 at 10am being the second service. “Yom Kippur is Day of Atonement. It is a fasting day for observant Jews who do not eat or drink for 24-hours. That is on Wednesday Sept 15 at 6:30 and Thursday Sept 16 at 10am with a concluding service on Thursday Sept 16 at 4pm. Then we have a community ‘breaking of the fast’ where we will share a potluck meal.”

“Even before Rosh Hashanah there is a whole month of preparation called ‘The Month of Elul’ and every day is almost like a meditation in preparation for Rosh Hashanah which means ‘The Head of the New Year.’ This is when the world was born, this is when the world trembles and man and woman was born,” says Wieder. “Usually we have apples and honey to symbolize our new year. The apple represents eternity and the honey is sweetness. It is a joyful time.” She adds, “Yom Kippur is also joyful. Rosh Hashanah is building up to Yom Kippur, spending ten days in preparation by making amends with our friends and our family. When Yom Kippur comes, that’s when we atone to God. That last day we fast so we can get rid of the physicalities so we can prepare to be one with God and ask for forgiveness.”

The board members of the IWVJCA also hold the same offices for Temple Beth Torah. The temple was established in the 1940’s or early 1950’s as part of the All Faith Chapel on base. There has never been a resident rabbi in Ridgecrest. Wasserman tells us, “Mostly we have had student rabbis from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. The students train here as part of their five year post bachelor degree program to become rabbis. We have been instrumental in helping students who become rabbis and leaders in the Jewish community all over the country. Pre-COVID they would come in person, 10-12 visits per year. For several years we had a retired rabbi.” For the upcoming High Holy Days services the student rabbi will officiate via zoom to an in-person congregation .

Those interested in learning more about the association, the services, or transportation to the services can contact Wasserman at 760-793-1784 or

Laura Austin Photo: Dr. June Leslie Wieder, of Temple Beth Torah, sits by the pond where sins will be symbolically cast away into running water during Tashlich on September 7.

Story First Published: 2021-09-03