I plan to attend Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services this year for the first time. Will I be expected to donate money during the service, like in a church service? If so, what’s the "right” amount?

How wonderful that you will be experiencing the Jewish High HolidaysHigh Holidaysיָמִים נוֹרָאִיםRosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur at a synagogue this year! (And if you’re reading this but haven’t yet found a synagogue to call home, check out our Find a Congregation tool before the High Holidays arrive.)

You will not be expected to give money during the Rosh HaShanah or Yom Kippur services. In fact, it is customary to not exchange money on Shabbat or major Jewish holidays.

However, if you would like to make a donation to the synagogue in the days before or following the service, the congregation would surely be grateful, as most synagogues support themselves with membership dues and donations. 

Prior to visiting, you might want to check with the congregation you will be visiting to see if they will be collecting non-perishable foods for the community food pantry during the time you’ll be there. Because Yom Kippur is a fast day, many congregations either encourage worshiper to donate the equivalent dollar amount of what they would have spent on groceries for that day, and they organize a non-perishable food collection to stock the local food pantries. 

Finally, please also note that many North American Reform synagogues require tickets for High Holidays services – even for members – to ensure that there are enough seats for everyone who wishes to worship. There may be a fee for these tickets, or not, depending on the congregation; your local synagogue will be happy to outline for you its ticket policies.

May you find the High Holiday services to be meaningful.