The High Holidays are fast approaching, bringing with them a blend of feasting, fasting, celebration, and inspiration for the year ahead. Looking to celebrate the Jewish New Year with us in Key West in 2022? Here’s a quick guide to places around the island that are offering services and/or kosher meals for the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur High Holidays.
This year, Rosh Hashanah (the two-day head of the Jewish year) runs from sundown on Sunday, Sept. 25, until sundown on Tuesday, Sept. 27. A week later, the High Holidays culminate in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement which marks the end of the Jewish High Holy Days), runs from sundown on Tuesday, Oct. 4, until sundown on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Celebrate the High Holidays at Chabad Jewish Center of The Florida Keys and Key West
If you’re going to visit one place during the High Holidays, let this be it. The Chabad Jewish Center (906 Trinity Dr.) has a plethora of High Holiday happenings, from a full-course Rosh Hashanah dinner with traditional holiday delicacies, to candle lightings, shofar blowing, and morning and evening services (including Mincha, Kol Nidre, Yizkor, and Neilah services). Plus, they’re offering a special Tashlich service, an act performed during Rosh Hashanah where participants cast off their sins by tossing bread crumbs into flowing water. See the Chabad Jewish Center’s full schedule of events here.
Visit Congregation B’nai Zion, South Florida’s Oldest Jewish Congregation
Founded in 1887, Congregation B’nai Zion is the oldest Jewish congregation in South Florida. After services being held in members’ homes until 1907, the congregation saw a change of venue more than once (plus a devastating arson fire) before settling into their current location in 1969. Today, the building’s facade has beautiful architectural details like the six columns symbolic of the six columns of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and homage to the six million Jewish Holocaust victims. Visit the synagogue at 750 United St. and stop in for one of their Saturday morning Shabbat services.
Eat Kosher in Key West
After a day-long fast during Yom Kippur, you’re going to be ravenous. Mam’s Best Food is arguably the best kosher food on the island. The hidden gem is beloved for its freshly made kosher eats, authentic dishes, and stellar service. Grab a seat on Mam’s small outdoor patio and enjoy omelet breakfasts and fresh pita bread, homemade meatballs, falafel, shawarma, and some of the best baba ghanoush you’ve ever tasted. Mam’s Best Food also has a small kosher grocery store with items like Israeli coffee, challah bread, and kosher meat. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this place. Open Sunday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Closed Saturday. 405 Petronia St.
For a quick bite, stop by Falafel King near the Aquarium. The small family-owned and -operated sandwich shop features breakfast items like cheese toast, a sabich stuffed with fried eggplant and hard boiled egg, and salami, hot dog, and mushroom omelets. Come lunchtime, dig into fresh falafel, schnitzel, kebab, and grilled tilapia paired with sides like hummus, red and white cabbage, tahini, and Israel salad. Open daily 9 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. 110 Fitzpatrick St.
Happy New Year! Shanah Tovah!
Looking for a place to stay for the holidays? 24 North Hotel is situated at Key West’s port of entry and just 10 minutes from the airport. Located in New Town, the hotel is a nice refuge from Duval Street and offers an on-site Starbucks and continuous shuttle service to Old Town so you won’t have to worry about transportation. Book direct and save up to 25% off your stay.