High Holy Days

Covid-19 at High Holidays

Our goal is that the people attending our High Holidays can enjoy all of the programs over the course of the holiday season with minimal risk of contracting COVID-19. This means we’re doing a mix of indoor, outdoor and virtual programming, with spaces where masks will be optional and required, depending on venue, airflow and ventilation, and capacity.

Taking into account the current CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines for times of high and medium COVID-19 transmission, and in dialogue with peer organizations and our own community members, here’s what you can expect at Mishkan High Holiday services this year:

  • Masks are required inside the main sanctuary, and we ask that everyone wear a high quality, well fitting mask (KN95, N-95, or double masks).
    • We expect around 700 – 900 people at The Athenaeum (a historic theater with a ventilation system that is not recently updated). 
    • Our rabbis and davening team will be on the bima without masks for the entirety of services. We’d like our service leaders and staff to remain healthy throughout the high holidays. We don’t have understudies!
  • Masks are optional in the lobby, hallways, bathrooms, coffee bar (at least on Rosh Hashanah) and classrooms at the Athenaeum Theater. Do what’s comfortable for you, and please wear your nametag so that people know who you are! 
    • These spaces will be less densely packed than the sanctuary, and will have more airflow from the main doors throughout the day. 
    • These are spaces that you can spend as much or as little time in as you like. 
  • Masks are optional in all outdoor spaces. This includes Selichot at North Center Town Square, Tashlich at Montrose Beach, and our Family Street Fest on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Please do what feels good for you.

Should the COVID transmission drop to low, we will revisit our policies. We are pleased to report almost universal vaccination rates in the Mishkan community, and these high vaccination rates have helped us to resume in-person activities safely. We ask that all members of your household (over 5 years of age) attending the High Holidays are fully vaccinated and boosted.

We are grateful to you for helping us to create an atmosphere where everyone can sing with joy. 


  • If you feel ill, please stay home. We will process refunds for people with tickets, who do not attend for this reason. Or, you can turn your purchase into a tax-deductible donation, at your request. We will also provide you links to the livestream with your ticket purchase.
  • If you’ve had a direct COVID exposure within 5 days of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, we ask that you rapid test the morning you show up. Assuming you’re negative, you’re good to go according to the CDC. If you test positive, see bullet point above.


The Athenaeum

September 25 – October 5

In-person and virtual