Congregation B’nai Chaim invites all to pray, enjoy, listen and learn for the High Holidays

Cantor Alan Scharf will serve as the guest cantor for High Holidays at Congregation B’nai Chaim in Murrieta. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Congregation B’nai Chaim is inviting all to attend this year’s High Holiday services, featuring guest Cantor Alan Scharf. High Holiday services will begin with Erev Rosh Hashanah Friday, Sept. 18.

Scharf said he wanted to become a cantor when he was a teenager. But by the time he got to college, his goal was leaning more toward theater.

After doing a number of shows in summer stock and off-Broadway, he became a member of The Highwaymen, an internationally known folk-singing group famous for such songs as “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” and “Cottonfields.” When the group disbanded in 1968, Scharf moved to San Diego where he had small roles in some movies, TV and over 100 TV commercials.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that he studied to be a cantor and had a pulpit at Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, for close to nine years.

Since then, he has divided his time between show business and lending his cantorial talents to various shuls as guest cantor for Shabbatot and the High Holy Days.

In a first for the oldest synagogue in southwest Riverside County, this year services for the High Holidays will be held via Zoom, according to Irv Michlin, representative of Congregation B’nai Chaim.

“Services will be offered on Zoom unless we receive Riverside County permission to hold a portion of our services in the sanctuary,” Michlin said. “If so, seating will be restricted due to spacing and distance requirements so if you are interested, we need to hear from you by Aug. 31.”

Tickets for High Holidays services are free for members of Congregation B’nai Chaim and $36 for nonmembers. Children are free, and no one will be turned away due to financial need, Michlin said.

Erev Rosh Hashanah services are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m., the first day or Rosh Hashanah, Saturday, Sept. 19, services begin at 10 a.m. Taschlich will be held Saturday, Sept. 19, at 4 p.m. at the Temecula Duck Pond. Services for the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Sunday, Sept. 20, begin at 10 a.m. and services for Erev Yom Kippur – Kol Nidre, also Sunday, Sept. 27, begin promptly at 7 p.m. Yom Kippur services will be held Monday, Sept. 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m. followed by Yizkor at approximately 12:30 p.m., Mincha Services at 4:45 p.m., N’eilah Services at 6 p.m. and Havdalah and Final Shofar at 7:20 p.m.

For more information on High Holiday services or for a complete list of services, events and classes, call 951-677-7350, send an email to or visit Congregation B’nai Chaim online at

Congregation B’nai Chaim is located at 29500 Via Princesa in Murrieta.

 Kim Harris can be reached by email at

Kim Harris