Congregation B’nai Chaim set to celebrate Jewish High Holidays

Lady contemplating her faith

Congregation B’nai Chaim, 29500 Via Princesa in Murrieta, has released its schedule of worship and announced its guest rabbi and guest cantor for the 2019 High Holidays.

This year, Rabbi Marc Rubenstein will deliver the messages during high holiday celebrations. Rubenstein, a distinguished Hebrew scholar, studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem before obtaining his bachelor’s degree in religion and history studies at American University in Washington. He received his rabbinical training at the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City and also studied at New York University and Ohio State University.

Rubenstein served as both vice president and president of the East Bay Council of Rabbis in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 10 years. He also was rabbi at Temple Isaiah in Newport Beach for more than 25 years, now serving as their rabbi emeritus.

Rubenstein considers himself a mentor for life with couples that he officiates weddings for. He continues working with wedding couples throughout their lifecycle events and has officiated at life events for many celebrities and dignitaries.

This year’s guest cantor, Svetlana Portnyansky, was born in Moscow, Russia, and graduated from the famous Gnesin Musical State Academy in Moscow with honors in 1986. She began her singing career at the Jewish Theater “Shalom.”

In 1991 she won first prize at the Moscow International Pop ‘n ‘Rock Music Festival. That same year, she immigrated to the United States where she continued her education in cantorial vocal and theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York and Los Angeles and became a cantor in one of the conservative synagogues of Los Angeles, Since that time she has enjoyed the status of international Jewish star with concert tours all over the world, including USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, western and eastern Europe and of course, Israel.

Portnyansky’s youthful style, sensational voice and personal charm made her one of the leading singers in her homeland of Russia and have, in recent years, endeared her to audiences around the world, as well as made her one of the extraordinary Jewish performers. In the midst of the successful career in radio, television and the concert stage she developed a yearning for Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and international music and introduced it into her repertoire.

Today she is one of the few singers that bring Jewish music, culture and tradition to the whole international Jewish community. Her songs strengthen the resolve for thousands of Russian Jews to go to their homeland. She continuously inspires American Jews to contribute generously for the cause of Israel.

Her songs are creating the new bond between the Jewish communities of the world. Through her art she reawakens the best of the Jewish spirit – faith in God, respect for tradition and love the eretz Israel.

The high holidays schedule is as follows:

Erev Rosh Hashanah begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, followed by the First Day of Rosh Hashanah Monday, Sept. 30, with services beginning at 9:30 a.m. Also Monday, Sept. 30, join Congregation B’nai Chaim at the Temecula Duck Pond at 4 p.m. for Tashlich.

For the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Tuesday, Oct. 1, services begin at 9:30 a.m.

Erev Yom Kippur – Kol Nidre will be Tuesday, Oct. 8, with services beginning at 7 p.m.

Yom Kippur Wednesday, Oct. 9, services begin at 9:30 a.m., with youth service from 10 a.m. to noon. Yizkor begins at 12:30 p.m., Mincha Services at 4:45 p.m. and Neilah Services at 6 p.m. Havdalah and Final Shofar is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. and will be followed by a Break the Fast Dinner.

Tickets are $75 for adults. Children are free of charge. No one will be turned away due to financial need.  To purchase tickets, call (951) 677-7350.

All events will be held at the synagogue, unless otherwise listed.

For more information on Congregation B’nai Chaim High Holidays celebrations or to learn more, visit

Kim Harris can be reached by email at