For those in NYC looking for a place for the high holidays..

Though Shteelbehopper is on a break before she gets started with her journey of discovery, she thought it would be a good opportunity to share with you the latest organization looking out for those of us who aren’t connected to a Shul.
This just in (UJA sponsored, Jewish Week neutrally reported-on):

Ohel Ayalah reaches out to people in their 20s and 30s, to those who are inter-dating or are intermarried, and to those who feel alienated from the Jewish establishment. All are welcome, however. Last year 200 people showed up on Rosh Hashanah and 250 on Kol Nidrei night, most of them under 35.
If you know people that might find these services to their liking, please direct them to the website, www.ohelayalah.org. They will find all details there. Services are held at 12 W 12 St, in the Great Hall of the First Presbyterian Church, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Kol Nidrei night. After services on Rosh Hashanah there is a light lunch and a lecture entitled, “Zikhronot/Remembering: Post-World War II American Jews Confront the Catastrophe,” by Prof. Hasia Diner of NYU. People are welcome to attend any or all events.

Anyone know of other places in the world offering free, sliding scale, or discounted places to go for the high holidays? (whether or not they are specifically geared toward unaffiliated Jews…)

20 thoughts on “For those in NYC looking for a place for the high holidays..

  1. Hi, Rabbi Menachem from the More Jews Wandering in the Desert post a little ways down. In Chicago at the Mitziut Jewish Community we have a suggested donation range from $26-360 per holiday for the High Holy Days and no one is turned away for lack of funds. We believe that Yom Kippur is one of the most joyous days of the year and our davening reflects that. Our services follow the traditional flow and use a lot of Hebrew with large chunks transliterated as well as translated. We spend time looking at the meaning of the holy days, stressing the work we do at this time. Each year we pick a focusing theme. This year it’s Teshuva: Return to Self, Community and the Divine. We also like to sing and meditate and walk to the beach during breaks. Check out our website, http://www.mitziut.org or write me at [email protected] with any questions comments or concerns.
    shalom v’ahava,
    Rabbi Menachem

  2. and of course any chabad shul/place of worship anywhere in the world is happy to welcome any jew. in los angeles, rabbi schlomo schwartz (schwartzi) attracts close to a thousand people to his high holiday services (no charge whatsoever), this year hes holding it at the writer’s guild (on doheny just south of wilshire). hes a lubavitcher with his own organization (the chai center), services 60/40 between english and hebrew, completely inspiring.

  3. Adath Israel in San Francisco is offering two free services that are “no hebrew required, user friendly, inspirational, alternative, etc….” I can’t say what this will be like as I have never been there, but this was forwarded to me so I thought I’d share it.
    Rosh Hashanah, 10/4: 10:30 – 12:30
    Yom Kippur, 10/13 – 10:30-12:30
    1851 Noriega St. RSVP to adathisraelrabbi@gmail. com

  4. In the Twin Cities, Beth El Synagogue (Conservative) is offering complimentary tickets to 20- and 30-somethings. I think the offer is geared at Jews who grew up Conservative and are now unaffiliated, but maybe it’s more flexible.

  5. it nice that these groups exist but they mostly don’t work becaue the unaffiliated don’t want to become affiliated thats why they are where they are in the first place the people that do the best outreach are Chabad like them or hate them they are very effective because they keep it real so to speak

  6. in response to urbankvetcher:
    when you say “don’t work” that’s under the assumption that the ultimate goal is for people to become ‘affiliated.’ i actually hate this word; i consider myself ‘unaffiliated’ since i don’t /belong/ to a shul, but like, hello – i go to shul every fri night and sat morning, just usually not at actual synagogues (until soon, for this project). but when it comes down to it, i don’t think the ikar (main idea) is to get all jews to join a synagogue davka (in particular), but to get them to have respect for and feel welcome at a wide range of Jewish gatherings (including synagogues, but also retreats, jewish concerts, classes, etc).
    as for chabad:
    sorry, but i don’t think chabad comes near to accomplishing that; while they may act all friendly and open, they’re not going to give you an aliyah to the torah or give you their child’s hand in marriage unless you are a ‘torah observant’ jew in their eyes. i’m not so interested in participating in a club that won’t have me as a full member until i morph into ‘one of them.’
    if people want to go to shul on the chagim without feeling guilted into being someone they are not, yashar koach (power to them) – i don’t blame them for staying away from shul. in their case it may make them less observant.
    that being said, in my personal religous life, not belonging to a shul has made me more observant, since i have to figure out how to do so much on my own and independently with friends.
    check out http://tinyurl.com/exdjo for more on this topic.

  7. not true i have seen many non-frum men get an aliyah at chabad shuls chadab might have its draw backs but who else could have brought bob dylan back to the tribe

  8. theres also a chabad affilitated chai center in boston run by masche swatz (not too coincidentally the son of shlomo schwartz), also free high holiday (and other services), another charistmatic early 30’s rabbi – the chai center (both la and boston) appeals to a younger non-affiliated group, it’s inspiring.

  9. Shteeble Hopper:
    Last year 200 people showed up on Rosh Hashanah and 250 on Kol Nidrei night, most of them under 35.Last year 200 people showed up on Rosh Hashanah and 250 on Kol Nidrei night, most of them under 35.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    i don’t think the ikar (main idea) is to get all jews to join a synagogue davka (in particular), but to get them to have respect for and feel welcome at a wide range of Jewish gatherings (including synagogues, but also retreats, jewish concerts, classes, etc). i don’t think the ikar (main idea) is to get all jews to join a synagogue davka (in particular), but to get them to have respect for and feel welcome at a wide range of Jewish gatherings (including synagogues, but also retreats, jewish concerts, classes, etc).
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    I add up these kind of comments – which thread through all the posts about “New Jews” and “Unaffiliated Jews” – and get the following Cynical Translation:
    – Beneath the hifalutin words, it’s still very much about adolescent generational rebellion against parents (which is why these “open, explorative experiences” are evaluated by age-exclusive standards, rather than the rich multigenerational bonding typical of a community).
    – People want to “be comfortable in various situations” without giving of themselves and paying the dues – literally! – to build the community that sponsors the events. Again, an adolescent concept of “independence” financed by daddy’s credit card. And a still-immature concept of “spirituality” as a consumer experience, rather than a giving/transcendent experience – which requires a true sense of obligation within a real community.
    Same self-centered drek as the general society – same old suburban way-too-protracted adolescence, packaged in funkadelic talk about “experimentation” and “personal relevance”.
    Jewish Affiliation = I am a real grown-up = I am a giver.
    Too much for you? Go buy some scented candles and leave poor Judaism alone….

  10. i wonder if you could possibly do a greater disservice to autonomous jewish movements by mischaracterizing them more so than you have already.
    your contempt for your fellow jew is apparent. and worse yet, your contempt is based upon your displeasure with your fellow jew’s desire to have a fulfilling and meaningful experience of tefillah in an environment in which they truly feel part.
    ie., you have sinat chinam for your fellow jew because they want judaism to mean something to them.

    One Was Abraham
    Ezekiel 33: “Avraham served Hashem through being the only one.” Avraham thought in his mind that he was the only one in the world. And he didn’t look at all upon the other people in the world. He didn’t gaze upon the people who were turning away from Hashem, and blocking his oneness. Not upon his father, or any other obstacle. Rather, as if he was the only one in the world. Avraham served Hashem through being the only one. Anyone who wants to enter the service of the divine revelation, it’s impossible for them to enter into it, except through this perspective. That they’ll think that there is nothing in the world except for them by themself. And they won’t get caught looking after any person that could prevent them, like a father or a mother or in-laws or a wife or children or anything like this. Or any of the obstacles that come up from other people in the world; those who mock him for serving God or cut him down for doing what he wants to do. If you really want to serve God, you need to be insensitive to this and not give it a second glance. Rather, just be of the mindset of being the only one in the world.
    Rebbe Nachman

  11. Ben-David:
    I am a real grown-up = I respect other people’s spiritual searching
    I am mature = I do not gloat over others’ supposed immaturity

  12. Sorry, Mobileh – I am living in Israel for over 15 years. Even before I left the States, the Orthodox shuls in my neighborhood were hosting everything from “young couples’ minyanim” to “youth minyanim” so that all could participate – and even women’s tefillah groups. From what I have read and heard, Reform and Recon shuls have been, if anything, even more open to such things.
    The study and prayer groups could easily take place in – and synergistically revitalize – many local synagogues and existing communities. The disdain for anything that smacks of one’s parents’ generation is a dead giveaway – and the selfish focus on getting rather than giving confirms it: this is a movement of overgrown adolescents.
    The spurning of community-based Judaism betrays both ignorance of core Jewish values and an immature approach that emphasizes grazing and consuming “spiritual experiences” rather than giving of oneself.
    Are any of these unattached, childless singles with time on their hands “expressing their Jewish spirituality” through good works – volunteering at hospitals, tutoring at schools, and the other fine communal works that the secular foundations (which regulars here know I don’t exactly agree with) undertook?
    -that is, do they find spirituality through the not-always-immediately rewarding path of giving rather than self-centered consumption of “experiences”?
    Let’s get this straight: you’re single, you’ve taken a job in a new town (or have entered a degree program) – and you can’t bring yourself to contribute (financially, and by your presence) to a local shul that you will likely be relying on for more than a year? Because it’s…. what? Too smelly and conventional?
    That’s not brave experimentation, it’s selfishness and stylistic snobbery.
    I am not gloating over any Jew’s immaturity. But Judaism is most definitely the religion of Growing Up and taking responsibility. That’s the truth hiding behind the proud slogans about “social justice”.
    And in an honest-to-G-d Jewish community, it demands more than eating organic veggies. It demands that you give back.
    And that’s why “honest-to-G-d” Orthodox Jewish communities have been drawing so many spiritual seekers lately… in numbers far greater than the fringe movements you are pushing.
    In other words – Judaism doesn’t have to be reinvented to supply a “fulfilling and meaningful experience” or “an environment in which they truly feel part.”
    That last bit about “truly feeling a part” of something is really funny considering these folks’ contempt for the real duties of communal life…
    Nor am I blind to the often lackluster prayer services in many shuls, including Orthodox shuls. I am a regular at my community’s slower, more meditative minyanim and at the
    “Carlebach” Sabbath minyanim.
    But it’s within the framework of a shul and community – and I willingly accept the other, less entertaining elements of that communal connection, including bikur cholim, giving Sunday School and other shiurim, and other giving tasks that are less than convenient and sometimes offer only the once-removed pleasure of knowing that I did a mitvzah for another.
    The mitzvah system’s demands are what build us into transcendent givers. It makes us true lovers. You can’t get there by straining to make Judaism achieve some imagined critical mass of coolness, nor can you get their by navel-gazing.
    You CAN get there by growing up and feeling a sense of community – which includes obligation to others.
    It’s most telling that this is largely a movement of singles and cohabitors. It seems people who get married start looking for “real” Jewish communities. Maybe that’s because they’ve taken a big step towards accepting the commitment aspect of adulthood, and are on their way towards transcendent giving…

  13. Judaism doesn’t have to be reinvented to supply a “fulfilling and meaningful experience”
    Maybe for you…
    You’re still stereotyping all unaffiliated or seeking Jews as immature “rebels-without-a-caus e.” Have you actually gotten to know a good number of these people? I think a lot of those who are “spiritually grazing” or whatever are simultaneously doing good works, volunteering, etc. They are people who are genuinely trying to find their place in the world, and who want to make a difference both within AND outside of the Jewish community.
    You talk about the affiliated as though they are all mature, responsible, selfless individuals who just want to give back to the community. I’ve seen plenty of shuls full of members who are there just because their parent went to shul, and their grandparents, etc, etc. They’ve chosen the straight-and-narrow path through life without giving anything else much thought. So while adolescent rebellion is immature, it’s not any worse than adults who blindly follow the herd and give up the RESPONSIBILITY of difficult spiritual decision-making.

  14. flurry:
    You’re still stereotyping all unaffiliated or seeking Jews as immature “rebels-without-a-caus e.” Have you actually gotten to know a good number of these people? I think a lot of those who are “spiritually grazing” or whatever are simultaneously doing good works, volunteering, etc.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    This is not my experience of such people – either here or in America. I have several personal and family connections involved in campus outreach and adult (Jewish) education on both sides of the Atlantic. I know we’re all supposed to feel grateful that at least SOME young Jews are still even marginally interested in Judaism, but my friends have learned from bitter experience to curb their enthusiasm.
    A Rabbi I know who runs an outreach program remarks that the students at his course in Jerusalem who present themselves as “spiritual” are most consistently inconsiderate and selfish – they are the ones who don’t pull or pay their share among their flatmates, the ones who don’t manage to show up for charitable work – they’re too spiritual, you see, for those *everyday* things.
    This is the same immature attitude that I see behind the eyes of ignorant young rebel who thinks themselves “too good” for the “humdrum” solutions of community – what you sneeringly call the “straight-and-narrow”.
    But the path of Torah works. It works better, makes better, truer people, than the hodgepodge of self-indulgent Western ideas that form the gloppy centerpiece of most of these “reimagined personal Judaisms.”
    I know that the effort to live up to the Torah life’s sense of obligation – to my spouse, children, and community – has been the primary engine of my own spiritual growth and expanded consciousness.
    I know what I’ve lived, and I know what I see around me.
    Considering that many of these “spiritual” folks haven’t gotten far enough beyond themselves to enter into marriage and raise a family – and that they often embrace corrosive moral codes that are diametrically opposed to anything Jewish – my respect for their “spiritual” achievements is limited.
    Consider as well: for all their disdain of their parents’ arid Judaism, they are pursuing the same broken solutions: a nosejobbed Judaism that is more about Western mores than unchanging morals, a pursuit of an ethnic Jewishness to replace Judaism, the Religion – all these non-solutions have been tried before, and failed their parents and grandparents miserably.
    No, I don’t think I – or mainstream Judaism – has anything to learn from these people.
    All of this is funkadelic activity takes place in the shadow of the Orthodox Jewish renaissance – indeed, this movement owes its life to (newly) Orthodox scholars, thinkers, and shul-goers who have changed the generation’s perception of Judaism.
    Want something less “soulless” than a Reform temple? Tens of thousands of young American Jews have found it – by figuring out that Judaism is more – and deeper, and better – than Western liberalism, and they’ve used their comfort and freedom in Western society to walk the talk of being Jewish. Including communal life and mitzvah obligation.
    It’s not inaccurate to describe the “underground Judaism” movement as the final crack of the whip – the forces of the Orthodox renaissance have whiplashed through American Jewry, and have finally reached the most ignorant, intermarried, and “unaffiliated”. That these people blithely think they have started a movement instead of riding a wave, that they are “reinventing” Judaism for the rest of us, that their self-indulgent cherry-picking of riches unearthed by sincere Ba’alei Teshuva is somehow more “sincere”… it would be funny if it weren’t a sad reminder of how far these people are from the core of Judaism.

  15. In my six years of doing Shabbos at Burningman, while the general population has doubled the number s at our annual Shabbos dinner and davening has grown 20 times. Many of the people who come would be classified “unaffiliated” and many of them, likely a majority are doing good work in the world, following Rav Kook’s teaching that peopple pursuing holiness cannot detach from the physical world (Orot HaKodesh, v. II, p. 328, trans Bokser p.219).
    This is also my experience with many of the “unaffiliated”Jews I meet in Chicago.
    An underground movement? I don’t know. A result of an Orthodox renaissance? Don’t know either. Jews finding meaning in and connecting to their heritage? For sure.
    shalom v’ahava,
    Rabbi Menachem

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