The Hebrew month of Tishrei is here and that means the High Holy Days are here, beginning with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, from September 9th to 11th, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, from September 18th to 19th. So, where to go for The High Holy Days in NYC? While there are many synagogues in the neighborhood, if you are not a member it is often difficult to get seats during the High Holidays on the Upper West Side. Many synagogue members will join just to get High Holy Days tickets. Fortunately, there a few good free and low-cost options.
MJE is located at 131 West 86th street, between Amsterdam and Columbus. They host services and meals for all the High Holy Days from Rosh Hashanah to Simchat Torah. While the MJE Rabbis are Orthodox, they cater to all sects of Judaism, whether you are a “beginner” who has never stepped into a Shul before or you’ve been practicing all the laws of Judaism your entire life. All ages are welcome at services but the organization caters to those in their 20s and 30s.
The Chabad of the Upper West Side, run by rabbi Kugel, is located at 166 West 97th street. See their holiday schedule here. At the Chabad of Upper West Side, you will see a mix of young professionals and families.
Families and young professionals would also like the homemade food being served for Rosh Hashana at the Chabad of Upper West Side. If you sign up before September 5th you’ll save money. Cost is $50 for adults and $30 for adults.
While there are several Reform synagogues on the upper West Side, including Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and Rodeph Shalom, they all require yearly memberships. If you are not a member of a synagogue do not want to go to orthodox services, you can go down to Ohel Ayalah (OA) services, which are located at Prince George Ballroom, at 15 East 27th Street. Their services are walk-in and do not require reservations. OA also has service locations in Queens and Brooklyn.
Whether are not you practice Judaism, you would love synagogue hopping on Simchat Torah, which commemorates finishing the reading of the Torah. Simchat Torah falls on the evening of Monday, October 1st this year. In and outside of each synagogue, you will see people dancing with Torahs. Some of the synagogues which have good festivities are Manhattan Jewish Experience, Bnai Yeshurun and the Carlebach Shul.
If you want a family-style meal but don’t feel like cooking for Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot, you can check out Talia’s Steak house holiday schedule. You need to prepay for their meals as it is against Jewish law to make transactions the holidays themselves. If you’re looking for food options throughout the city, check out our guide to the best Jewish delis in NYC!
And if you want to make your own holiday dinner at home, there are some great places to get kosher groceries, including the Kosher Marketplace, Fischer Bros & Leslies and Seasons- Manhattan. Some important items to buy/cook include wine, challah, apples and honey, chicken, brisket, kugel/other sides and desserts.
And finally, Kol HaNeshamah, which is Modern Orthodox, is offering free High Holiday Services at 100th and Columbus. For more information and reservations, go to www.KOLNY.org.
Thus, there are many great options for the High Holy Days on the Upper West Side, no matter what you sect of Judaism you are in. If you are not Jewish, it can be interesting to see some of the traditions as well. L’shana Tova (Happy New Year) everyone!
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