Are there any High Holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services for Secular Jews?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said poetically, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

Nobody can accuse the members of the City Congregation of foolish consistency.

These secular Jews who by definition have no truck for organized Judaism, have sent us a press release describing upcoming events that appear to be mirror images of what goes on in organized synagogues this time of year. With a rabbi too.

We say, Go for it! Knock yourselves out! Have a blast!

We point out that this congregation meets on, "Mahattan's far west side." Indeed it does.

Are there any High Holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services for Secular Jews? Yes, as follows.
The City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism
Schedules Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur Services Sept 19; 27-28
Services Held at the Desmond Tutu Center 180 10th Avenue
High Holiday Preparation Seminar, Sept 9

New York, NY August 17, 2009 --- The City Congregation, the New York City branch of Humanistic Judaism, led by Rabbi Peter Schweitzer, has scheduled events and services for the High Holidays welcoming in the year 5770, Rabbi Schweitzer announced today.

A seminar, “Rethinking the High Holidays for Secular Jews,” will explore how secular Jews can celebrate the holidays and derive meaning and inspiration from them, despite their lack of belief in traditional practices and rituals. The presentation will be held on Wednesday, Sept, 9 at 15 West 86 Street (SAJ), from 7:30-9:00 pm.

One hallmark of City Congregation celebrations is the examination by members of important issues and topics that are meaningful to their lives. On Rosh Hashanah they will consider how to manage anger in the world around them and in their own lives.

According to Rabbi Schweitzer, “We are burdened by feelings of self-accusation and anger turned inward – or towards those we love…We can and do blame others all the time, but what do we do with the blame we have for ourselves, for our own misconduct, our poor judgment, our failure to take responsibility? How do we manage these feelings without denying them and also without letting them eat us up or exploding in destructive ways?”

On Yom Kippur the congregation will consider the question, based on Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd… or Not.” If secular Jews do not rely on God’s caring intervention, how do they manage crises and tragedies in their lives? Where do they turn for support and comfort?

The congregation will observe Rosh Hashanah service on Saturday, Sept 19 at 10:30 am followed by lunch. Kol Nidre services start at 7:30 pm on Sunday, Sept. 27th. Yom Kippur services begin at 10:30 am on Monday, Sept. 28th and include a Memorial service and are followed by a community break fast. Children’s programs will be held on both holidays. High Holiday services are held at the Desmond Tutu Center, 180 Tenth Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets on Manhattan’s far west side.

For tickets and information, contact the City Congregation at 212-213-1002 or e-mail info@citycongregation.org

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