About the High Holy Days at TorahNYC & The Temple of Universal Judaism
sponsors your High Holiday services?
Our services are sponsored by The Temple of
Universal Judaism (TUJ), a Union for Reform Judaism Congregation and TorahNYC:
Reform Jewish Outreach, a Project of TUJ.
have to be a member of The Temple of Universal Judaism -or- TorahNYC to attend
High Holy Day services?
All of TUJ’s and TorahNYC’s services and events –
including the High Holy Days - are open
Anyone (including non-Jews) can become a member of TUJ. Our very modest annual dues are $600 per
adult. Reduced-cost Membership is available: contact Rabbi Fridkis.
costs are involved?
TorahNYC-TUJ’s Open Doors policy means both
Members and non-Members are always welcome.
The High Holy Days incur a great expense to the
congregation. All guests are asked to contribute the minimum amount per
service. Simply put, we need your help
to keep our doors open to all.
Our suggested Minimum Contributions are:
Years or Over:
Minimum $40 - $125 per person per each High Holy Day
Age 13 through 25:
Minimum $25 - $60 per person per each High Holy Day
For Family Services only:
Minimum $40 – $125 per family per each Family Holy
Day Service. A Family is defined as Parent(s) -or- Other Adult(s) including Children.
Contributions are very low by NYC standards. We understand a few
individuals may need to give less. We depend on your generosity and honesty so
those who have less can share the Holy Days with us.
I cannot afford the Minimum Contribution per service?
If our $40 minimum ($25 for those age 13 through 25) is impossible, please
contact us (Reservations@TorahNYC.org)
before the Holy Days for Scholarship assistance.
If you have not contacted us ahead of time, you
are welcome to discreetly discuss your needs with our Staff at the
there a charge for Afternoon Yizkor Services?
The Temple of Universal Judaism has a very open
and fiscally liberal policy for guests and non-members.
Yizkor is a meaningful service at TUJ. We therefore view our Afternoon Yizkor service the same as other
Holy Day services. Guests are asked to contribute the Minimum of $40 - $125 ($25 - $60 for those age 13 through 25) to share in the Yizkor
See our policy (immediately
above) regarding those who cannot meet the Minimum
of $40 per
person per each High Holy Day Service ($25 for those age 13 through 25).
I don’t carry $ or Credit Cards on Yom Kippur. Is that a problem?
We ask everyone visiting TUJ for the High Holy Day services to do
their part in supporting the congregation by meeting the Minimum Contribution of $40 -
$125 per person per each High Holy Day Service ($25 - $60 for those age 13 through 25).
you do not carry $ or Credit Cards on Yom Kippur, please arrange to make your Minimum
Contributionahead of time:
check to the TUJ Office
Temple of Universal Judaism - TorahNYC c/o Roger Feffer, Treasurer 11 Riverside Dr, #14K-W New York, NY 10023
(Note our physical address is 1010 Park
Ave @85th St)
Reservations are never required if you are able
to make your contribution at the Registration Table. When possible, we prefer that
you reserve a place so we can greet you by name.
We are also planning a plentiful and beautiful
Rosh Hashanah Luncheon (noadditional charge!) so your RSVP
for lunch will be especially helpful.
Tickets for each service are distributed at the
Registration Table to those who have made the Minimum Contribution (or when necessary, have requested scholarship
If you do not carry $ or Credit Cards on Yom
Kippur, please reserve your place (email Reservations@TorahNYC.org )
and make your contribution ahead of time as noted above.
invited to attend?
Of course! TUJ and TorahNYC welcome all people. TUJ
was funded 40 years ago – and TorahNYC 10 years ago – with a commitment of
inclusion for all!
For more than 25 years Rabbi Fridkis has embraced
interfaith couples and performed their weddings.
Our TUJ membership includes both Jews and
non-Jews, interfaith couples, dual religion families, agnostics and humanists, gays
and lesbians, singles and people of all ages and colors.
Do you hold special services for families and children?
Family Services oriented toward children ages 3 –
12 years are held on Rosh Hashanah morning (12 Noon) and Yom Kippur afternoon
(1pm). We ask a parent or grandparent to accompany children.
TUJ’s plan for the Rosh Hashanah Family Service?
On Rosh Hashanah, the Family Service begins in
the Sanctuary @12 Noon as part of the congregational Shofar service. Children will be invited to the Bima – Hebrew for “Pulpit” – to witness the
sounding of the Shofar. Following the
conclusion of the Main Service (approx 12:30pm), families are invited to remain
for a special family-oriented experience/service led by Rabbi Fridkis and
Every child will have the opportunity to view the
Torah up close and touch the scroll. When children come to Open the Ark with
Rabbi Fridkis they will be surprised to find an “ark-ful” of small,
age-appropriate presents for each. But shhhh
please! – don’t ruin the surprise!
At approximately 1pm, all are invited to our Rosh
Hashanah Luncheon with both adult and family-friendly foods.
Following lunch we will hold an indoor Tashlich
is Tashlich and how is it celebrated at TUJ?
Tashlich is an ancient ceremony – typically held
at a natural body of water – where worshipers symbolically discard breadcrumbs
symbolizing the casting away of sins.
At 130pm we take a walk to the East River (85th St) for a brief, thirty minute, very sweet service.
In case of rain TUJ holds its Tashlich indoors so
that more congregants and guests can share in this beautiful service. Following lunch, we invite adults to privately write
a few words on a card representing something each would like to “discard” for
the coming year. We then anonymously place
the cards in a basket and dispose of them.
Children – with or without the help of parents –
will be asked to draw, write or make a wish of goodness for the coming year and
throw their wishes into a small pool of water.
TUJ’s plan for the Yom Kippur Family Service?
On Yom Kippur, families are invited at 1pm for
a snack and special family-children’s Yom Kippur experience-service once again led by Rabbi Fridkis and Cantor Anesi. Children who wish will be invited to learn to sound the Shofar by a
professional “Shofar-ist.” There will
also be toy Shofars for the younger children.
Around 6pm we invite the children to return to the synagogue with their parents to march to the Bima for the conclusion of services, including
Sounding of the Shofar and Havdalah. Children
and parents who are able to sound the Shofar will be invited to the Bima to do
so in front of the entire congregation!
Havdalah – celebrated with Wine, Candles and
Spices – marks the end of Yom Kippur and the beginning of a spiritual new year. Children will be given flameless light sticks
to hold in lieu of candles.
children welcome at TUJ’s Main Services?
Because Holy Day services are adult-oriented, many
children find them long or difficult to sit through.
We don’t mind an infant’s scream or toddler’s
a brief second. However if children are making noise, we request you take
them from the Sanctuary without time lapse. An usher can
help you find a place in the back.
We request you not bring infants or very
young children to Kol Nidre (Yom Kippur Eve) and Yizkor (Yom Kippur Afternoon, 5pm
there times TUJ encourages children at the Main Service?
On Rosh Hashanah those attending the Family
Service will join the Main Service toward its conclusion for the Sounding of
the Shofar. Rabbi Fridkis will invite children to the pulpit to be blessed.
Toward the end of Family Services prior to the
close of Yom Kippur, children join us in the front of the Sanctuary with flameless
candles (light sticks). Cantor Anesi and the children will lead the
congregation in a Nigun (melody
without words, i.e. “La La La”) and Rabbi Fridkis will invite them close as the
Shofar is sounded.
can you tell us about Temple of Universal Judaism-TorahNYC High Holy Day services?
Our services are similar to those of mainstream
Reform congregations. Cantor Anesi and our Choir of professionals and
congregants - along with a Piano Accompanist - sing Hebrew - and some English - songs and prayers. The Hebrew is always
translated and usually transliterated. There are contemporary English readings
side by side with the Hebrew.
What melodies and traditions do you sing and follow?
The music at TUJ is a combination of Eastern European
and American melodies used by Reform, Conservative and Orthodox congregations -
as well as Reform Jewish Holy Day music.
If you’ve attended Reform congregations for the High
Holy Days, you will find our melodies familiar. If you are used to Conservative
or Orthodox services, some will be familiar, others less so.
instruments used at TUJ’s High Holy Day service?
A pianist will accompany the Cantor and Choir. At
Kol Nidre we are blessed with the beautiful
strings of the cello. During creative moments in the service, Cantor Anesi will
grace us with her guitar.
The Shofar is sounded at three services: once at the
beginning of Rosh Hashanah Eve, many times late on Rosh Hashanah Morning and a
final time at the very end of the Yom Kippur. If you can sound the Shofar (or
brass instruments) we invite you to see Rabbi Fridkis to take part in Sounding
the Shofar before the congregation.
is unique about High Holy Day services at TUJ?
Much about our services is
unique. We hope you will feel our spirit of welcome and openness. You will
certainly be greeted warmly. Our members are friendly and accessible. Rabbi
Fridkis and Cantor Anesi’s style is warm and inclusive.
Rabbi Fridkis creates services that are both intellectual
and spiritual. He will lead us in readings that interpret Jewish tradition and
High Holy Days themes in an unfolding modern idiom.
Will some services be more traditional and some more creative?
There will be a balance of tradition and creativity
at services. This year we've enhanced our services with many English-language songs.
We include most of the traditional High Holy Day
liturgy – prayers in synagogue use for a thousand years or more! During morning
services – and on Yom Kippur afternoon – the Torah will be read in Hebrew from
the unvocalized ancient scroll.
We also include poetic and interpretive readings
on the Rosh Hashanah themes of creation, humanity, universalism and compassion –
and on the Yom Kippur themes of prayer-meditation, repentance and tzedakah (justice
and good deeds).
We have a unique and modern Shofar service on late
Rosh Hashanah morning, including American folk melodies. On Yom Kippur
Afternoon there are many deeply spiritual, contemporary English readings.
congregational participation encouraged?
At TUJ-TorahNYC, the participation of the
congregation is vital to our spirituality.
Worshipers are encouraged to sing with our Cantor and Choir. Rabbi Fridkis will
actively engage the congregation in English and some Hebrew readings.
Rabbi Fridkis will also walk around the
congregation during morning services inviting congregants to read a line of a
responsive English reading.
How long are High Holy Day services at TUJ?
Evening Services begin at 8pm
and end at approximately 10pm.
Morning Services are a bit longer: beginning at
10am and lasting until 1230pm.
Is it appropriate to leave services early or arrive late?
We believe each individual should decide when to arrive
and how long to stay. Please enter and exit quietly so not to disturb others.
It is inappropriate to enter or exit the
sanctuary during: - recitation of standing prayers - quiet meditational moments - reading from the
Torah scroll - preceding the end
of each service - during the first
hour of the Yom Kippur Eve (Kol Nidre) Service - during the Yizkor
It is also inappropriate to enter or exit the Sanctuary during, immediately preceding or immediately
following the Rabbi’s Sermon.
the schedule for Yom Kippur Afternoon, Yizkor & Neila Services?
Yom Kippur Afternoon Services begin at 315pm and
include prayers, Reading of the Torah and a special service commemorating
The Yizkor (Memorial) Service begins at approximately
5pm and continues for about thirty minutes.
The Neila (Closing) Services begins at approximately
530pm and concludes around 615pm with Havdalah, the traditional ritual of
separation between Holy Days and the rest of the week.
Though we realize many are fasting and/or anxious
to join family and friends for the traditional Break-the-Fast, we
ask all present for the Yizkor Service (5pm) to remain for the additional 30-40
minutes until the conclusion of Yom Kippur and the Sounding of the Shofar and
Havdalah around 6pm. Please remain with us to witness the beauty of a
new generation of children – candles in hand as they share the light of Torah -
and behold the majestic final Sounding of the Shofar.
one need to fast – or should one fast - while attending Yom Kippur services at
Reform Judaism maintains intention and belief are
as important as ritual. AT TUJ we take pride in the ideal that each individual must be free to choose her or his own
type of observance.
Fasting on Yom Kippur is a time-honored Mitzvah (a tradition holding the weight
of Jewish law) followed by a majority of Reform Jews. Judaism saw fasting on
Yom Kippur as a way to focus on the inner spirit.
There is far more to Yom Kippur than refraining
from food or drink. The prophet Isaiah spoke of this twenty-seven hundred years
ago! We will hear Isaiah’s words (Isaiah 58: 5-7) on
Yom Kippur morning during the recitation of the Haftarah (additional
Jewish law mandated that one who is acutely ill –
even if not gravely - should not
fast. One should never stop taking
medication on Yom Kippur, even if it requires drinking water or eating food
with, following or prior to the medication. A person’s health and life triumphs
For Reform Jews, the essence of Yom Kippur is not
the Mitzvah of fasting but the Mitzvah of observing an introspective
day focusing on (1) prayer- meditation, (2) repentance: changing one’s
self-destructive and unkind ways and (3) committing to a life of Tzedakah: just acts of giving and
The Temple of Universal Judaism & TorahNYC
kind of congregation is The Temple of Universal Judaism? What is TorahNYC?
The Temple of Universal Judaism is a URJ: Union for Reform Judaism
congregation. TUJ and TorahNYC are Reform-Liberal-Progressive Jewish
name – The Temple of Universal Judaism – does not sound typical. What does it
TUJ is a mainstream URJ: Union for Reform Judaism congregation.
We are different from other Reform congregations in
that we not only include, but truly embrace individuals of all backgrounds,
colors and sexual orientations. And we are very different in that we include both
Jews and non-Jews in our Reform Jewish congregation. Most other Reform
congregations in the NYC area do not fully embrace those of all backgrounds.
do The Temple of Universal Judaism and TorahNYC meet in a church? Do you have
your own synagogue building?
Both TUJ and TorahNYC operate on limited budgets.
We do not own a building, as the costs of its maintenance are great. We prefer
to keep membership fees low and our doors open to all for the Holy Days and
throughout the year.
We rent space from very gracious friends at The
Park Avenue Christian Church (PACC). PACC and TUJ are separate organizations. PACC
is a progressive mainstream Protestant church and TUJ is a progressive
mainstream Reform Jewish congregation.
What we do share is a building, friendship, the spirit of repairing a broken world, as well as a collective
concept of openness to all people.
Temple of Universal Judaism at 1010 Park Ave (@85th St) handicap accessible?
Sanctuary is 100% accessible to the handicapped and disabled via a handicap ramp
(no steps involved for those who
cannot manage them).
We hope you will join us for the Holy Days or visit us anytime
during 5777, this Jewish New Year.