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SAJ Members Celebrate the High Holy Days 2019/5780

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(members must be logged in to purchase on-line)



We look forward to celebrating the High Holy Days 5780 together with Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann and Cantor Lisa Arbisser leading and inspiring us. We will be joined by our choir, led by Ben Gruder and our SAJ Band led by Naomi Less. We also hold family services for two age groups, programming for teens, a non-traditional spiritual experience led by Rabbi Emeritus Michael Strassfeld for those not affiliated, and youth groups (childcare). New, this year, we will have an American Sign Language interpreter/s in some of the Family Services. Please make your arrangements for tickets now, and do not hesitate to reach out to me by phone or by e-mail if you have any questions about our High Holy Day services.


Rosh Hashanah - Sunday evening, September 29 through Tuesday, October 1.

Kol Nidre/Yom Kippur - Tuesday evening, October 8 through Wednesday evening, October 9.


We have more than enough seats to accommodate all our members, as long as members and MAKOM at SAJ Families order tickets by Thursday, August 15. After that, we open up seats to non-members.

Through Thursday, August 15, tickets will be sold only to members of the SAJ. All adults must have tickets to all services. Children must have their own tickets to attend the Sanctuary Services.
While there is no cost, children do need tickets for the Family Services. Teens will also need tickets for the Teen Programming. We request payment in full when ordering your tickets. This can be paid by credit card or check.

Your confirmation email will serve as your entrance ticket. Please bring a printed copy.


Makor Sanctuary/Balcony Services

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann and Cantor Lisa Arbisser will lead the Sanctuary services and will be joined by The SAJ Choir led by Ben Gruder, and The SAJ Band led by Naomi Less.  

On Rosh Hashanah, we will acknowledge the milestones in our lives on the first day, and hear from three congregants discussing a theme of the day in relation to their lives on the second day.

On Yom Kippur, we will recite Kol Nidre, have special programming during the afternoon break between services, and conclude with a special ceremony involving all our children at Ne’ilah, then join together for the annual BYO Community Break Fast.

We will hold a second Community Yizkor service on Yom Kippur afternoon at 4:30 PM. This service is open to the public.

Youth Groups (Childcare) will be available for children of all ticket holding adults during most Sanctuary services, from 10:00 AM until 1:30 PM.

Makom Family Services in the Social Hall

Two age-appropriate Family Services will be co-led by our Interim Director of Education and Family Engagement, Debra Fricano, and Matthew Check, who has co-led the Family High Holy Day Services for the past three years. 

The services are interactive and age-appropriate, incorporating traditional elements of the High Holy Days services with meaningful contemporary elements including storytelling, readings, discussions and music.

These service times are:

First Day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur mornings:

  •  9:30 AM - 10:15 AM - For families with children ages newborn - grade 3.
  • 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM - For families with children grades 4 - 6.
  • 12:00 PM –   1:30 PM - Parents are invited to the main sanctuary to join the larger community for a reflective part of our services, including a celebration of community milestones. This is an opportunity to be in a High Holy Day service led by our clergy. Children will remain in the Social Hall for a children’s program.

On Kol Nidre, Tuesday evening, October 8, there will be one Family Service for all ages from 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM.  Rabbi Lauren and Cantor Lisa will co-lead the beginning of this family service.

All children must be accompanied by an adult (not an older sibling); unaccompanied children cannot be accommodated at the Family Service.


There will be special teen programming from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. Then, from 12:00 - 1:30 PM, teens will have a choice of volunteering with youth groups (childcare), or attending the Main Service in the Sanctuary. Teens are invited to the Sanctuary services the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, and Neilah.  

Celebrating the High Holy Days: A Non-Traditional Spiritual Experience

The SAJ is once again offering a special High Holy Days experience, led by Rabbi Emeritus Michael Strassfeld. The program is a non-traditional, spiritual experience in a space at West End Collegiate Church, at 245 West 77th Street. We hope this service will be attractive to non-SAJers, so please share this with people you think would be interested. Ticket holders to this service are invited to SAJ for the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur day Afternoon Yizkor and for the Ne’ilah service at the conclusion of Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Strassfeld has shared the following description of the program. Please send it on to anyone who you think might like to attend:

The Jewish High Holy Days offers each of us the opportunity for personal change. What can I bring with me into the New Year and what can I leave behind? How can I become more like the person I want to be? This experience will focus on the themes of change rather than on the traditional liturgy. We will gather for three sessions—each only an hour and a half long. Through readings, spiritual teachings, singing wordless melodies, and quiet reflection, we will use the gift of the time of these High Holy Days to explore our inner life. Note that one must have a ticket to attend this offsite service. There is no charge for the ticket, but we are asking that people who attend these services make a donation to help cover costs for this service. 



Ticket Type

Price Per Ticket (Payment by Check)

If paying via Credit Card, Suggested Approximate Donation Per Ticket*




First Time Attendees 

(limited number
of tickets available)

$100 $2.90




Family Service
(Ages newborn to 7)
Free/Donations Appreciated  

Family Service
(Ages 7 and older)



First Time Attendees Only
Family Service
(Ages 7 and older)






Offsite non-traditional Spiritual Experience

Donations gratefully accepted to help cover the costs of this service.

Suggested Donation $36.

2.9% of Donation per Ticket


*The SAJ incurs a 2.9% processing fee for all credit card charges, amounting to approximately $5,000 this fiscal year. If you do use your credit card, we would appreciate an additional donation to help defray these costs


 The SAJ has an open seating policy by section, meaning if you have a sanctuary ticket, you can sit in any available seat in the sanctuary, a balcony ticket in the balcony, etc. On the eve of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur afternoon and at the last service on Yom Kippur (Ne'ilah), adult Family Services ticket holders and balcony ticket holders are invited to the Sanctuary or anywhere in the balcony. Parents are especially encouraged to bring their children to the Sanctuary for the moving Ne'ilah (end of Yom Kippur) service.


We encourage you to purchase your High Holy Day service tickets directly through your online SAJ account at You need to be logged into your SAJ account to purchase tickets online.  Please do not hesitate to contact Rachel Bitterfield at or 212-724-7000 with questions about buying tickets. If attending High Holy Day services is an economic hardship at this time, please call.    

          Online Ordering will be suspended from Sunday Sept 29th at 12:00 noon through Tuesday October 1 at 8pm

Click Here to Order Tickets

(members must be logged in to purchase on-line or bill to their account)

Community Yizkor Service of Memory Yom Kippur Afternoon, October 9, 4:30pm

This event is open to the public.

As we pray, contemplate, and atone on Yom Kippur, our thoughts turn to those whom we have loved and lost, in recent days or in years past. In this spirit, we invite you into a space of individual and communal remembrance with a new Yizkor Service of Memory. Alongside liturgy and song, we will invite anyone who would like to space memories of loved ones. 

Youth groups and childcare are offered so parents who would wish to can attend.

You are also invited to join us for speakers and teachers beginning at 2:30pm and for the concluding mincha (afternoon) and ne'ilah (service of the closing of the gates), which ends with a beautiful Havdallah (separation) ceremony and final blast of the shofar.  We then hold a BYO (Bring Your Own) Break Fast in the Social Hall.  SAJ provides tables, chairs and soft-drinks. You provide the rest for you and your family.

Fri, July 3 2020 11 Tammuz 5780