You may have some questions, the FAQ below will hopefully answers to those queries.
Q. I come from a Yeshiva background. Is this going to be a Beginners Service where I will feel out of place?
A. Our services are designed to make everyone feel at home whatever your level of Jewish education; whether you come with an intensive background or a more limited one. Our services will include explanations and discussions that will engage both those with an intensive background and those with a more limited Hebrew comprehension level.
Q. I am not yet affiliated and don't understand a word of Hebrew. How will I know what is going on? I have tried a few High Holiday services and found them so boring and inaccessible that I never went back.
A. At out services there is one thing we don't allow you to be : BORED. Through spirited davenning (praying) led by Chazzan Ari, you will be swept up in beautiful melodies based on the music/nusach of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, traditional melodies as well as explanations and commentary. Transliterated sheets will be available to help you sing and pray along without missing a beat, no matter what your level of Hebrew.
Q. I am new to New York and not affiliated with any synagogue. Will I feel left out of the crowd if I don't know a lot of people?
A. Our aim at these services is to create a warm sense of community. Whether you come with friends or alone hopefully you will leave our services feeling connected.
Q. I am not Orthodox. As a woman, I just can't stand the thought of sitting behind one of those partitions.
A. Our mechitza- divider--will be aesthetically pleasing, with equal sight lines, seats running parallel and will allow all worshippers, both women and men to feel part of the congregation. We strive to create a warm sense of community and fellowship, recognizing the importance of everyone regardless of gender.
Q. Can I just walk in? I'm not sure of my plans for both days right now.
A. No one will be turned away at the door and denied a chance to be a part of a prayer community, However, for security purposes, reservations are strongly recommended. In addition, we will have a kiddush to follow services and need to know how many people will be joining us.Add your name to our list even if you are not sure at this point if you will be joining us for all the services. But on those days you plan on attending, we suggest arriving early as there will be open seating and space is limited. If you have children and need child care/children's service, please let us know ahead of time.
Q. I understand synagogues have to charge for tickets because they have staff, schools and programs that entail large budgets but right now I just am not sure where I want to belong. Is this offer of no charging for real? What's the catch? What will this really cost me?
A. Read our lips-- tickets are F-R-E-E. If you are not yet affiliated, we hope these services will spur you to get acclimated and connected to Jewish life, New York offers so many institutions to explore and connect to. Yet we do ask a favor: Consider making a donation to Kol HaNeshamah, whatever amount moves you, to help us reach out to as many people as possible.
Q. I have little kids, how will they ever sit through the services?
A. Not to worry. Our children's services and child care will let you pray at the main service and not worry about taking care of your children. Please let us know their ages when you reserve a spot for them.
Q. I like hearing explanations of some of the prayers but is this going to be one of those touchy feely type of encounter sessions you see in the movies?
A. Our services will feature spirited singing and praying, insightful commentary and explanations that will hopefully leave you both spiritually and intellectually infused. Transliterated sheets will be given out. The one encounter we hope you have is the with the Holy One Blessed be the Eternal.
Q. I'm a fan of Jewish synagogue music and congregational singing and chazzanut but will the service last until 5pm?
A. Chazzan Ari has a magnificent voice which he will utilize to get the congregation singing and we will finish services by approximately 1:15pm on Rosh Hashanah; Yom Kippur Day (which will have a break during the day) will end at the correct time with the blowing of the shofar... Make sure to check our schedule for service times.
Q. Will there be long drawn out speeches that will allow me to catch up on my sleep?
A. During the course of the service you will be hopefully uplifted through short explanations and meaningful discussions about the Torah service and the prayers. In addition, we will hear from Dr. Adena who will share with the congregation some brief thoughts to help inspire us to pray better and understand the significance of the holidays. Time will fly by.