Reform Synagogues in Manhattan
Welcome to New York!
Although there is no question that synagogues need your support, I have never been a member of a Reform Synagogue that didn't adjust dues for members who couldn't afford to pay the full amount.
If you haven't thought about high holiday tickets . . . you're running behind. Contact one of these synagogues and find a place to go if you are planning on going.
Reform Synagogues on the East Side
Currently, I am listing the street address and a short paragraph from the website for every synagogue listed. I am also including anything that resembles a tagline, because I think that is an important part of the formula in how a community feels about itself.
The vast majority of the Reform synagogues in Manhattan are on the East Side. The UWS has a lot of Conservative synagogues (FYI).
- The Village Temple, Congregation B'nai Israel of New York
22 East 12th Street [between University Street and Broadway] "Make a Torah study a fixed habit." "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?" A Reform synagogue affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism, T
- East End Temple/Congregation El Emet
245 East 17th Street "A congregation who will feel, think, laugh, cry, care, love, learn, grow, celebrate, sing, study, meet, share, and pray with you." A growing Reform congregation that supports a wide range of programs and activities for members
- Metropolitan Synagogue
40 East 35th Street, Between Park and Madison 212-679-8580 The Metropolitan Synagogue was established in 1959. They are a Reform temple with a cozy, informal, family atmosphere. All are welcome there! Their congregation includes young and old, inter
- Central Synagogue
652 Lexington Avenue at E 55th Street 212-838-5122 "When we gather together for a sacred purpose, we endure" The mission of Central Synagogue is to embody and to celebrate the "brit" (covenant) between God and the Jewish people as originally reveale
- Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York
1 East 65th St 212-744-1400 Message from President Marcia Waxman: We are many individual families, but it is the sanctuary and our worship together that transform us into the "Emanu-El family" - that intangible value that is a source of strength for
- Temple Israel of the City of New York
112 East 75th Street 212-249-5000 "Simon the Righteous used to say, 'Because of three things does the world survive: because of Torah, because of worship, and because of acts of loving kindness'" A Reform Jewish Synagogue that welcomes all who choos
- Temple Shaaray Tefila
250 East 79th Street 212-535-8008 "For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples" The mission of Temple Shaaray Tefila is to provide the means for our congregational community to nurture and to continue its life-long involvement in
- The Temple of Universal Judaism, Congregation Da'at Elohim
1010 Park Avenue at 85th Street 888-590-2791 "Freedom, Tradition, Diversity" A growing Reform Jewish congregation with members of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations. Our community is inclusive and welcomes Jews, non-Jews and Jews by choic
Books on Judaism
The first two books actually give an overview of Judaism as a whole, not just of Reform Judaism. On the Doorposts is full of prayers and ceremonies you can do at home. I own all of these books.
This isn't technically a coffee table book, but that's where I kept it until I loaned it out to someone I went to school with and never saw it again. Blake, if you're reading this, I already have a new copy, so you should buy me something else.
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I am related to one of the authors. Nonetheless, this is the book that the Union uses for it's Introduction to Judaism classes nationwide, so I am not steering you in the wrong direction. And if you want it autographed, I could probably arrange it.
The Other Reform Synagogues in Manhattan
- Stephen Wise Free Synagogue
30 West 68th Street "The Life of the Spirit/The Life of the Mind/Concern for Social Justice/Here and Around the World" In keeping with the congregation's historical foundations, our commitment to religious exploration and secular equality is reflect
- Congregation Rodelph Sholom
7 West 83rd Street 212-362-8800 "Know Before Whom You Stand" Congregation Rodeph Sholom is a welcoming spiritual community which strives to educate and inspire children, youth and adults to participate actively in worship, Torah study and Jewish lif
- Herbrew Tabernacle Congregation
551 Fort Washington Avenue 212-568-8304 "A Reform synagogue serving Washington Heights and Inwood in northern Manhattan." A Reform congregation, founded in 1906, in residential Washington Heights since 1973. After the Holocaust, German Jews found a
Location of Reform Congregations - in New York
My First Synagogue in New York
High Holiday Ticket Controversy
Many people complain about having to join a synagogue or pay for High Holiday tickets if they want to go to services on Rosh HaShannah or Yom Kippor - they view the temples as money-grubbing that take advantage of the one time of year that everyone feels compelled to go to services (which makes sense since unlike churches, there is no passing of the plate at all other services).
At the same time, everyone wants a Rabbi to be immediately available if a crisis comes up and don't stop to think that if Rabbis aren't paid for every day duties that no one thinks about (counseling for teens who need a trusted adult to talk to, services every week of the year, making sick calls, speaking up in the community when something antisemitic happens, etc.), they won't be around when you especially need them.
Most synagogues will let you pay reduced fees if you cannot afford to be a member and most synagogues will let college students in for free or for very reduced rates.
What do you think?
Should High Holiday Tickets Be Free? If not, why not? If so, how do you propose synagogues stay in business?
Shabbat Music - From a Reform Rabbi
Okay, full disclosure, the lead singer here is my sister, but I can verify that she has been a stellar singer pretty much since she was born. Here are my favorite songs from her latest album, which she did with The Shabbatones. It is part of their Got Shabbat? program that they started at her synagogue in California.
Not In Manhattan, but Still...
Now that I've moved to Astoria, there aren't nearly as many choices as where to go for services. I will add to this as I find places.
- The Reform Temple of Forest Hills
The Reform Temple of Forest Hills is a welcoming Jewish congregation that is dedicated to spirituality, learning, outreach, and service to the community. Also, they are fairly easy to get to: The Reform Temple of Forest Hills is near the E, F, R, an
- Wandering Jews of Astoria
They aren't so much Reform as nondenominational and their membership runs on the younger side, but the people are friendly and they have many activities.
- Astoria Center of Israel
This isn't Reform, but they ARE egalitarian. They say: Astoria Center of Israel is an egalitarian synagogue that maintains a conservative Jewish tradition and is built around a warm, wonderful group of people that embraces a wide variety of perspecti
Other Reform Links - Reform Judaism, that is
From cradle to grave, Reform Judaism has you covered. Here are just some of the links you might be interested in.
- Union for Reform Judaism
As the congregational arm of the Reform Movement, the Union's primary mission is to create and sustain vibrant Jewish congregations wherever Reform Jews live.
- Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism
As the DC office of the Union, the RAC educates and mobilizes the Reform Jewish community on legislative and social concerns, advocating on more than 70 different issues: economic justice, civil rights, religious liberty, Israel, and more.
- Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
The intellectual, academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. ____________________________________________________________
- Women of Reform Judaism
AKA: Sisterhood ____________________________________________________________
- Men of Reform Judaism (previously North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods)
A coalition of over 250 affiliated brotherhoods with 25,000 members across North America, dedicated to tikkun olam, 'repairing the world', through the practice of Brotherhood. ____________________________________________________________
- North American Federation of Temple Youth
Reform Youth Groups! ____________________________________________________________
- Pardes Jewish Day School | Prepares Students to Become Outstanding Members of Society through a Secu
Pardes Jewish Day School prepares students to become outstanding members of society through a secular and Judaic education, a nurturing community, and a foundation in Reform Judaism that welcomes all Jewish traditions in Phoenix, Arizona 85032.
- Reform Judaism Magazine
Reform Judaism (Magazine) is the official voice of the Union for Reform Judaism, linking the institutions and affiliates of Reform Judaism with every Reform Jew. It ceased publication in 2014 but their archive is intact.
- Reform Jewish Voice of New York - Advancing Reform Jewish Values & Social Justice
A Jewish advocacy group that deals with government on the state level, which really hasn't been done before. Read about their different advocacy issues, join them on Advocacy Day, and more.
My Second Temple in New York - but it was Conservative, so it isn't listed on this page
Other Jewish Books on my Bookshelf
With chapters like "There's no Spirituality for Me in Synagogues and Prayer" and "Hebrew School was Worthless and Boring," this book uses a very easy-to-read format to bring some powerful ideas to the table for people who wish they felt more Jewish.
From biblical times to Buber and beyond, this book consists of 17 different essays on different ways of thinking about a God. There is a handy appendix at the end with a great chart with the "short answers" to ten basic God-related questions from each time period (e.g., What God Wants and The Nature of Evil).
I Want to Know More - What IS Reform Judaism, Anyway?
The teacher of my Introduction to Judaism class said that whatever questions we had about Judaism could be answered by saying, "It depends."
What is Reform Judaism? It depends. And whatever anyone tells you, it can always be followed by, "But wait; there's more!"
- What Wikipedia Says
[click link for full answer] "Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of Judaism in America and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the Ameri
- Answer from from Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
[click link for full answer] "Reform is the most liberal of the major movements within Judaism today. It started in the 1800s in Germany during the emancipation, and encouraged examination of religion with an eye towards rationality and egalitariani
- Our Friends at Belief.net
No quick answers there, but clicking the link about will take you to their Judaism Page.
- Jewish Virtual Library
[click link for full answer]
- What the Brits Say
[click link for full answer] Reform Judaism is a journey into the future towards a world transformed. It is both the journey of a people and a myriad of individual journeys - yours and mine - freely engaged in, yet bound up in the collective journey.
My Third Synagogue in New York
Some Jewish Music
Debbie Friedman is an easy go-to source for Reform Jewish music you have probably heard before.