How to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in New York City during the pandemic

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Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is coming up this weekend. We’ve found some ways that families can celebrate the holiday safely, without having to compromise on the spiritual reflection that Rosh Hashanah brings. Check out some of the excellent events and resources that the Jewish community in New York City have organized for the holiday.

For more details on this weekend’s possibilities, check out: Your Awesome New York Kids Weekend, Sept. 18 – 20

1. Rosh Hashanah stories

You and your family can cozy up with these heartwarming Rosh Hashanah lessons. Introducing your child to values and traditions through literature is the perfect way to spend this year’s celebration. Here are a couple of books that the New York Public Library recommends for your little one.

Apple Days ($8, Amazon)

“Katy’s favorite holiday is Rosh Hashanah when she gets to pick apples and make applesauce with her mother. But what happens when the tradition is interrupted by the early arrival of her baby cousin?”

New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story ($8, Amazon)

“In this contemporary story, Izzy finds it difficult to apologize for a certain mistake, until the Rosh Hashanah tashlich service gives him new understanding.”

2. Streaming Rosh Hashanah services 

Gather around the computer or TV with your family to stream Rosh Hashanah celebrations online. There are tons of options for online Rosh Hashanah services nationwide, but we’ve selected synagogue services that are streaming from NYC. Temple Emanu-el, a Reform Jewish Synagogue located at E 65th Street and Fifth Avenue, is holding Rosh Hashana services online on Friday and Saturday. Park Avenue Synagogue, a Conservative Jewish congregation located on the Upper East Side, will be streaming services as well. For more information on streaming a Reform Service, click here. For more information on streaming a Conservative Service, click here.

Schedule Highlight: Temple Emanu-el Celebration will be holding a Rosh Hashanah Family/Teen Service at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19. 

3. Outdoor Rosh Hashanah services 

Following CDC guidelines like wearing masks and practicing social distancing, Chabad of Wall Street and the JLE are hosting an outdoor service. The main service is free and will be held outdoors in the Rooftop Garden on Pearl Street. Due to COVID, reservations are a must. To reserve seats for you and your loved ones, click here.

When: Friday, Sept. 18, at 6:30 p.m.

Location: Tent of The Rooftop Garden at
128 Pearl St., New York, NY 10005

4. Pre-order in

Photo courtesy of Talia’s Steakhouse

Treat yourself with a delicious, local meal! Talia’s Steakhouse, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is offering a pre-paid, prix-fixe, Glatt Kosher Rosh Hashanah lunch menu (the dinner menu is already sold out!). Prix-fixe lunch menus start at $35.

Pick-up Rosh Hashanah available on Sept. 19 and 20, noon – 3 p.m.

Address: 668 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10025

Contact: 212-580-3770

5. Hear the Shofar in the park or online 

Photo courtesy of Riya

At 1 p.m. on Sept. 20, join a socially distanced gathering at Bleeker Playground in Abingdon Square Park to hear the Shofar (RSVP to attend). This Shofar blowing at the playground is especially meant for families with young children. There are other socially distanced opportunities to hear the Shofar at Pier 46 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sept. 20 (RSVP to attend).

You can hear the Shofar virtually, courtesy of Central Synagogue, who has prerecorded Shofar blowing. Find out more here.