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At Central Synagogue

FAQ - 2019/5780 High Holy Days Service Schedule Updates

Posted March 6, 2019

Dates to Remember:

March 18 – receive the form to make your schedule selection
May 27 – deadline to return your selection form
June 3 – receive your final schedule (if you submitted before May 27)

1. What is changing?

We have made a change in our High Holy Days service schedule in order to respond to the strong desire from our members to be in the Main Sanctuary during the High Holy Days.  We are adding a second sanctuary service on Rosh HaShanah Day and Yom Kippur Morning. We’re then making other timing changes to accommodate these new services.

2. Why are we making these changes?

One thing we heard very strongly in the survey responses is how important the Main Sanctuary is to the worship experience, for a feeling of community and spirituality. In our current schedule, only 43% of congregants are able to spend the High Holy Days in the Main Sanctuary. With our new schedule, all congregants will be able to sit in the Main Sanctuary for at least one service.

A second thing we heard about our current seating system is that there is confusion about who gets which tickets, and why. We’re therefore offering all congregants a choice in which schedule they’d prefer, as outlined below:

3. What exactly will I get to select? 

If you are ticketed for all services with reserved (or “assigned”) seating in the Main Sanctuary, with Erev Rosh HaShanah at David Geffen Hall: as in years past, you’ll be able to switch your ticket to any of the unassigned services, space permitting, by releasing your assigned seat(s) for that service. Or, if you prefer to switch to one of the new schedule options, you can choose to permanently pass on your assigned seats and move to an unassigned seating membership.

If you are currently ticketed to spend all services in David Geffen Hall: you can keep this schedule, or you can request to participate in one service in the Main Sanctuary—Rosh HaShanah Day, Kol Nidrei, or Yom Kippur Morning. The rest of your services would be at David Geffen Hall.

If you are currently ticketed to be at the Main Sanctuary for Kol Nidrei, and the rest of your services at David Geffen Hall: you can keep this schedule, or you can request to switch and have a different service in the Main Sanctuary—Rosh HaShanah Day or Yom Kippur Morning—and be at David Geffen Hall for Kol Nidrei and the rest of your services.

If you were ticketed last year at Saint Peter’s Church for some services: we’re no longer holding services there, so you’ll be asked to choose a new schedule.  You can request all David Geffen Hall services or one service in the Main Sanctuary—Rosh HaShanah Day, Kol Nidrei, or Yom Kippur Morning—and the rest of your services at David Geffen Hall.

4. Will I get to see all of the clergy in the different locations?

The clergy have always worked hard to ensure an equal rotation among all locations and services.  As in the past, if you go to all services on your schedule, you will see our full clergy team.  The final clergy rotation won’t be set until much later in the summer; however, Rabbi Buchdahl will give her sermons to the whole congregation on Erev Rosh HaShanah and at all locations on Yom Kippur Morning.

5. What if I want to keep the schedule of locations I have now?

Most congregants will have the option to maintain their current schedule of service locations, with just changes in service start-times to accommodate the new schedule. If you don’t make a selection, your schedule will remain as it is now. Members who attended services at Saint Peter’s Church last year will be asked to change to one of the new options since we won’t be using that venue going forward.

6. I have family/friends who are members—I want to make sure we have the same schedule and can worship together.

Please coordinate with your family and friends on which schedule you’ll request. There will also be a space on the selection form to list up to three other member households with whom you’d like to share a schedule. We will prioritize grouping with family, and then with friends where possible. 

7. What is the selection process for choosing which service I can go to?

On the selection form, we’ll ask you to request a first and second choice for which schedule you’d prefer. We hope to be able to give everyone their first choice. In case more households select a certain schedule than our spaces can accommodate, we’ll move to second choices after considering keeping family together, membership tenure, and whether the request came in before the deadline of May 27.

8. What if I don’t or can’t choose by the deadline of Memorial Day (May 27)?

We will, of course, continue to accept selections after the May 27 deadline. To have everything in place to open guest ticket ordering and prepare tickets, we’ll need to share your final schedule in early June for those who have selected by the deadline. We encourage you to make a preliminary selection before May 27 if at all possible. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll leave your schedule as is.

9. What if I wind up with a schedule I don’t like?

We’ll do our best to accommodate requests for changes, space allowing.

10. Will my selection apply to all of my family’s tickets?

Yes, your chosen schedule will apply to all tickets in your household’s membership, as well as to any guest tickets you purchase.

11. Will my membership dues be different based on what I choose?

Our dues pricing categories have not changed. All unassigned ticket categories have the same dues regardless of schedule. Assigned seating membership will continue to be priced based on the number and location of seats. 

12. When new members join Central, what options will be available?

New members will get to choose as space allows. For new members who are joining to be with family who are already Central members, we’ll prioritize family worshiping together.

13. What time will the “early” and “late” Main Sanctuary services be? What time will the David Geffen Hall services be? 

We’re continuing to adjust the final timing details, and we’ll share the complete schedules with the selection form on March 18.

14. How do I get tickets to attend all services in the Main Sanctuary?

The schedule with all services in the Main Sanctuary is for our assigned seating membership.  Seats in these services are “owned” by members, kept from year to year and often passed down from one generation to the next. We maintain a waiting list for those who want to move into this service schedule, but because seats don’t open up very often, it’s common for people to be on the list for many years.  To add your name to this waiting list, please contact the Membership department.