Volume 74, Number 22 | September 29 - October 5 , 2004

Sukhot du Soleil at the New Shul

The New Shul will celebrate Sukhot, with a twist on Sat., Oct. 2, starting at 7 p.m. at 272 W. 10th St. Niles Goldstein, the rabbi of the six-year-old Greenwich Village congregation, described the service as “a bit like ‘De La Guarda,’ sort of a ‘Cirque du Soleil’ atmosphere.” There will be live music, dance and prayer. “It’s a very interactive event — it’s not like sitting in a pew,” he said. “Everyone will be standing. Unless of course you need to sit.”

The service will reach back into history, connecting with lost rituals.

“Rather than creating something new, we’re excavating,” Goldstein explained, noting the evening will culminate with a dramatic water libation, with water being poured into a giant vat in thanks for God’s abundance. Some, but not all, people will be in costume as wandering pilgrims.

The new moon will also be incorporated, he added.

The congregation is progressive, according to Goldstein, who is a Reform rabbi. The New Shul must have the right combination, because it’s drawing in people, Jews and non-Jews alike.

“Over the generations, a lot has been done to take the joy out of Judaism,” Goldstein said. “And we want to put it back…. Here we are in this area that’s been historically so antithetical to organized religion, and people are coming back. We opened in the belly of the beast, Greenwich Village.”

No sheep will be offered in sacrifice, but as an offering of social action, people are asked to bring a canned good, which will be donated to the hungry.

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