The Jewish Center is a Modern Orthodox synagogue or Shul located on the Upper West side of Manhattan, New York. It is a multi-generational synagogue that offers programs for children as well as young professionals.
Review By Jewishly:
This Jewish Center, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York, is a traditional Modern Orthodox Synagogue. It has a Mechitza, and women are separated by being elevated from the men on the left hand side. The Jewish Center also has a very large range of programs for children and young adults and seems to be very family focused. They also have shabbat dinners about once a month.
I will admit that I wandered into the Jewish Center while looking for another service and decided to stay. I sat near the back and a women kept asking me to get up as she passed by me repeatedly to leave and then come back. There was a fair amount of talking during the service. The women who got up and sat back down a number of times sat next to her husband and talked for a good portion of services. It was very distracting and made it hard to pray.
I was not met with happy looks or welcoming glances as I walked in. I had about 5 women look me up and down and record something about my appearance or whether I belonged here. It was a very disappointing experience. I understand as a long time community that The Jewish Center doesn’t need me. They don’t need my contributions, they don’t need my membership, and they also certainly don’t seem to want them either. But I’m wondering if that could possibly backfire at some point.
After reading the description of the Jewish Center on their website, I found my experience to be very different from how they present themselves. They present themselves as an open, welcoming community of Orthodox Jews. I found them to be elitist, stiff, and judgmental. This for me perpetuated a common stereotype of Orthodox Judaism. I found this to be very disappointing. I want Judaism to be about coming together to appreciate our commonalities as well as our differences. I would prefer that we stop using our religion as a hierarchy to judge other jews and leave people out. I would strongly urge The Jewish Center to consider how it welcomes people into the community and how they observe our beautiful religion that, in my mind, has a place for everyone.
131 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024