Central Synagogue is a Reform synagogue located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. It is a very family focused synagogue with a large membership. Central Synagogue has been around in one form or another for over 150 years.
Review By Jewishly:
Central Synagogue has a very well attended Friday night service. The services are lead by any number of Rabbis, and they do a wonderful job at welcoming people into the feeling of shabbat and making the community feel open. They had a section where you get up and meet the other people around you, which I thought was a nice touch.
I think this synagogue has its family involvement and its welcoming community atmosphere down. They also take concepts that are mystical and make them digestible by the greater community. In doing this, however, something occasionally gets missed. Calling your community to embrace things that are complex and perhaps have no reason for observing them is part of the mysticism of Judaism. I think the areas for growth for this community lie in growing more spiritually deep. And to notice when creating animosity between Jews of different political affiliations as well as Jewish affiliations. I think it is subtle but it is there. The idea that all jews should be liberal and the idea that there is something to distance oneself from when it comes to Orthodox Jews. We are all in this together, and divisiveness will not lead us to a more spiritually free and peaceful society. It will only continue to manifest animosity we already have.
Overall, this community was a joy to be a part of on a Friday night. For me, this was an open and welcoming shabbat experience. My only hope is that they can continue to bring forth depth in spirituality and embracing Jews of different political backgrounds and observance levels.
652 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022