Rabbi Berkowitz Uses Music And Singing To Try To Inspire Jews Who Feel Disaffected, Or Are In Search Of Something Different

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Shanah tovah to everyone celebrating Monday.

It’s Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish new year.

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CBS2’s Janelle Burrell visited an Upper East Side synagogue that makes its celebration unique.

Jewish people around the world are marking the start of the Jewish new year 5779, a time of celebration and also reflection.

“It’s a time for us to think about how the year has been, how we had treated people and we look forward to the new year,” Upper West Side resident Judith Rubin said.

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A Rosh Hashanah tradition, the blowing of the shofar. (Photo: CBS2)

At East Side Synagogue, the holiday is celebrated in a non-traditional way.

“It’s music and singing and that’s what attracted my girlfriend and I to this congregation,” UWS resident Marty Safran said.

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Rabbi Perry Berkowitz said his goal is to attract those who may not regularly practice the faith.

“Jews who have dropped out of mainstream synagogues or Jews who never went or those who were disenchanted, disaffected, who are looking for something different,” Berkowitz said.

A tradition they always are sure to include is one of the signatures of the Rosh Hashanah. It’s the sounding of the ram’s horn, known as the shofar.

“It’s meant to wake you up. In ancient times, it was the call to battle,” Berkowitz said. “When you hear it it’s a prayer in sound.”

As is the case at most synagogues today, at the East Side Synagogue, among those attending services is a visible show of security as well.

As together they usher in the new year, with renewed focus and purpose.

“When they leave today, they take something with them for the rest of the year,” Berkowitz said.

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Rosh Hashanah officially began at sundown on Sunday night, starting the 10-day period that culminates with Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.