NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Monday was a joyous day for millions of Jewish people around the world.
Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the Jewish New Year.
Rabbi Perry Berkowitz has said “happy New Year” countless times, but every time, he means it. Especially when he says it at the East Side Synagogue.
“This synagogue has a lot of different people who come here. We reach out to a lot of unaffiliated, disconnected people, and in this way, we try to connect them back,” he said.
The rabbi led a packed house during a high holiday service Monday morning, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reports.
“It’s a day that’s dedicated to our thinking where we are going, where the world is going?” Berkowitz said.
The service is filled with dancing and singing.
“We want to try and dance the way into the new year, to look and enter into the new year with joy, not with fear,” Berkowitz said.
But mostly, it’s filled with reflection. Many at the East Side Synagogue were looking forward to a new year and what it could bring.
“Transformation, redemption,” one Upper East Side woman said.
“The beginning of everything that is the future,” one man said.
“Thinking about what is important in life,” another man said.
The synagogue has been putting on New Year services for almost 40 years. While most are familiar faces, there were some new ones, too. Jennifer Schwartz, of Gramercy, brought her four friends.
“I feel so grateful to have my beautiful soul sisters with me and start new traditions,” she said.
A message Berkowitz is also trying to get across — community.
“Through community and through coming together and celebration in a group setting, we are able to gain the strength and the resources to go on,” he said.
Watch Cindy Hsu’s report —
For most kids, Rosh Hashanah may mean one thing.
“We don’t have school,” one child said.
“I think as a kid, I was bored to death, and now as an adult, I find it very interesting,” one man said.
But the 92nd Street Y doesn’t want kids to have to grow up to enjoy the high holiday.
Through a music video that takes you across the world, the cultural center is continuing to connect Jewish people of all ages from all over.
Jason Rosenberg is the project coordinator for the music video “Reset.”
“We like to bring the world together in community for Rosh Hashanah, the new year, and to celebrate the diversity,” he said.
The video has already been seen and shared online thousands of times.
Watch “A song for the New Year sung by communities around the world” from the 92nd Street Y —
The video opens with the sound of the shofar. It then moves from the streets of New York City and around the world, including the Tree of Life, which is the Pittsburgh synagogue where a deadly mass shooting happened in October 2018.
The theme of the song is “wake up.”
“I think any message and any song that encourages us to open our eyes and be truthful with what’s going on is really moving,” said Rebecca Schoffer, with Jewish family engagement at the 92nd Street Y.
“This our way of spreading Tikkun Olam, which is repairing the world. It’s making the world a better place by sharing a glimmer of hope that we can bring through our online channels,” Rosenberg said.