Holidays – the key scaffolding of Judaism – have bound Jewish communities together for more than 3,000 years. Following Yesod Year 1, Chaggim will bring to life much of our learning from the past 12 months.  

Through Yesod Year 2, we will explore nine holidays including deep dives into diverse rituals and practices with the goal of enriching your own practices moving forward.  

In-person participants will explore the on-site traditions of different congregations across New York City. 

The program will be led by Abigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew.

Virtual participants will meet via Zoom on different dates as Abigail Pogrebin and Rabbi David Wolpe Wolpe continue their program leadership with virtual sessions for each holiday.

Fee: $360 (includes all 9 holiday experiences)

For those joining in-person, here is the rundown of our nine holiday stops (subject to change):

Participation in Yesod Year 1 required

High Holy Days Preparation

Tuesday September 24, 2024

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: Hadar Institute

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are powerful kickoffs to the Jewish year. We will prepare for the High Holidays with the faculty of Hadar, a creative and vibrant center of Jewish learning and practice. They will guide us through the High Holiday rituals, complete with a shofar-blowing tutorial and a live goat.

A Beyond Sukkot Festival

Sunday October 20, 2024

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Location: Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale

(buses leave from the Temple Emanu-El at 11:15 AM, returning at 3:00 PM)

Most synagogues celebrate the week-long holiday of Sukkot by waving the Four Species, plants mentioned in the Torah and constructing a sukkah. The Westchester Reform Temple takes the celebration further, with Sukkah decorating, live music, a lesson in shaking the lulav and etrog and a ritual to invite ancient ancestors back. Senior Rabbi, Jonathan Blake, will also teach us about the lesser-known themes of Sukkot – impermanence, fragility, connection to the earth and the importance of getting lost.

Celebrating our Jewish Identity on Simchat Torah

Thursday October 24, 2024

7:30 PM – 9:30 PM 

Location: B’nai Jeshurun (Dinner to precede celebration)

As we mark the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and celebrate by dancing in the street with scrolls held high, we will enjoy a festive meal at an Upper West Side restaurant and a discussion with Dr. David Kraemer, professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary. After learning about the origins of the holiday and its themes, we’ll have a l’chaim (a toast to life), then move onto B’nai Jeshurun’s famous Simchat Torah celebration, led by its clergy – and joined by hundreds of people annually.

Location of the restaurant will be announced closer to the event date. 

A Special Hanukkah Party

Tuesday December 17, 2024 

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Central Synagogue 

Olive oil tasting, crispy latkes, Hanukkah mocktails and cocktails, klezmer music and a “Know-Your-Hanukkah-Facts” contest. What better way to celebrate the recapture of Jerusalem, the revolt of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple in the 2nd century BCE? We’ll enjoy the festivities following a discussion with Central Synagogue clergy and Dr. Shaye Cohen, a Harvard professor and historian, about the Maccabean revolt and why Hanukkah is missing from the Torah.

Romemu’s Tu B’Shevat Seder

Wednesday February 12, 2025 

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM 

Location: Temple Emanu-El, NYC 

For the festival of fruits – think Jewish Earth Day  – clergy and musicians from Romemu, an irreverently pious NYC Jewish community, will teach us about the four worlds of Kabbalah – of action (Assiyah), formation (Yetizirah), creation (Beriyah) and emanation (Atzilut) over a delicious Tu B’Shevat seder with foods that require no killing of animals or destruction of plants. 

The Joy and Courage of Purim 

Thursday March 13, 2025 

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM 

Location: TBD

How did the near-extermination of Persian Jewry turn into a costume party? Faculty from Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox institution in North America to ordain women as rabbis, will join us … and help you find your inner Esther.

Then, after the Megillah reading, you will discover the exciting Purim tradition of an ad lo yoda (until you don’t know) party with live music, food, desserts and holiday surprise.

Attending in costume is mandatory!

Not Your Usual Passover Seder

Thursday April 3, 2025 

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Hudson Yards Synagogue 

No matter how many Passover seders you’ve attended, you probably have never included flogging with scallions as part of the recounting of our flight from Egypt. It might be time to reconsider how to relive the Exodus story in a way that’s meaningful and relevant to you, your families and friends. 

Rabbi Marc Margolius and his colleagues from the Institute of Jewish Spirituality will help you do just that, not only talking through the high points of the familiar Seder, (with traditional foods, of course), but how to add and find new meaning in traditional rituals.  

Remembering on Yom HaShoah

Wednesday April 23, 2025

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: Museum of Jewish Heritage

At a moment when fewer than 250,000 Holocaust survivors are alive – with their numbers declining each year – we will gather at the museum for a powerful private tour of a main exhibition before experiencing The Hitkansut Seder. Our guides through this groundbreaking ceremony are faculty from the Shalom Hartman Institute, including Rabbi Justin Pines, a center of Jewish thought and education committed to strengthening Jewish peoplehood, identity and pluralism.  

Pulling an All-Nighter for Shavuot

Sunday June 1, 2025 

8:00 PM

Location: Marlene Meyerson JCC in Manhattan

Our final holiday session marks the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and the covenant between God and the Jewish people.

Join us for a special Yesod session to learn about Shavuot and then proceed to the JCC roof for their annual all-night Shavuot learning, including a musical opening, followed by a wide array of all-night classes ranging from Torah to Zionism to folk dancing to gefilte fish-making. For the hearty students, the program continues through a sunrise ritual on the roof and a delicious breakfast spread.