Subplot: Why Is This Year Different From All Other Years?

Members of the Central Synagogue were delighted to learn that despite the fire that nearly consumed their place of worship on August 28, High Holiday services have not been canceled. Instead, they’ve been moved to the Park Avenue Armory (with floral arrangements donated by Robert Isabell). That’s not the only change, though.

Usually the congregation divides into an earlier service, favored by those with children, and a later service, favored by some of New York’s most prominent families. “If you stay after the family service,” says one attendee, “you can see the celebrities arrive, the bigwigs that come to the synagogue. Steinberg, Tisch.” But this year, boldface worshipers such as the Speyers, the Lauders, the Roses, and Mark Green will be seated in the same sanctuary as less-well-known co-congregants. “Because of the trauma,” says Daniel Nelson, chairman of the building committee, “we agreed we should be together.”

Will this egalitarian effect last? “We have our hopes,” says Rabbi Rubinstein, “but it’s between God and the contractors.”

Subplot: Why Is This Year Different From All Othe […]