Celebrating Rosh Hashanah at Joyce United Methodist Church in Minneapolis


After some anxiety and last-minute rearrangements, a Jewish group will celebrate Rosh Hashanah Thursday evening at a Methodist church in Minneapolis. “Rosh Hashanah is probably our biggest event,” said Raysh Weiss, a founding member of Uptown Havurah. “We were a bit nervous when our original locations fell through and were trying to think of a good alternate that would have a home-y feel.”

Uptown Havurah found that home-y feel with Joyce United Methodist Church, located on West 31st Street.

Weiss said the Uptown Havurah is mainly 20-30 year olds, who share Jewish values and traditions and also may belong to formal congregations. (A havurah is a small group of like-minded Jews who meet regularly to celebrate Shabbat, holidays, or lifecycle events.) “When we celebrate holidays together, it is kind of like having a surrogate family,” Weiss said. The group gets together monthly at member’s houses for Friday night Sabbath dinners.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, part of the High Holidays that culminate 10 days later with Yom Kippur. For the Uptown Havurah, it’s a celebration that draws in more people to the already large community.

According to their website, Joyce United Methodist Church is a part of the Uptown Association, a non-profit organization, whose key components are honoring the diverse businesses and organizations in Uptown.

Katy Kelly, Hamline University graduate student and Joyce United Methodist member first suggested that the havurah have its Rosh Hashanah dinner at the church. “It wasn’t a big deal, it was, ‘You need space? Okay. We’ll do it,'” Kelly said.

Kelly said that Joyce has a good history of allowing other groups to use their space.

Paster John Darlington at Joyce United Methodist was excited to have the Uptown Havurah present at Joyce. “I hope it will turn into an annual tradition,” Pastor Darlington said. “And that our two ‘congregations’ will be able to plan additional ways to spend time with and be supportive of each other.”

The big, festive Rosh Hashanah dinner is open to everyone, Jewish or not. A few members of Joyce plan on attending.