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Booze & Prayers. Synagogues Woo Worshippers With Open Bar. L’Chaim!

on 11/02/13 at 11:25 am

Booze News
Thank God for Johnnie Walker

Thank God for Johnnie Walker

To Woo Worshippers, Synagogues Compete With Food and Booze; Hosting in the Hamptons.

Come Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, the atmosphere at Rabbi Sholom Lipskar’s synagogue near Bal Harbour, Fla., turns festive. The eating and drinking start early.

Very early.

The synagogue, called The Shul, attracts anywhere from 500 to 800 people each week. Most attend services in the main sanctuary that start around 9 a.m. But some early birds show up for prayers that begin at 7:15 a.m. and conclude by 9:15. Then it is party time for the largely male crowd.

This elegant seaside place of worship is on the cutting edge of the Kiddush—a lavish repast that has helped transform the staid postservice fellowship hour to the kind of boozy, over-the-top spread synonymous with weddings.

Such affairs have become so de rigueur to luring congregants that Rabbi Lipskar has solicited donors for a special “Kiddush bank” to fund the pricey libations and epicurean fare that can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $3,600 per week.