Welcome to Ansche Chesed!
We are a ritually traditional, socially progressive and intellectually vibrant Conservative synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. An active, engaged center of Jewish life, the Ansche Chesed community is made up of people both passionate about Torah and tradition and dedicated to building the world through deeds of kindness. Diversity enriches us and we welcome everyone, young and old, individuals and families, traditionalists and seekers, LGBTQ and straight, those married to Jews and the intermarried.
Our community is filled with learning, prayer, celebration and social action. Stop by any morning to participate in our daily minyan. Visit any weekday and see children learning about Torah and Jewish life. Drop in any evening to learn from Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky and others in one of our many classes. Join our chorus, led by Hazzan Natasha Hirschhorn. Celebrate Shabbat and the holidays with us. Help us comfort mourners, visit the sick, collect food for the hungry and care for the homeless at our men’s shelter, which operates 365 days a year.
Shabbat at Ansche Chesed is filled with prayer, learning and other opportunities for members to come together. For adults, there are Friday evening services and both community- and home-based Shabbat dinners; Saturday morning services for those familiar with the liturgy and those new to it, and for those who enjoy services with clergy and those who prefer lay-led prayer experiences; and the chance to study Torah with Rabbi Kalmanofsky. For families, there are three Shabbat morning services for children of different ages; the Shabbat afternoon gym, a great place for parents to bring the little ones while getting to know each other; and regular Friday night dinners for families and for teens.
Every year, Ansche Chesed offers a wide range of classes taught by Rabbi Kalmanofsky and others on ancient and modern texts, on how to live a meaningful Jewish life and on what it means to be a Jew in the 21st century. We also host scholar-in-residence programs, lectures by prominent teachers and public figures, interfaith events and outings and special classes for families and parents.
Families, Kids and Teens
At Ansche Chesed, parents and children are never at a loss for activities that engage, educate and delight. In addition to our Hebrew school’s creative curriculum for different age groups, we offer an ongoing series of fun, out-of-the-box holiday celebrations, social events and other special programs designed especially for families, young children and teens. On Shabbat mornings, our three services for children of different ages ensure that every child has a place where she or he feels welcome and comfortable.
From our men’s homeless shelter, which operates 365 days a year, to our many social action programs for adults, teens and families, we strive to live up to our name—to be ansche chesed, people of kindness, working to build the world through good deeds. The busy Social Action Committee hosts activities throughout the year and partners with many local charities, including the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, Habitat for Humanity, the New York Blood Center and the homeless organization Midnight Run.
Ansche Chesed offers many ways for members to gather as one or in smaller, like-minded groups, such as parents, families, teens and older adults. There are holiday festivities, social action days, concerts and a yearlong program of learning opportunities. And whether one-on-one or through our Bikkur Cholim and Menachem Aveilim committees, which provide comfort and practical support to members who are ill or in mourning, the Ansche Chesed community comes together in challenging times as well as in joyful ones.
Abraham Joshua Heschel famously wrote that “no religion is an island,” meaning that people of diverse faiths can learn from and aid one another in their search for holiness, wisdom and love. Each year, Ansche Chesed offers opportunities to learn about other religious traditions and to build bridges with our Muslim and Christian neighbors.
The Shirei Chesed Community Chorus and Scribblers on the Roof are two of Ansche Chesed’s signature programs. Led by Ansche Chesed’s music director, Hazzan Natasha Hirschhorn, Shirei Chesed explores diverse Jewish music from around the globe, from liturgical works to Israeli songs, from Hasidic niggunim to new compositions, sharing what it has mastered in performances that range from informal sing-alongs to appearances at the North American Jewish Choral Festival. Come July and August, it is time to go up to the roof for Scribblers and lovely summer evenings spent listening to Jewish authors read from their latest work.