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DC synagogue will pack pews with celeb cutouts on High Holidays

With the High Holidays going virtual across the country, Jews will miss the call of the shofar, the intimacy of a shul setting and — not least of all — the opportunity to schmooze. But the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C. is offering congregants a chance to commune with their famous coreligionists — in corrugated form.

Taking its cue from the world of professional sports — or perhaps this item in Scribe — Sixth & I is stacking its pews with cutout likenesses of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Hamilton” star Daveed Diggs and comedian Amy Schumer (no word yet on her cousin Chuck). The move brings a whole new meaning to the old showbiz term papering the house. You can be a part of it, for a price.

In an August 19 Instagram post, Sixth & I announced their fundraising initiative “You in a Pew,” calling it the “next best way to ‘attend’ High Holiday services” in their historic building. For a gift of $36, the synagogue will place a photo of the donor next to a cutout. “When you watch our livestreamed services this September, you might even see yourself on screen sharing a prayerbook with Matisyahu,” they said.

All proceeds go to offsetting the cost of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur livestreams.

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We miss seeing your face around Sixth & I. Although this year isn’t quite what many of us pictured, a picture of you in our sanctuary during the High Holidays would help us feel more connected to you at a time when we especially want to be together. You in a Pew is the next best way to “attend” High Holiday services in our historic building. When you make a gift of $36 to Sixth & I, we’ll place a photo of you on a pew in our sanctuary next to cutouts of the iconic, irreverent, and beloved Jewish celebrities Sixth & I has hosted over the past 15 years. And when you watch our livestreamed services this September, you might even see yourself on screen sharing a prayerbook with Matisyahu. Proceeds from You in a Pew will help offset the cost of producing one of our most ambitious High Holiday experiences to date, ensuring that thousands in our community can picture a brighter start to the New Year. Ready to show your face and your support? We’ll save you a seat:

A post shared by Sixth & I (@sixthandi) on

In addition to being a synagogue, Sixth & I is also a popular event space in the capital, and is no stranger to celeb sightings. As far as we know, though, this is the first time all of the synagogue’s A-listers will be able to be easily toppled by a moderate gust of wind.

“This is a time of year when people really crave that feeling of being in community with each other, and we’ve just really been missing those face-to-face interactions with our community,” Sixth & I communications manager Michelle Eider told DCist. “We knew that although we can’t gather physically for the High Holidays, we wanted to create something special to help people find meaning, and connection, and I think also a little bit of levity, too.”

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].

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