Taking after the airlines, synagogues in the New York metropolitan area are going to be charging premium prices for premium seats, like those with more legroom. Many synagogues are lacking the funds to properly maintain their sanctuaries have hot kiddushim and have scholars in residence, but they think charging more for certain seats may help them raise necessary funds.
So which seat prices are being raised?
Many synagogues have already raised the prices on exit row seats, those seats closest to an exit are highly sought after for long high holiday and Sabbath services. If someone wants to leave during Yom Kippur they can just do so, without disturbing a whole row of people and they can come late to shul without anyone knowing. Aisle seat prices are going up, especially in synagogues like New York City’s Jewish Center, which is notorious for its long and crowded rows, where it’s nearly impossible to leave without causing a ruckus and the aisle seats fill up quickly, because they are good for looking at the goods on the other side of the rather low mechitzah.
Synagogues with bimah real estate will also be offering spots for the folks who enjoy slumping over the bimah, and the general open space around the bimah will be up for sale. Many sanctuaries are built with little room to walk, besides for around the bimah, many older folks are willing to fork over a bit more for the ability to stretch their bones in shul without exiting the main sanctuary.
In some synagogues, the seats within view of the rabbu are sought after, many synagogues were built with the microphone in mind and those that don’t use them make it hard to hear the rabbi speak. Some folks actually want to hear the rabbi speak and these seats may command a premium.
We are waiting for more on this developing story and will bring that to you when it develops. In other news, synagogues mull over renting space to Kiddush clubs.