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The Merion Opens its Doors for the Jewish High Holidays

Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation’s (JRC) Platinum LEED certified building is beautiful and environmentally friendly. However it’s not large enough to accommodate the number of worshippers attending services on Rosh Hashanah. One of the most sacred days of the year, Rosh Hashanah marks the Jewish New Year, and draws hundreds of Jews who might otherwise not go to worship services.

With a sense of community and respect for some of its residents’ faith traditions, The Merion, formerly known as The North Shore Hotel, has opened its doors to JRC for Rosh Hashanah. For more than ten years, The Merion has welcomed young worshippers and their adult advisors into its beautiful Crystal Ballroom for services.

JRC is a 500-plus household congregation located in Evanston. Rich Katz, a member of JRC and its High Holiday committee said, “We have a building that is fairly new. It was specifically designed to be energy-efficient. One of the things we decided not to do was make it large enough to accommodate the large crowd that attends services just for the High Holidays. We have a long-standing relationship with The Merion and with First United Methodist Church, both of which help us out,” he said.

While Rosh Hashanah services for adults are held at First United Methodist Church, students in grades 3-6 are accommodated at The Merion, where a JRC congregant conducts services.

Residents living at The Merion are encouraged to attend the services, in an intergenerational arrangement that suits everyone. Katz said that non-Jewish residents often attend the services as well, simply out of curiosity.

“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with The Merion. Opening up their building for our youth is a great service to the community. The intergenerational component of having kids and seniors worship together is wonderful, as is the great sense of spirituality. With the attendance of non-Jewish residents, there’s a great interdenominational aspect as well,” said Katz.

“We have been so beautifully embraced by the Evanston community, that we are always looking for ways of giving back. The High Holidays arrangement with JRC is a win-win. The young people have someplace to worship, and our residents who join them have a lovely intergenerational experience,” said Margaret Gergen, leasing director of The Merion. “We look forward to our annual holiday observance with JRC.”

The Merion is a luxury senior apartment community for active, independent retirees seeking a hassle-free rental home in Evanston. Formerly known as The North Shore Hotel, The Merion has been totally renovated with upscale finishes and amenities. For additional information, visit

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