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Last year we talked about purchasing seats. This year we’re going to focus on saving money.
Don't buy prime cushion seating from the shul office this year. You're praying to Gd for a year of financial success. You don't want to start with a two-hundred-dollar seat debt. Two hundred dollars and you don't even get to take the chair home. It's a rip off. Best way to save money is to sit in the plastic section.
Sit in the Plastic Chair Section
The plastic section is for crowd overflow. Many of the people showing up to this section didn't think about purchasing Yom Kippur seats, making this the fiscally responsible way to spend the High Holidays. This section is full of people the congregation can't depend on to help or volunteer, again making this the right section for you.
No shame in the plastic chair section. Keter chairs are quite comfortable.
If you're sitting here, you probably didn’t pay dues. And you're probably not going to close on a decent commercial real estate property this Yom Kippur. That is fine.
The savvy plastic sitter will act surprised when they walk into shul. Sitting in this section, you'll want to let people know that you had no idea that people purchase seats for the High Holidays.
Advantages To the Plastic Section
If you show up early enough, you can reset the plastic area to suit your needs. That means giving other people less room, and you being happy. Hence, making for a more meaningful Yom Kippur.
Being that you have seat moving ability, you might want to bring an ottoman for greater relaxation. The Kohens in the Temple must've had ottomans for the Musaf service. It's long.
And the plastic chair is mobile. Let’s say you want to take a break. You're sitting in the hallway with your handy dandy plastic chair. Yizkur comes and you're in the hallway looking classy with your portable sitting arrangement, while everybody else is standing. And if the services take more than twelve hours, take your seat out back for some decent relaxation and a sunbathe.
Don't Be Afraid to Move Your Chair
Never feel left out. If you want to be part of the action, place your plastic chair in the aisle. There's always room in the aisle.
Somebody at my shul thought ahead and brought a lawn chair. He placed it right in the middle aisle. Lots of room there not being used. They had to walk around him with the Torah, but that was fine. He saved tons on that High Holiday seat, and he was able to return it to Walmart after Yom Kippur. I sat next to him. It's kind of like moving up to the dugout section at a baseball game, if the stadium didn't provide seats and you had to carry a plastic chair to the expensive section. Great way to get better value for your dollar on Yom Kippur.
No Names on Chairs
Write your name on the chair. It's about class. Even though you may even be bringing the chair from your house, which the financially savvy do, you should still have it assigned to you. It's part of High Holiday tradition.
Sharpies work great. Don't use magic markers. Sharpies are much better, and they also bring a bit more acclaim to your plastic chair.
Know Your Hebrew Name
That should be what is on your chair. You don't want your chair reading, "Max the Son of Bernie Who Still Owes for His Seat."
Stick Up for Yourself
The plastic chair section can be a bit rough if you're not assertive.
The guy in front of me last year set up his chair for his own needs. He showed up on time. During the service, he pushed the plastic chair back every chance he had. He coughed and pushed the chair back at the same time. He kept inching it back. By the end of the reading of Sefer Yona, he had a lot more space than anybody else in the shul. I was stuck doing the Mincha prayer on the balls of my feet. He was taking three full steps back, pacing during the prayers, and somehow I still got whacked in the face by the tassels when he was swinging on his Tallit (prayer shawl).
Some shuls may offer portable cushioned chairs in the back section. Beware of these shuls. They may ask for a donation after the holidays. Better to sit on the floor than to fall for that bait and switch. I would also beware of doing any Mi SheBeyrach blessings for your family at these shuls. You think you're getting a deal; a free blessing for the family. Then, they spring the Tzedakah clause on you. Next thing you know, you're down eighteen dollars for caring about your family.
If there is anything we learned, the plastic chair section is perfect for the thrifty Yom Kippur goer.
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