“3! 2! 1! Happy New Year!” The Carnegie Library filled with the sound of people clinking glasses and sipping sparkling wine. It was still a reasonably warm September night outside with the sun only then setting, not yet even time to start thinking about midnight that night, let alone the end of the year. Nevertheless, the crowd inside was toasting Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish year, as part of Sixth & I Historic Synagogue’s “Sixth in the City New Year’s Eve Party.”
Amid lavish plates of food and bartenders pouring wine and beer, people converged on the famous library shortly before the sun set, many arriving after attending services at the synagogue and the main ballroom echoed with the sounds of conversation mixed with the live band’s music.
“We had a pipe dream of having a big New Year’s party,” said Hannah Orenstein, communications manager for Sixth & I. “We were picturing New Year’s hype and excitement combined with Rosh Hashanah.”
The event was planned to appeal to Jews in their 20s and 30s, especially those who might not be going home for the holidays, and most of the more than 200 people there fit that demographic.
“It’s really been a great time,” said Jessie, who said she’d moved to D.C. just a few months earlier and not spent the High Holidays away from home before. “It really does feel like a New Year’s party.”
The New Year’s countdown took place at 8:13 p.m. as the sun set and the holiday officially began. Most people stuck around for longer, but like all new year’s parties, it ended all too soon. It was the first time Sixth & I had held this event but Orenstein said if it succeeded it would likely return next year.
“I would definitely do it again,” Jessie said. “I’d probably try to convince some of my friends to stay in town for it.”