Just in time for the Jewish high holidays, two lifetime front-row seats to services at a synagogue here are being auctioned off on eBay. The bidding starts at $1.8 million.
Besides getting to schmooze up front with the rabbi, the lucky winner's family name will be engraved on Seats 1 and 2 of Row 1, Section DD, at Temple Emanu-El. The winner will also receive free parking, two custom-made prayer shawls and yarmulkes, and a hefty tax write-off. Plus, the winning bidder can pass the seats down to his or her children.
"It's a gift that goes from one generation to another," said Rabbi Kliel Rose, who came up with the concept with a little bit of chutzpah and the help of two congregants who work in advertising and marketing.
The auction ends Monday morning, but as of Saturday evening, no one had made a wager. Rose said he wasn't surprised. He said the auction was more about gaining the attention of Jews who are disconnected from their faith.
"It has very little to do with the money," Rose said. "Hypothetically, if the money comes, it would be great, but the idea was really just to be edgy."
Temple Emanu-El is a 1,400-seat conservative congregation that was founded in the 1940s on South Beach. It had thousands of members in its heyday, but the temple shrunk to a little more than 200 families by the time Rose arrived two years ago.