Every month, the sweet aroma of challah baking in the oven fills the halls of our synagogue. Rabbi Drorah Setel and temple members and guests are in our temple kitchen baking challah together. The challahs will be presented and eaten during the onegs that follows our Friday evening Shabbat Services. Challah baking and eating – not a bad metaphor for our Temple Emanu-El members: we’re a participatory, hands-on group of people who like to “do Jewish” together.
Temple Emanu-El is a Reform Jewish community, deliberately kept small and informal, with a focus on learning, worship, and friendship. We offer free admission – no tickets, no fees – to our High Holiday services and events in the hope that newcomers will feel especially welcome to join with us on these holiest of days. But we also offer so much more… the joy of attending our Tashlich-by-the-lake, noshing under our Sukkah, dancing on Simchat Torah, enjoying latkes and a dozen simultaneously lit menorahs at Chanukah, participating in the mid-winter Celebration of the Trees on Tu B’Shevat, masquerading at our Purim megillah reading and carnival, being part of our annual congregational Passover seder, and relaxing with Friday evening deep breaths to pause and honor Shabbat each week.
Rabbi Setel leads a Chevra Torah Study group every Saturday morning, and Hebrew and Judaism classes throughout the year. We offer a unique, individualized Hebrew program for kids and teenagers – Hebrew School Without Walls – and an intergenerational program, Dorot (Generations), every month. We have a dedicated book group, a men’s club, a spirited chorale, and brunches with lectures throughout the year.
One of our priorities is Tikkun Olam – mending the world. Year-round, we collect food items for local food pantries, and on Rosh HaShanah, we hand out shopping bags for people to fill. We visit residents of the Jewish Home and regularly participate in community programs – one that helps people who are homeless, and another that serves mentally challenged Jewish adults. Once a month, we bring in speakers from organizations that work on a variety of problems, such as poverty, hunger or the environment. When a member steps forward with a suggestion – helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity or working a fundraising drive for WXXI – we usually jump at the chance to participate. For more information, contact Carl Wetzstein (585-266-6982, email@example.com), or simply come to our next Tikkun Olam Team meeting.