We are a neighborhood congregation, a family-friendly Reform synagogue with a strong emphasis on adult and children education, social action activity in the community, and inclusive, personally meaningful worship experiences. We are a full-service synagogue with a small congregational feel. We know our members, yet we are large enough to provide quality professional and lay leadership that responds to the many and diverse needs of today’s Jewish families. We welcome you into our “Family of families” and we encourage you to worship with us, learn with us, and find your own place within the many activities of our congregational community.
Rabbi Joseph Klein
Judaism is the foundation of our lives. For several years prior to our 2010 conversion, we were wanders in the wilderness in search of the truth. Individually and upon becoming a couple and eventually marrying, we had been through a smorgasbord of faiths. The only commonality that we found that made sense with any of them was their continual reference to Judaism being the original faith after which dialogue would begin as to why their particular faith was better than Judaism. It was a virtual, on-going Tower of Babel situation.
Our search concluded when, ironically, the woman who we bought our home from mentioned Temple Emanu-El as a synagogue that had very good education programs that will help us to find some answers. That was the best advice that we received and followed through on. No possible conversion into any faith should be done suddenly or taken lightly. As-a-matter-of-fact, our conversion took over a year of intense study, reflection, inquiry and discussion. We were a bit nervous as, being an African-American family, we were not sure how well we would be received. Our fears quickly eroded upon our first meeting with Rabbi Klein. He was very warm and welcoming. At that very moment, we felt that this is the perfect person to learn from about Judaism. However, we were in for another pleasant surprise when we quickly found that not only was Rabbi Klein welcoming to our family but also Cantor Sharlein and the entire congregation and staff at Temple Emanu-El. Each person took the time to not only answer our questions, and believe me, we had a lot, but they also became friends and from friends they became family.
We were welcomed to not only attend, but also participate and learn about all aspects of Temple life. Everything from the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to weekly holidays of Shabbat, to Hanukah and Purim and the list goes on and on. We were also welcomed into many congregants’ homes for various festivals and celebrations.
The Introduction to Judaism course that Rabbi Klein teaches every fall is superior to any course that we have taken in all of our years of religious instruction and secular schooling. Temple Emanu-El is very welcoming for children also. Our 7 year-old daughter absolutely loves Temple Emanu-El and is more attentive during services than anywhere else. She loves learning about the services and thoroughly enjoys attending weekly religious school. She absolutely adores Rabbi Klein, which warms our hearts. Our 1 year-old son is the first child in our family to be born Jewish. We were so pleased to have his naming ceremony performed at Temple Emanu-El by Rabbi Klein.
We could go on and on about why we chose Judaism and why Temple Emanu-El is the best place to learn all aspects of our faith, but we welcome you to find out for yourself. May you have a wonderful journey full of inquiry.
Brian and Jenn Johnson and family