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“The more Torah, the more life” – Pirkei Avot 2:7
Union Temple Religious School 2020-21/5781: REGISTRATION UPDATE
Jewish Education is an “essential service” that we are fully committed to providing. In this time of great change and uncertainty, our commitment to providing an excellent Jewish educational experience that addresses the social, emotional, spiritual and cognitive needs of each learner is unwavering. Jewish tradition teaches chazak v’nitchazek—we are strong and we will be strengthened by being together, whether physically or virtually.
Union Temple WILL have a robust Pre-K-7 Religious School Program in 2020-21/5781 where our children and families can learn and grow together. The format of that program is still being determined as we assess many variables including emotional and physical safety, space availability in our building, varied learning needs, and budget. Our Jewish values, including pikuach nefesh (the sanctity of human life superseding all else), have and will continue to guide us in decision-making, as will the recommendations and standards set by city and state agencies and the CDC and WHO. Our current reality requires that programs remain flexible and responsive to changing circumstances, and we are exploring options that account for these dynamics while providing consistently accessible and meaningful content.
Religious School Registration for 2020-21/5781 will be available later this summer. Please watch your email for further information or email email@example.com with questions.
I have spoken to many people who are getting anxious about having to be home and worrying about themselves, friends, and family. I am going to put on my mental health counseling hat and offer some ways to help you cope with the stress you are feeling.
First, know that it will pass. We may not know how long it will take, so be patient, understanding, and flexible. But there will be an end to this. For now, we have to find ways to adjust to a new, but temporary, normal.
Given the rapidly changing facts on the ground and guidance we have received from public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to close the Union Temple building for all synagogue programming, including Religious School, Preschool, and Shabbat Services, until May 15. We will be reassessing this decision as new information and guidance becomes available and determining whether we can re-open at that time.
Our staff will work remotely, however the process for contacting us should not be disrupted. You will be able to contact the synagogue by calling 718- 638-7600 between the hours of 8:30AM and 4:30PM. You will be prompted to select your department and you may Press 1 for Harriet in the Admin office if you are seeking the office or the Rabbi. In the event your call is not directly answered upon your selection, please leave your message. Calls will be returned as quickly as possible. You will also be prompted on how to contact the Rabbi in the event of a death or other life cycle emergency. Calls received after hours will be returned the next morning.
As we practice “physical distancing” in order to protect one another, we are deeply committed to “spiritually connecting.” We all need it now more than ever. Below, you will find some changes to our schedule and some ways to connect. Note: These are changes from even this week’s recent letter.
Changes to our Programming:
We know this decision is hard on each of us in different ways and we hold you in our hearts through all of it. By proceeding in this way right now, you are participating in one of the greatest mitzvot in Jewish tradition – the commandment of pikuach nefesh, which guides us to protect life, above all else. Because we value one another and each human being so very much, we are enacting our social and ethical responsibility to keep each other healthy and to help “flatten the curve,” in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19, so that our healthcare system can effectively provide the care that each sick person will need.
With love and prayers for health,
Rabbi Stephanie Kolin
Union Temple Board of Trustees
How Can I Be Part of Virtual Shabbat at 6:30pm?
As we go virtual for Shabbat services for the time being, while we will be physically distant, our highest priority is to be spiritually connected and close.
Here is how you can join us and what you can expect!
We know this is very hard; hugging and hand shaking and looking into one another’s eyes are part of who we are and are deeply embedded in what it means to be a Jewish community. To keep each other safe, though, we will do what we have to do. We will hold each other up, mitigate our sense of isolation and anxiety, and bring joy to one another.
May this Shabbat offer you calm, hopefulness, and the comfort that our love for humanity will guide our steps in these days.
With blessings for health,
Rabbi Stephanie Kolin
To pay Membership Dues click here. You now have the ability to pay your dues in installments. We offer the options of a one-time, quarterly or monthly payment. See the “Choose Installment Frequency” box before you click the “Pay Now” button.
To pay Religious School tuition, and other types of payments, click here. To make a donation to a Union Temple special purpose fund, click here. If you wish to make recurring payments to Union Temple, be sure to activate that feature on your PayPal account.
During Shabbat services we recite the names of family members and friends of our congregants who are ill and sing the Mi Shebeirach (a prayer for healing). Add the name of a loved one to our list by writing to Rabbi Stephanie Kolin. We begin a new list at the start of every month so please resubmit the name if you would like prayers to continue. When you come to services you may choose to recite a name yourself and participate in the healing prayer.
Mi Shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu,
Avraham, Yitzchak v’Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah,
Rachel v’Lei-ah, hu y’vareich et hacholim
[names]. HaKadosh Baruch Hu yimalei
rachamim aleihem, l’hachalimam ul’rapotam
ul’hachazikam, v’yishlach lahem m’heirah
r’fuah, r’fuah shleimah min hashamayim,
r’fuat hanefesh ur’fuat haguf, hashta
baagala uviz’man kariv. V’nomar: Amen.
May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless and heal those who are ill [names]. May the Blessed Holy One be filled with compassion for their health to be restored and their strength to be revived. May God swiftly send them a complete renewal of body and spirit, and let us say, Amen.
All Shabbat Evening services will begin at 6:30PM including those on Fourth Friday. Please check the Shabbat page to learn about the detailed schedule for each of our four distinct Friday night services, about Saturday morning services, and about our Shabbat programs for children. The weekly Shabbat service schedule can be found on the homepage and in our calendar.
Dedicate one or more sets of our beautiful and inspiring new High Holy Day Machzor of the Reform Movement, Mishkan HaNefesh, in honor or in memory of someone you love or make a gift to Union Temple in your own name. This new prayerbook is the result of years of effort to create a more inclusive prayer experience and includes: Fully transliterated liturgy; Expanded options for Torah readings; Study texts that provide background and context; Contemporary poetry and alternative readings; Rich commentary drawing from Jewish tradition; New translations; Original woodblock art.
A bookplate with your dedication will be placed in each of the books and we will notify the honoree or family members of your gift. The cost is $65 for a standard set; large-print sets are $100. Just send a check to the UT office with the name of the honoree as you would like it to appear on the bookplates.