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Registration is Open for Religious School 2020-21

“The more Torah, the more life” – Pirkei Avot 2:7

Union Temple Religious School 2020-21/5781: REGISTRATION UPDATE

Over the past several months the Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes and challenges to our lives. Something that remains unchanging is our commitment to providing an enriching and supportive communal Jewish learning environment for all, whether our sessions are conducted in-person or remotely. At this time, we are planning for remote instruction through the end of 2020. Responding to the many changes of the last year, the Religious School curriculum will address children’s social-emotional and spiritual needs through Jewish lenses and incorporate trauma-informed pedagogy. We have chosen curriculums specially designed for remote learning, incorporating live virtual gathering via Zoom as well as self-paced learning with intentional faculty support, that will also transfer easily to the classroom when we are able to resume in-person gathering. We hope to be able to supplement our remote learning experiences with safe, socially distanced in-person outdoor programming during the High Holy Days and into the fall. The coming year will undoubtedly require continued flexibility and adaptations as time progresses and we will make every effort to communicate necessary changes to scheduled programs and events in a timely manner.

Religious School Registration for 2020-21/5781 is now open. Click HERE to register. A $100 deposit plus payment of fees will be collected with registration. Once you have registered your child(ren), you will receive a link to complete a more detailed student and family profile.

For further information visit HERE or questions email educator@uniontemple.org.

Ways to Help Keep Calm During the Pandemic by Dr. Rabbi Michele B. Medwin, D.Mi. LMHC

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.

  1. Moving: Moving around can really help calm you down. As the weather is getting warmer, and you are able, consider going outside for a walk. You can do this alone and not be near anybody. Outside air can be refreshing. More than something to do, physically moving releases endorphins which naturally help to calm down anxiety and lift depression. You can also do some exercising indoors. There are many different apps or You Tube videos you can exercise or do Yoga or stretching with. Rather than waiting until anxiety is high, schedule these things in your day. Actually write it in your calendar. “Every day at ___ a.m. and ___ p.m. I will walk/exercise/do yoga.”
  2. Slow Deep Breathing: This helps to calm down the physical changes caused by anxiety and stress. Take a slow deep breath in and then a slow deep breath out. To time it right, count to four each time: breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts.
  3. Use a mantra: Pick your favorite blessing, or line of a prayer or psalm. Repeat it over and over. You can do this during your deep breathing.
  4. Muscle Relaxation: This also helps calm down the physical changes caused by anxiety and stress. Do the slow deep breathing during this exercise. Sit or lay down in a comfortable place. Starting at your toes, consciously relax the muscles in your toes, then your ankles, then your calves… slowly, mentally work your way up your body focusing especially on your shoulders, neck and face.
  5. Imagery: Think of a peaceful place you enjoy being at, either real or imaginary. Picture yourself there. Using your five senses, describe what you see, what you feel, what you smell, what you hear, what you taste. (i.e. being at the beach – I see the waves, the sand, the sky. I feel the warmth of the sun on my face and a light breeze. I smell the salt water. I hear the sound of the waves and the cry of the seagulls. I can taste the ice cream cone I just bought. Stay in that place for a while.)
  6. Put Your Thoughts on Trial: What you think affects how you feel. Are you imagining the worst? Are you worrying about the future and imagining things that you really don’t know will happen? Question your thoughts. How true are they? How accurate are they? Is there a different, more realistic way to look at this? Can you find the positive in the negative and focus on more positive thoughts?

UT Covid-19 Information: Synagogue Closure & Livestreaming

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. 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:

  • Friday night Shabbat services will be conducted virtually, using Zoom. Click the service  link on the homepage and register to participate and use this virtual prayer book, Mishkan Tefilah, to follow along.
  • Saturday morning Shabbat services will be postponed until we re-open except for Bar/Bat Mitzvah services.
  • Our Religious School is open. Click here for more information
  • Saturdays enjoy Shabbat and Shmooze. 1:30PM on our Zoom Channel. Bring your lunch and interact with one another. Talk, eat, and learn with members of our UT community.

Spiritual Connecting:

  • We will be using the virtual platform of Zoom for our Shabbat services. We can connect you to a helpful volunteer who will assist you in using Zoom and can show you how to find us! Let us know you need help by emailing: UTFuture@uniontemple.org. We can even help you get online by tonight!
  • If you are over 65 or are particularly at risk in this moment, we want to check in with you! You can expect to hear from a Union Temple member to see how you are doing and how we can support you. If you can make a call to one of our Union Temple family members, please let Rabbi Kolin know at rabbi.kolin@uniontemple.org.
  • These are difficult times. The Institute for Jewish Spirituality has made some beautiful meditative tools free and available to everyone who is seeking a sense of peace, wholeness, and connectedness.
  • Keep an eye on our website and your inbox for opportunities for distance learning and connecting in the weeks ahead.

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



Make Payments Online

Make payments online via PayPal!

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.

Add a Name to the Mi Shebeirach list

Mi Shebeirach - Prayer for Healing Image: ReformJudaism.org

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 Friday Night Services at 6:30PM

Clock showing 6:30PM

 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.

Donate High Holy Day Prayerbooks

Mishkan Hanefesh. Union Temples High Holy Day Prayerbooks.

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.