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All programs, services and meetings at the synagogue have been moved to electronic platforms, postponed or canceled until further notice. Additional updates about postponed programs will be shared as dates are finalized.


PLEASE NOTE: Our Facebook page and videos posted are accessible to the public, including those who are not Facebook members. For help with Zoom, click here.
 

SHABBAT


SHABBAT WORSHIP & LEARNING

Friday, July 3

11:00 a.m., Becker Shabbat, available on our video streaming page (select Proler Chapel) and Facebook

6:00 p.m., Kabbalat Shabbat, available on our video streaming page (select Proler Chapel) and Facebook


 

Saturday, July 4

9:15 a.m., Mindfulness Meditation, available online via Zoom and by phone (346.248.7799)

  • Meeting ID: 823 7071 8269
  • Password: 325312


10:30 a.m., Shabbat Morning Experience, available on our video streaming page (select Proler Chapel) and Facebook

7:00 p.m., 4th of July Celebration, available on Zoom - pre-registration required - CLICK HERE to register


***NOTE: Gems of Torah and Golden Calf will not take place this week due to the July 4th holiday. Both classes will resume next week.  


 


PROGRAMMING

 

POSTPONED PROGRAMMING

  • Sisterhood’s “Words Change the World” feat. Barbara Pierce Bush, originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26
    **Rescheduled for Wednesday, August 19
  • Night at the Ballpark, originally scheduled for Tuesday, September 1



CANCELED PROGRAMMING

  • Community Shabbat Dinner, originally scheduled for Friday, June 19
 
 
LIFECYCLE

Our clergy continues to officiate at time-sensitive lifecycle events, such as brit milah and graveside funeral services. In adherence to health guidelines, these ceremonies will be limited to immediate family members only. We thank you for your understanding and your cooperation in preserving our community's well-being.

Congregational Messages

Monday, March 16 (11:30 a.m.)

Dear Emanu El families:

It goes without saying that we are facing a very difficult time in our community. All of us have been watching the progression of COVID-19 across our country and around the world with a combination of uncertainty and anxiety. During these difficult days, we rely on the benefits of medical science and the wisdom of our spiritual tradition to stay safe and strong.

Here at Emanu El, our leadership has continually gathered information to assist us in making decisions in the best interest of our community. We are prioritizing the advice of medical professionals and elected officials as we do our utmost to support the containment and mitigation of the pandemic. At the same time, we continue to offer spiritual support and pastoral care to our large and diverse congregational community.

For that reason, in the name of both health and holiness, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close Emanu El’s doors to all programs, services and meetings. Temple staff will be pared down to a small group of essential personnel who will remain on the premises on a rotating schedule in order to keep the building open and our business offices functioning. Everything else will be moved to electronic platforms, postponed, or cancelled entirely. These restrictions will remain in place at least through Sunday, March 29th – though there is a very real possibility that the closure will be extended for some days or weeks after that date.

We look forward to continuing to provide worship and study opportunities online, and will be providing details very soon about how you can participate in these opportunities electronically. We especially hope you will set aside some time to join us for this coming Shabbat’s online services, and, as always, our clergy remains available for counseling and support via telephone or videoconference.

Additionally, our clergy team will be working individually with families to reschedule life-cycle events and celebrations that have been planned for the upcoming weeks. Families whose children are enrolled in our Helfman religious school will be hearing from our educational staff in separate communications about the plans and adjustments we are making to continue upholding our commitment to Jewish education, even under these unprecedented circumstances.

Thank you for your understanding and for complying with these new policies, though they are difficult and painful for us all. During the period of our closure, our temple’s leadership will continue to work closely with governmental agencies and our community partners to determine how best to keep our community safe in the coming weeks and months, and we look forward to sharing these updates with you as appropriate. Though our facility is closed for the time being, our hearts remain open – and we eagerly anticipate the day when we can safely and confidently reopen, so that we can continue our holy work in person together.

Rabbi Oren J. Hayon, Senior Rabbi
Rodney Roth, President
David Lamden, Executive Director
 


Friday, March 13 (10:15 a.m.)

Dear Congregation Emanu El families,

In a sacred community like ours, our collective joys are heightened, and our struggles are softened, because we share them with each other. Our congregation’s clergy and staff recognize that this is a very anxious time for many, and we are here to support you. If this is an especially difficult time of stress and worry, please remember that the clergy team remains available for counsel and conversation.

Our leadership team continues to monitor the circumstances and recommendations regarding the COVID-19 virus, and we are writing to share with you our most up-to-date plans and precautions for Emanu El’s services and programs. We apologize for the length of this message, but hope that you will take the time to read about these adjustments. As this remains an evolving situation, we will remain in touch with you by e-mail, and by updating our website and Facebook pages regularly. As always, we will strive to respond to difficult circumstances by looking after each other and by remaining connected in every way possible.


Shabbat Worship
Our Shabbat worship on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. will be held in the Barish Sanctuary. We ask that all congregants who are feeling ill, or those who are in the higher-risk categories identified by the City of Houston [CoH] and Centers for Disease Control [CDC], opt not to join us in person, but instead participate in the service via livestream or Facebook

These higher-risk categories include:

  • Those over 60 years of age
  • Those with underlying health conditions, including (but not limited to) heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • Those with weakened immune systems
  • Those who are pregnant

Our Saturday morning worship from the Barish Sanctuary, including this week’s Bar Mitzvah service, will be streamed on our website.

In lieu of our Shabbat morning service in the Proler Chapel, we will be offering a brief service of prayer and reflection, accessible on our Facebook page at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Consistent with the guidance we have received from the CoH and CDC, we ask that all service attendees practice social distancing while here at Emanu El, including refraining from hand-shaking or other physical contact and sitting at some distance from others. As always, please consult with your physician for guidance as needed.


Shabbat Learning
This weekend, Shabbat Meditation, Golden Calf, Bereavement and Gems of Torah classes will not be meeting at temple. Instead, Stefani Carlson, our Director of Congregational Learning, will be offering a Torah study session by Zoom on Saturday at 9:15 am.


Programs & Events Canceled or Postponed

  • Sisterhood’s “Words Change the World” program with Barbara Pierce Bush on Thursday, March 26 has been postponed. We hope to share the new date with you very soon.
  • My Generation's Shabbat Dinner on Friday, March 20 has been postponed.
  • Emanu Elders will not be meeting on Tuesday, April 7.


At this point, all other services, classes, and events will continue as scheduled. We will continue to share information about changes to our worship and programming schedule as they solidify.

Jewish tradition teaches that the value of pikuach nefesh, preserving human life, takes precedence over all other priorities. I feel privileged to share the sacred responsibility of protecting the members of our congregation, and am grateful for your adherence to the guidelines and recommendations of medical authorities and elected officials as we strive to preserve the wellbeing of our community.

With many thanks for your support and understanding as we navigate this unfamiliar terrain together, and with gratitude for your partnership as we move forward together,

Rabbi Oren J. Hayon
Senior Rabbi

Becker School

BECKER BYTES

Welcome to Becker Bytes, Becker's weekly virtual summer camp! Our teachers have been working hard to create fun and educational content for you and your family to enjoy during the summer at times that are convenient for your family. Below is a description of each video and the supplies needed to complete the project. Each week we will develop new content with teachers, featuring storytelling, gardening, science projects, cooking, and much more!

CLICK HERE to visit Becker Bytes

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
  • Arts Alive! TV 
    Anyone can go directly to our website and click the button on the middle of the page and see our videos. We have selected “kid content” for from our YouTube channel for this page. Kid Content = videos that are specifically designed to watch with your kids and play along!

  • Arts Alive! Facebook & Instagram
    These two social sites will carry posts with our videos from Arts Alive! TV and YouTube. These sites are widely used by so many people and we do our best to provide valuable videos as well as other helpful, joyful and meaningful content.

  • YouTube 
    We have had a YouTube channel for many years. It has kid content, staff interviews, teachers tips and much more. This is a great place for kids, teachers and parents to explore. There is a little something for everyone here!
  • Spotify 
    We have compiled our thematic playlists for all to enjoy! This is still a work in progress as we have over 50 themes! This is one of our most exciting offerings! For YEARS, teachers and parents have been asking us for our playlists and now, with apps like Spotify, we can finally give it to them!
  • CNN: Telling your kids about Coronavirus
  • PBS: How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus

 

Helfman Religious School

Dear Helfman Religious School Families,

As you heard from Rabbi Hayon, the leadership of Congregation Emanu El has been working hard to make the decisions necessary to help keep our community safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. It feels particularly difficult to be taking measures to separate ourselves physically at just the time when we most need each other spiritually and emotionally, and so we are working on ways to maintain our ties of community in new and creative ways. While we are still officially on spring break, I wanted to take a moment to update you on our plans for the coming weeks.

As previously announced, Congregation Emanu El will remain closed through at least Sunday, March 29. Our religious school programming for the following week, a planned artist-in-residence weekend with Ellen Allard, has also been canceled. With HISD and other local school districts announcing that they will be closed through April 10, we have decided that, in the interest of the health and safety of our students and faculty, Helfman Religious School will remain closed through Passover break. We hope to be able to reopen following the holiday, on Sunday, April 19, and will share more information as it becomes available.

I want to assure you that just because we can’t be together in person for awhile does not mean that our Jewish learning and community-building together will stop. There will be many opportunities in the coming days for our Helfman Religious School family to gather together virtually, on multiple platforms. We are pleased to announce the launch of "Helfman@Home," a series of videos and other multi-media content created by our Helfman Religious School faculty, staff and clergy. We will be recording and/or streaming services, story times, and other opportunities to see familiar faces, hear familiar words and songs, try some fun Jewish activities, practice Hebrew, and find some comfort together in our ritual and liturgy. Please watch our Facebook page, our YouTube channel and our website to see what develops! Our first video, a story time with Ms. Lucy, is available on all three platforms now!

Our B’nei Mitzvah preparation program will be moving to Zoom beginning Tuesday, March 24 — current families will get a separate email with more details. There are also many opportunities for independent study. For example, our Hebrew textbook publisher, Behrman House, has online resources available, to which we will help you get connected. We will be sending out more detailed information in grade-level messages over the coming days.

Lastly, as we are all looking ahead to a time when we are all together and healthy, our early bird rates for 2020-21 enrollment will be extended until further notice. If you have not yet enrolled your children for next year, please take advantage of the $75 per student discount available through your member portal.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or if you or your family are in need of support, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Warmly,
Stefani Carlson
Director of Congregational Learning



Helfman@Home

We are pleased to present a series of videos and other multi-media content created by our Helfman Religious School faculty, staff and clergy. These recordings offer opportunities to see familiar faces, hear familiar words and songs, try some fun Jewish activities, practice Hebrew, and find comfort together in our ritual and liturgy. Find these videos by visiting our Facebook page and our YouTube channel!

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
  • Israel Studies Online Classes
    The Jewish National Fund is offering Israel studies online classes daily at noon (CST).
  • Beit Hatfutsot (all ages)
    The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv (a curriculum provider for our Confirmation class) has collected a variety of meaningful, easy activities to do and learn together while strengthening family connections. 
  • Ji Tap (all ages)
  • BimBam (all ages; includes parenting resources)
  • Prayer Tech (grades 5-6)
    Though not our usual curriculum (and may seem unfamiliar to some), this is a great resource from the publisher Torah Aura for improving prayer Hebrew. If you need assistance with setting up Prayer Tech, please contact Lucy at lucym@emanuelhouston.org.
  • National Museum of Jewish History (all ages)
    The National Museum of American Jewish History, provider of our 8th grade curriculum, provides free digital resources for all ages and backgrounds with virtual tours and collection explorations.
  • Let it Ripple (upper school)
    Letitripple.org provides some of the resources for our freshman study of Jewish character values. Visit the website for further information, including a film on the science of character.
  • ChaiFlicks (all ages depending upon selection)
    Enjoy Jewish-themed films and entertainment free for 30 days.
  • Jewish Learning Matters (all ages)
    Jewish Learning Matters from the Rosenfeld Community of Practice has a wonderful variety of different categories of learning topics and subtopics - from Jewish values, the Torah to Jewish holidays. The online resources they have available for the public include songs and music, puzzles, games, recipes, craft projects and videos! The resources here are great for all ages.
  • JTeach offers articles on a wide range of Jewish topics.
  • I'm Gonna Stand Up (5th-ish graders)
    This website explores the main ideas behind the evening Amidah, the "standing" prayer.  Each blessing includes a Gold and Silver challenge, background videos, the chance to earn badges and become part of the I'm Gonna Stand Up photo gallery.
  • Jewish Women's Archive (upper school)
    "Can We Talk?" is a great, humorous podcast resource.
  • Center for Israel Education
    This resource offers various resources about modern Israel and its history.

 

Sun, July 5 2020 13 Tammuz 5780