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All programs, services and meetings at the synagogue have been moved to electronic platforms, postponed or canceled through May 31. Additional updates about postponed programs will be shared as dates are finalized.


Zoom Update Required By End of May - Download the Update Today!
Several of our programming and gathering opportunities are taking place on Zoom. Zoom is instituting a mandatory update that is required by May 30. Individuals who have not updated will be unable to join Zoom after the end of the month. While some of our congregants may have had their Zoom automatically updated due to device settings, we are encouraging our community to learn more about the updates. 

Click here to learn more.

Click here to download the newest version.

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.



Thursday, May 28

6:00 p.m., Erev Shavuot including Confirmation, available on our video streaming page (select Proler Chapel) and Facebook

Friday, May 29

10:30 a.m., Shavuot Festival Service & Yizkor, 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, May 30

9:15 a.m., Gems of Torah, available online via Zoom and by phone (312.626.6799) 

  • Meeting ID: 806 817 588 
  • PW: 013765

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

  • Meeting ID: 898 4947 1204

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

  • Meeting ID: 677 359 695

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





  • Sisterhood’s “Words Change the World” feat. Barbara Pierce Bush, originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26
    **Rescheduled for Wednesday, August 19
  • Before I Die Weekend, originally scheduled for Friday, March 27 - Sunday, March 29
  • Kid Food with author Bettina Elias Siegel, originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 31
  • Artist-in-Residence Weekend with Ellen Allard, originally scheduled for Friday, April 3 - Sunday, April 5
    **Rescheduled for Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14
  • Sisterhood's Open Board Meeting, originally scheduled for Thursday, April 16
  • Becker Transportation Fair, originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 22
  • Fire Truck Park Gathering, originally scheduled for Sunday, April 26
  • The Classics: Houston Japanese Garden & Dinner, originally scheduled for Sunday, April 26 
  • Mental Health First Aid Training, originally scheduled for Sunday, April 26 & Tuesday, April 28
  • Dad & Me at Dynamo Game, originally scheduled for Sunday, May 5
  • Sisterhood's Closing Luncheon, originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 - to be rescheduled for June (date TBA)
  • Brotherhood Congregant of the Year, originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 13
  • Emanu El Young Professionals / YAD Shabbat Shalom Y’all, originally scheduled for Friday, May 15
  • My Generation Heads to the Lone Star Flight Museum, originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 19


  • Emanu Elders, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 7
  • Brotherhood's Real Men Make Chocolate Matzah, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 7
  • Second Night Seder, originally scheduled for Thursday, April 9
  • Becker Transportation Fair, originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 22
  • Sisterhood's Art Safari, originally scheduled for Thursday, April 23
  • Tot Shabbat, originally scheduled for Friday, May 1
  • Emanu Elders, originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 5
  • Gathering Place, originally scheduled for Monday, May 11
  • Mah Jongg Night, originally scheduled for Thursday, May 14
  • The Classics: Slide Into Summer Post-Shabbat Dinner, originally scheduled for Friday, May 15
    **Replaced with The Classics: Zoom Game Night



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

  • 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.

Stefani Carlson
Director of Congregational Learning


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, storytimes, and other 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. Please watch our website, our Facebook page and our YouTube channel every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to see what develops!



Helfman Religious School T’fillah will be live on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. and Sundays at 9:00 p.m. on Zoom at and on the Helfman Religious School Facebook page. 

On Wednesdays, we will be welcoming some special guests after T’fillah; on Sundays, our very own Helfman Religious School specialist teachers will be conducting online lessons.

Click here for T'fillah on Zoom
Click here for T'fillah on Facebook


  • Israel Studies Online Classes
    The Jewish National Fund is offering Israel studies online classes daily at noon (CST).
  • Hebrew Tutoring- Lisa Stone is available for one-on-one Hebrew tutoring via Zoom or phone. Please contact Lucy at if you would like to be connected with Lisa.
  • 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
  • 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) 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.


  • Weebly: I Left with Moses (all ages)
    This “Let’s Practice” page on I Left With Moses is an excellent way to learn more about the Passover Seder and story, as well as practice some of the most important blessings of the Seder, like the Four Questions. 
  • (all ages; dependent upon selection)
    This website allows you to browse through hundreds of different haggadot, download activities and skits, and create your own Haggadah. Appropriate for all ages depending upon activity/Haggadah selected.
  • Behrman House (all ages)
    For a limited time, Behrman House, publisher of our 5th-6th grade Hebrew curriculum, has made the module on the Four Questions available for free for a limited time.
  • Sefaria (all ages)
    Sefaria is a fantastic resource for texts, haggadot, and other preparation elements for your seder.
  • URJ (all ages)
    This website contains digital content from the Union of Reform Judaism for this year’s Seder.
Sun, May 31 2020 8 Sivan 5780