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Returning to Wholeness

PRAYER

This year’s worship experience brings us many ways to connect with God: both intimate and majestic, familiar and innovative.

COMMUNITY

We are united even when we must stay apart.

PREPARE

Through study and meditation, we dedicate ourselves anew to the call of the season and the work of self-improvement.

REPAIR

Help to heal the world through opportunities for learning and giving.

Book of Memory

The Book of Memory is shared at our Yom Kippur Yizkor service and is among our most treasured congregational traditions. In it we inscribe the names of our loved ones, and it serves as an acknowledgement that those who came before us, taught us, loved us and inspired us, and have not been forgotten. 

This year, we know that our congregation and the world around us are dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will mean adapting our traditions. This year, we will mail all congregants a copy of the Book of Memory in advance of Yom Kippur, in order to preserve this cherished traditions despite the upheaval and discontinuity that the pandemic has brought. Additional copies will be available at the synagogue following the High Holy Days. We suggest a minimum of $15 per name.

Due to our foreshortened mailing printing deadlines, all information and donations must be received by the office by Wednesday, July 29. Information received after the deadline will be printed in the Bulletin. We regret that we cannot take Book of Memory information over the phone.

Message to the Congregation

Dear Friends,

Our lives today look so very different than they did just a few months ago. The international upheaval of COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on our way of life: our health and well-being, our jobs and schools, and so much more.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our congregation’s leadership has worked tirelessly to ensure that our temple family would be cared for and looked after. We have moved quickly and nimbly to continue the education of our children, the delivery of Shabbat and holiday services, and pastoral care for our members’ needs. Throughout this time, we have engaged regularly – sometimes daily – with healthcare experts to inform and guide our decisions about worship and programming in order to serve our highest priority: the health and safety of our sacred community. 

For that reason, and in light of the public health forecasts for the near future, our Board of Trustees has made the exceptionally difficult determination that we will be unable to safely welcome worshipers into the temple for the High Holy Days this year. This decision was made in keeping with the counsel of medical experts and the recommendation of our clergy and lay leaders alike; but nevertheless: we are heartbroken to share this news with you.

We know how difficult it is to conceive of the High Holy Days in this new way, but our clergy and staff teams are committed to producing meaningful liturgical, musical, and intellectual content – some new, and some reassuringly familiar – that will comfort and inspire you.

The public health crisis of COVID-19 has taken so much from us already, and we share in your sadness that we will be unable to experience the High Holy Days as we have in years past.  Nonetheless, we know that the season of repentance and renewal will still do its holy work: returning us to wholeness and hope, to our loved ones and to God.

In the weeks ahead, our staff, lay, and clergy teams will all be hard at work to create these High Holy Day observances, which will be unlike any we have experienced in the past. We are committed to sharing more information with you in August about what to expect from our service and program offerings, and we thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as these plans come together.

In the meantime, please know that we remain committed and available to you, and we will be happy to receive any of your input, questions, or concerns about the High Holy Days at the temple this year. You can write us directly at HHD20@emanuelhouston.org to share your thoughts.

With our most heartfelt prayers of hope and unity,

Oren J. Hayon, Senior Rabbi
Jeri Amundsen, President

Mon, August 10 2020 20 Av 5780