Dear Temple Emanuel of Tempe members,
We enthusiastically invite all of you to join us for our annual meeting/gathering of community on April 30; (please see the attached invitation). Staying connected with you means so much to us. The following is an update on all that we are committed to providing during this time of physical distancing due to the COVID-19 virus. Note we did not write “social distancing,” as we are dedicated to keeping you connected socially, emotionally, and spiritually to TEOT and your Jewish community.
Here is some of what we have offered and plan to offer:
- Religious school has continued a robust program on various platforms, including Zoom, YouTube, Google hangouts and even some physical packets prepared for pick up. We have extended the religious school year by one week to make up for lost days, and truly appreciate all of our teachers for their extraordinary efforts. Temple members are invited to join the Sunday T’filah program with Religious School as well. All teachers are being paid for their full school year contracts.
- Temple staff are working at full force, remotely for the most part, and remain accessible to congregants for the spectrum of what we provide during normal times, including pastoral care.
- All staff, including our custodians, are being paid during the time we are not in the building – we value and support our employees.
- Private b’nei mitzvah tutoring and family sessions are being conducted virtually.
- Services have continued uninterrupted as Friday Shabbat videos, Saturday morning Zoom services and torah study. We offered a Zoom Seder, attended by well over 100 members, and continue to provide religious programming including Yom HaShoah . Those on Facebook will see prayers and other inspiration by Rabbi Dean on a daily basis.
- We have featured opportunities for connecting socially including: “Unwind, Whine and Wine” gatherings on Zoom, virtual chavurah meetings, and even a parking lot picnic for a chavurah. Lilith Salon, the Wine Club, and the Book club are meeting online, and soon we will offer a virtual nosh.
- Continued and comprehensive weekly communications with links to programs keep members updated on all opportunities to participate, and on resources for support.
- Opportunities to give and receive support include webinars by members who are psychologists, a coordinated effort to check in by phone with each temple family, and outreach to see who is in need of support.
- The “Meals for Healers” program gives us the opportunity to help healthcare workers, and contributions to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund and our Caring Community Fund help us provide assistance to our own members in need of financial support.
This crisis has affected each of us differently. Please continue to let us know how you are doing and what you might need. We sincerely hope you have been able to access our offerings. Please be in touch by email with any needs or questions. We remain a community, apart together. We wish you good health, and send our loving thoughts to each of you.
L’shalom, Rabbi Dean Shapiro, Cindy Weschrob, President, Gerri Chizeck, Managing Director