"To foster and promote the love, understanding, and practice of Reform Judaism"

Yom Sheini, 4 Av 5778



Shavuot occurs seven weeks after Passover and often times coincides with our Confirmation ceremony in May or June.  It is a lovely festival which acknowledges the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and signifies a love of lifelong learning, education and the principles of the Torah.



Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks” and refers to the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.  Like many other Jewish holidays, it began as an ancient agricultural festival acknowledging the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Hebrews brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and actively choosing to participate in Jewish life.




Our long-standing tradition is to celebrate at the Temple with a Congregational Seder on the first night of Passover.  Many of our families are far from home and relatives, and are invited to attend this special Seder meal.  It is always filled with traditions and rituals, symbolic foods and music as they "re-tell" the story of the Exodus from Egypt with their Temple family.  It is one of the most heavily attended events at Temple Emanuel.  Each year we invite unaffiliated Jews and the general public to join us in this lovely, meaningful tradition.   

Contact our Temple Office for more information about making reservations, dinner choices and the cost for attending.   



Passover, known as Pesach in Hebrew, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago.  

The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the Seder (meaning "order") and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread).  On the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews gather with family and friends in the evening to read from a book called the hagaddah, meaning, "telling," which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings and songs for the Passover Seder.  Today the holiday is a celebration of freedom and family.




Simchat Torah, Hebrew for "rejoicing in the Law," celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah.

Simchat Torah is a joyous festival, in which we affirm our view of the Torah as a tree of life which demonstrates a living example of never-ending, lifelong study.  In some synagogues Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue seven times.  During the Torah service, the concluding section of Deuteronomy is read, and immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, or B'reishit is read.


 This is also a happy time at Temple Emanuel as we Consecrate all of our new students joining our Hebrew and Religious Schools for the first time. 

                       Purim 2013

We love NOISE!  What better way is there to make lots of noise when celebrating the holiday of Purim!   And costumes!  We love to dress up AND have a great time!  It's a surprise every year to see what the Rabbi will be wearing next.  This past year we brought back a long-standing tradition among many congregations, the Purim Shpiel.  A lot of fun was had by all as the congregation rocked to "Megillah Around the Clock" and enjoyed a pizza and salad dinner.  

Plan to join us this coming year to see what's planned next!    See below for more information about this fascinating holiday!



Purim is celebrated with a public reading of the Scroll of Esther (M’gillat Esther), which tells the story of the holiday. Under the rule of King Ahashverosh, Haman, the king's prime minister, plots to exterminate all of the Jews of Persia. His plan is foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai, who ultimately save the Jews of Persia from destruction. The reading of the megillah typically is a rowdy affair, punctuated by booing and noise-making when Haman's name is read aloud.

Purim is an unusual holiday in many respects. First, Esther is the only biblical book in which God is not mentioned. Second, Purim, like Hanukkah, traditionally is viewed as a minor festival, but elevated to a major holiday as a result of the Jewish historical experience. Over the centuries, Haman became the embodiment of every anti-Semite in every land where Jews were oppressed. The significance of Purim lies not so much in how it began, but in what it has become: a thankful and joyous affirmation of Jewish survival against all odds.

Jewish holidays are a special and meaningful time at Temple Emanuel.  They are a time to gather and celebrate with our individual and Temple families, especially for those congregants who have no immediate family in our community.   Every year we hear Jews say either, "The holidays are early" or "The holidays are late."  The reality is that the Jewish holidays are always right on time.  They occur on the same date every year.  On the Jewish calendar that is.

The Jewish calendar is based on the moon (lunar) unlike the Gregorian (civil) calendar which is based on the sun (solar).   There are periodic adjustments made every few years to make up for the 11 days (or so) lost due to the differences between the solar and lunar calendars. This way the holidays fall within the same seasons every year. All Jewish holidays begin on the eve or at sunset the night before the day the holiday begins, and close at sunset when the holiday ends.


Click on Jewish Holidays for a list of the main holidays throughout the year.