Temple Etz Chaim offers four on-going family education programs. Be sure to check our calendar for dates and other educational programming.
SELICHOT begins with a beautiful Havdalah Service on the Plaza led by Rabbi Spiegel and Hazzan Duek. Following a complimentary buffet dinner, we attend workshops that relate to and educate us about the upcoming High Holy Days. Following dessert, we join together in the Paskow Sanctuary to celebrate the first of the High Holy Days Services together. It is an inspiring evening, a highlight of our educational and religious programming.
HAVDALLAH AND HOT DOGS was conceived in 1997 as a special evening for families. Over 430 people, ranging in age from infants to grandparents, attended. This first time event offered a new experience for Temple families. Everyone enjoyed participating in a Havdallah service conducted in the sanctuary. Afterwards, a hot dog dinner was served. Families then had the opportunity to attend different workshops, including making Havdallah candles, Havdallah trays, and spice boxes. It was so successful that it has become an annual event. Each year, although the name “Havdallah and Hot Dogs” remains the same, the theme changes. Past year themes have included Passover, Tu B’Shevat, Shabbat, Purim, Israel, and Shalom. Over the past several years, at least one project has been a community-wide one: as a Temple family, we have created a mural of Jerusalem which hangs in the Ner Tamid Education Center, a chupa made of individual squares decorated by Temple families and used at Religious School Family Services, and a Shalom mosaic that will also hang in the Ner Tamid Education Center. Experiences such as “Havdallah and Hot Dogs” bring new meaning to the word ruach (spirit) in our Temple and remain in the hearts and minds of those in attendance.
B'NAI MITZVAH FAMILY EDUCATION brings students and parents together to increase their knowledge and awareness of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience. The program consists of three sessions during which students and parents attend workshops and/or services taught by teachers and clergy. Workshop topics include the role of G-d in our lives, the rhythm of the Jewish life cycle, the origins of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony, the symbolic meaning of ritual objects, the power and wisdom of the Torah, the meaning and essence of prayers in the Shabbat morning service, the behavioral responsibility of a young Jewish adult entering the Jewish community, and how to make your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah special and meaningful. Developed by the Director of Religious School Education in response to a recommendation from Bureau of Jewish Education accrediting team, the program has been well received by B’nai Mitzvah families and provides a comfortable connection between the home and synagogue.
DINNER SEMINARS continue to inspire our students, parents and congregants. Since 1995 as part of the Confirmation Program, guest speakers have been featured at dinner seminars to bring current issues to the attention of students, their parents and members of the congregation. Seminars have included such topics as Bioethics, Judaism and the media, Beit T’shuvah, Jews for Judaism, Stand with Us, and SOVA.