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Special Programs

Temple Emeth offers a number of special programs throughout the year, including lectures, arts and film. In 2022-23, we will have a series of events to celebrate our 75th anniversary. Check this space throughout the year for more details. 

Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg Memorial Lecture
Friday, October 14, 2022, 8:00 p.m.

Each fall, we offer a scholarly lecture in memory of Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg, who served as the Rabbi of Temple Emeth from 1953 until his death in 1959 at age 55. In addition to his leadership of our congregation, he is remembered for authoring three books: Jewish Magic and Superstition
The Devil and the Jews; and Consider the Years: The Story of the Jewish Community of Easton (PA), 1752–1942. 

This year's Trachtenberg Lecture will be presented by Dr. Lisa Moses Leff, Professor of History, American University and Director, Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She will speak on: The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust.

Dr. Leff will tell the story of Zosa Szajkowski, a Polish-born Jewish historian who took tens of thousands of Jewish documents from France in the 1940s and 50s and moved them, illicitly, to New York, where he eventually sold them to Jewish research libraries, where they remain today. Was this a heroic act of salvage or simply theft? To answer this question, Dr. Leff explores the shifting contours of Jewish nationalist ideas in the mid-twentieth century,and grapples with the vexing problem of where the material remnants of the Jewish past are best kept.

This year’s Trachtenberg Lecture is part of Temple Emeth’s 75th Anniversary Celebration. It is also one of the programs in our “One Book, One Synagogue” series, highlighting the themes of The Book of Lost Names, by Kristen Harmel.

Dr. Leff is specialist in the history of Jews in 19th and 20th century France. She is author of Sacred Bonds of Solidarity: The Rise of Jewish Internationalism in 19th Century France (Stanford University Press, 2006), as well as the book upon which the Trachtenberg Lecture is based: The Archive Thief (Oxford University Press, 2015).  The Archive Thief was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award and the winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.   

A festive Shabbat dinner will precede the service at 6:00 pm. For more information, contact Temple member Elaine Pollack at

One Book, One Synagogue Shabbaton
Saturday, January 7, 2023
Our One Book, One Synagogue program encourages Temple Emeth members to read a selected book and offers programming throughout the year on the themes of the book. The selection for 2022-23 is The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel. This historical fiction gives us a glimpse of the risks that members of the resistance—Jewish and non-Jewish—took to fight the Nazis and save Jewish lives in France. It focuses on Eva, a woman in her 20s who becomes an expert forger after her father is arrested. Not only does she give Jewish children new hope with falsified documents, she takes the extra step of recording their original names in code so that they are not lost forever. 

Join us at our One Book, One Synagogue Shabbaton on Saturday, January 7 to explore the themes of The Book of Lost Names. While we hope you read this excellent book, it is not necessary to enjoy the Shabbaton.

At 9:00 am in the Youth Lounge and on Zoom, Rabbi Sirbu will lead a study session. Several Biblical characters have multiple names or are ascribed additional names in Rabbinic literature. According to the Midrash, for example, in his infancy, Moses was given ten names, each to reflect an aspect of his significance or his future. Together we will study these texts to understand the significance of these multiple names.

Shabbat Morning Services at 10:30 am in the Sanctuary will incorporate the themes of our book. Rabbi Sirbu will read from Parashat Vayechi, the last portion of Genesis, which refers to the third patriarch alternately as Jacob and Israel. Marc Chelemer will serve as cantorial service for this service, which will also be shown on livestream.

Join us in the Social Hall at noon for a Kiddush lunch, including French pastries in honor of the book’s setting in France. Lunch is free, but RSVP’s are required by Tuesday, January 3 to

Following lunch, at 12:45 pm, we will view Valiant Hearts, a 2021 movie directed by Mona Achache about six children who take refuge in a French castle that is also shielding valuable works of art during the war. For more about the movie, click here. 




Voices Lost: Music of Dutch Composers
Suppressed in the Holocaust

Sunday, April 23, 2023, 2:00 p.m.

Voices Lost: Music of Dutch Composers Suppressed in the Holocaust is a concert-lecture that looks at music written by Dutch composers in the years just before the occupation of Amsterdam by the Nazis. Those who were not sent to camps went into hiding and still composed or sponsored concert evenings to support music making despite the Nazis ban. In some cases, the music performed on this program was one of the last by that composer.

Dutch composers are in general not well known in history, nor is the music being written at that time familiar to many. This concert exposes to the listener the kinds of approaches that Dutch composers were using in writing and gives us a chance to hear some wonderful music that otherwise would have remained unfamiliar to us.

The format of this concert is that of a lecture-recital. Temple Emeth member Carol Shansky will give background on each of the composers, their lives, and experiences in addition to performing selections of their music. Composers included are: Rosy Wertheim; Henriette Bosmans; Dick Kattenburg; and Leo Smit. Carol is joined by pianist Amber Liao, with whom she has performed this program at the Holocaust Center at Kean University, as well as at several academic conferences.

Sun, June 4 2023 15 Sivan 5783