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Special Programs

Temple Emeth offers a number of special programs throughout the year, including lectures, arts and film. Check this space throughout the year for more details. 

Exploring the Poems in Mishkan HaNefesh
Wednesdays, September 13 and 20, 2023, noon to 1:00 p.m.

Poetry finds the words that are deep inside of us, as does prayer. The poems in Mishkan HaNefesh, our High Holy Day machzor (prayer book) connect the inner life of prayer with our spiritual journey as Jews. Temple Emeth member Sara Halman, an experienced poetry discussion leader, will lead a two-part Special Lunch and Learn presentation of poetry appearing in Mishkan HaNefesh. She will share why these poems were chosen and for which complimentary prayers. This course will familiarize the poems that are presented, including those by W.S. Merwin, Dereck Walcott, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Edna St Vincet Millay, and Stanley Kunitz. In the words of Derek Walcott: "Sit, feast on your life."

Growing Through Grief
A bereavement support group led by Cantor Ellen Tilem
Wednesdays, September 13, 20, 27, and October 4, 11, 18 at 5:00 p.m.
Thursdays, December 7, 21, 28, January 18, 25, February 1, 8, 15 at 5:00 p.m.

The purpose of this weekly bereavement support group is to find healing and wholeness through group discussion, shared expressions of pain, and a deeper understanding of gratitude for those loved and lost. The group will run in six-week units. Some may choose to continue through more than one unit. The group is for those who have had recent or acute mourning, loss and grief. Please contact Cantor Tilem before attending in order to assess your unique needs. A second unit will meet on Tuesday evenings.

Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg Memorial Lecture
The Blessing of Doubt—Jewish Agnosticism, with guest lecturer Rabbi Barry Schwartz
Friday, October 13, 2023, 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.

In an age of renewed culture wars, is there a way to bridge the gap?

Based on his provocative new book, Open Judaism: A Guide for Believers, Atheists and Agnostics, Rabbi Barry Schwartz makes the case for an inclusive middle ground. Embracing the blessing of doubt, he argues that a little agnosticism can go a long way toward a humble and pluralistic worldview. Open Judaism is about finding our place int he "Jewniverse" of modern Jewish thought—Jewish theology like you haven't heard it before!

We are pleased to welcome the clergy and members of Congregation Adas Emuno in Leonia to this service and lecture. A festive Shabbat dinner will be held at 6:00 p.m., preceding the service.

One Book, One Synagogue Shabbaton
February 24, 2024
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 2023-24 is Sadness is a White Bird, a novel by Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

The book tells the story of Yonatan, an Israeli soldier writing to his best friend, an Israeli Arab, from his jail cell. This 18-year-old must navigate conflicting loyalties — to his friends, to his grandfather who survived the Holocaust in Salonika, and to his military unit. It is a book that selection committee members described as “disturbing” and “upsetting,” but ultimately recommended unanimously to the congregation.

Our Shabbaton will be held on Saturday, February 24. While we hope you read this book, it is not necessary to enjoy the Shabbaton.

Shabbaton Schedule
9:00 a.m. The Poetry of Mahoud Darwish
Regarded as Palestine's national poet, Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) wrote poems that often spoke about the pain of exile. Sadness is a White Bird quotes from five of these poems, and the book title is also taken from Darwish's work. We will study and discuss a number of these poems as a way to understand the relationship between Arabs and Israel.

10:30 a.m. Shabbat Morning Service
Our morning Shabbat service in the Sanctuary will incorporate the themes of the book.

12:00 p.m. Festive Kiddush Lunch
Join us in the Social Hall for a Kiddush lunch. Lunch is free, but RSVPs are required by Tuesday, February 20.

12:45 p.m. Book Discussion with Author Moriel Rothman-Zecher
After lunch, we welcome Moriel Rothman-Zecher, who will reveal how much of his novel is autobiographical. In light of the current war between Israel and Hamas, he continues to challenge our assumptions, writing "My novel, like all of my work refuses any narrative of demonization of anyone, knowing, believing, that there are, in fact, no demons in this world, only aching, frightened, confused humans."

The Jews of Salonica
Tuesdays, February 27 and March 5, 2024, at 8:00 p.m.

On two consecutive Tuesdays—February 27 and March 5—Temple Emeth will hold a special Zoom program about the Jews of Salonica, as part of our One Book, One Synagogue programming on Sadness is a White Bird. The book has two key scenes that take place in Salonica, Greece. One is a flashback to when Jonathan’s grandfather, Saba Yehuda, was a boy. The other is when Jonathan makes his own pilgrimage to the city after graduating from high school.

Tuesday, February 27The Jews of Salonica with Dr. Devin E. Naar, Professor of Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington.
Tuesday, March 5—The Jewish Music of Salonica with Simone Salmon, Graduate Student in Ethnomusicology at the UCLA School of Music.

Rabbi Louis J. Sigel Scholar-in-Residence Weekend
Martini Judaism: For Those Who Want to Be Shaken and Stirred
With guest scholar Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin
Friday, March 29 to Sunday, March 31, 2024

Temple Emeth nurtures our commitment to Jewish scholarship by hosting the bi-annual Rabbi Louis J. Sigel Scholar-in-Residence Weekend. This program is a tribute to Rabbi Sigel’s lifelong commitment to scholarship. We honor his memory in this biannual event by inviting an international scholar to lead us in study and learning. Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin has chosen Martini Judaism: For Those Who Want to Be Shaken and Stirred as his theme for the weekend. (This is also the title of our scholar’s award-winning podcast).

About Our Scholar
Pulpit rabbi, author, and podcaster, Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin may be best known for his first book— Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah (first edition 1992). Since then, in numerous books, essays, and podcasts, Rabbi Salkin has offered his take on gender, politics, popular culture, and the intellectual defense of Israel. He maintains that “the role of Judaism is to shake us to disrupt our usual ways of seeing the world and to stir us to deeper connection, affiliation, and meaning." His talks are designed to make us think deeply and act passionately. Rabbi Salkin comes to us from West Palm Beach, Florida, where he has served as the Rabbi for Temple Israel. This is a return engagement for Rabbi Salkin; he was our Trachtenberg lecturer on The Gods Are Broken. His latest book, Tikkun Ha’am/Repairing Our People: Israel and the Crisis of Liberal Judaism, will be the basis for several of Rabbi Salkin’s presentations.

About the Weekend
Our weekend begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29 with Shabbat dinner. Rabbi Salkin will speak during Friday night services on Is There a Future for Liberal Judaism in America? We reconvene for Torah Study on Saturday, March 30, at 9:00 a.m., when Rabbi Salkin will lead a discussion of the week's portion, Parashat Tzav. Our weekend continues with Saturday morning services and a Shabbat lunch. At 1:00 p.m. Rabbi Salkin will present Fixing the Broken Hallelujah, an intimate encounter with the theology and poetry of Leonard Cohen through Christian, Jewish, and mystical imagery. On Sunday, March 31, at 10:00 a.m. we will enjoy a bagel brunch, and at 11:00 a.m., Rabbi Salkin will deliver his final lecture, Why Jews Don’t Cancel.

All lectures are free and open to the public. It is our hope that you will participate in the Rabbi Louis J. Sigel Scholar-in-Residence Weekend by coming to those lectures and whatever meals you choose. We welcome patrons, sponsors, and benefactors whose support assures the continued existence of this special program. 

Contact David Fox or Marion Wolf, Scholar-in-Residence Co-Chairs, at with any questions. 

A Concert Celebrating Leonard Bernstein
Sunday, March 3, 2024, 2:00 p.m.


The Gilda and Robert Boyd Glazer Fund presents its inaugural event: A Concert Celebrating Leonard Bernstein, featuring “Halil,” a nocturne for Flute, Percussion and Piano, and other Bernstein works. Performing are Temple Emeth member Carol Shansky on flute; Diana Hughes on piano; and Kimberly Burja, Darren Gage, and Jay O’Brien on percussion. The entire community is invited to this free concert; refreshments will be served.






A Gathering of Holocaust Torah Scrolls
Sunday, April 7, 2024, 12:15 to 6:00 p.m.
Temple Emeth is proud to be participating in a gathering of Holocaust Torah scrolls at Temple Emanu-el in New York City. We will begin with lunch and a close up look at our scroll and then travel to New York by school bus for the event, which may have over 70 scrolls present. This special event is a partnership of the Adult Education Committee and Emeth Teen Community.

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784