Welcome to Temple Emanu El. We are a reform congregation conveniently located to encompass the Jewish community in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. Our doors are open to you and your family. Please come join us for Shabbat services, for learning opportunities, for fun and spirituality. We are a family centered congregation and strive to provide opportunities for members of all ages and interests to be meaningfully engaged.
At Temple Emanu El, we believe that learning is life-long. We know that our children are our future, but we also know that our parents and grandparents may want to gain knowledge and insight as well. Our religious school is outstanding with a child-centered approach and an active, participatory learning environment that has been recognized nationally. Our students are active in youth group, activities, camp and family retreats. Our pre-school is a warm and nurturing environment for our little ones. And for the adult learner, we have much to offer. Whether you love to cook, have a passion for music, are an avid reader or enjoy Torah discussion, we have a spot for you.
We strive to be your Jewish home away from home. Come visit us and find out more.
Judy Uram, President
Past Passover, Where are you Going Now?
This year, the first Torah reading after Passover includes Leviticus 20:27: “A man or woman who has a ghost within them or a familiar spirit will certainly die… they are responsible for their own death.” Textually, this comes at the end of the Holiness Code’s (Leviticus chapters19 & 20) comprehensive list of capital crimes, including sorcery. Interpretively, The Raibal reads this verse as a spiritual advisement for The Omer – the period of counting seven weeks from Passover to Shavuot.
In the agrarian world of the Bible, Passover marked the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the grain harvest. As the grain came in, it was to be counted by the omer, a volumetric measure of about 3 2/3 liters or just under a gallon of barley. The tithe, a basic 10% flat-rate tax, was ‘withheld’ by setting one omer out of ten aside for God. The grain harvest took about seven weeks and ended just in time for Shavuot, The Feast of Weeks, when fruit started to ripen on the tree.
Classic rabbinic calculation associated this period with the time it took for the newly freed Hebrews, to progress from slavery to Mt. Sinai where, through Moses our Teacher, The Law was received. Law, in this case, is The Torah and the Tradition built upon it as the direction for a better life in this world and the guidebook for achieving an eternal presence in the universe. In this way, our rabbis teach the same lesson that we have talked about at TEE and that columnist David Brooks expressed in a recent NY Times op ed., namely that freedom is meaningless without a law and social order. Well-governed and relatively predictable personal and communal life is a necessary condition for freedom and growth.
Counting the Omer keeps this spiritual reality in our consciousness as a daily reminder that the sacred history of the journey from Egypt to Sinai must be reflected in our present-day commitment to receiving Torah today.
For The Raibal, the ‘ghost within’ represents today’s Jew whose observance of Passover reflects only the ‘ghost’ of parents or grandparents, without continuing the evolution of our Tradition by bringing something of her or himself to the table. The ‘familiar spirit’ is the person who sticks only to what he or she thinks they know – without seriously venturing forth into the wilderness to approach Sinai through study, Jewish engagement and receiving Torah as a living presence in their life. Those who stick to these familiar ghosts risk the death of their own spirits and the demise of Judaism.
Since the Messiah did not, so far as we can tell, arrive this Passover we are still, as every year, commanded to Count the Omer of our souls and proceed together to Sinai.
Friday, April 25 ~ Hands on Holiday ~ 5:30 pm
Join us for stories, songs, snacks and crafts with a Yom Ha'atzmaut theme. For information, contact Carolyn Abrams.
Friday, May 2 ~ 67th Congregational Annual Meeting ~ 7:30 pm
Join us for reports from President Judy Uram and Rabbi Steven Denker, election of Temple Trustees and presentation of the Emanu Elite of the Year Award. A potluck dinner will precede the Annual Meeting at 6:00 pm. Cost is $4/person or $18/household. TEE will provide chicken, please bring a non-dairy side dish for 10 (no nuts please). RSVP to Renee Higer.
Sunday, May 4 ~ Informational Dinner for 2015 Family Israel Adventure ~ 5:30 pm
Connecting to the People & Land of Israel (June 30 - July 9, 2015), will be led by Rabbi Steven Denker and Kate Milgrom. Join us for this final informational meeting and dinner for those considering joining us on the Israel trip. We will share the updated itinerary for our fun, spiritual and unforgettable family experience of Israel's heritage and the real people and places of Israel today. Final price information will be available as well. RSVP by April 25 to Kate Milgrom.