Dear Friends,

Yesterday Governor Baker declared that schools will remain closed through April, with the hope that children will return on May 4 th . This mean that we are hunkering down for the next five weeks. The transition from a short term situation to a longer term solution, while giving us a sense of consistency and direction, is jarring and leaves us wondering how we will make due as Covid-19 continues to spread throughout Massachusetts, the United States, and internationally.

Temple Emanuel, the Temple Preschool and Religious School will remain closed for physical operations through Sunday, May 3. We look forward to welcoming you all back as soon as it possible to do so. We miss welcoming our children in the mornings, sharing thought provoking conversations in our various adult classes, and welcoming Shabbat together within the walls of Temple Emanuel. However, we will not let this dampen our spirit! We are in this together and we will continue to connect with each other through our “Virtual Community.”

Our first priority was to shift our regularly scheduled programming, such as Bible Study, Worship Services, and classroom experiences to a virtual base. We will continue to evaluate these programs, their effectiveness, and ways to enhance the experience for all of our congregants, children and adults. In addition, we are constantly thinking of ways to create opportunities to bring us together during these challenging times. Rabbi Goldstein and Cantor Irelander are preparing a Passover Seder that will be recorded and available on-line. You will be able to access the Seder, and follow along at your own pace and even skip a few parts for those who have small children (or hungry grownups!). We will share resources to enjoy Seder with other family members, even if you cannot be in the same household.

You may be wondering, what does the rest of our year look like?

  • Through May 1, Friday Sabbath Evening services will be made available through Zoom (April 3, April 10, April 17, April 24 and May 1).  Click here. We invite you to join our virtual community by computer, phone, or tablet. Thank you to Rabbi Goldstein and Cantor Irelander for continuing to provide prayer and song to our membership. This week we will light the candles together at the end of service. We encourage you to light yours at home along with us.
  • Beginning this week and through May 2, our Saturday morning Minyan will be available through Zoom (April 4, April 11, April 21, April 28 and May 2). Click here. If you haven’t joined us for Minyan before, this is a good opportunity to experience this more traditional format from the comfort of your home.
  • Beginning this week and through May 3rd, our Sunday community Service, Rabbi’s Favorite Half Hour of the Week, will be made available through Zoom. Click here.

Our Director of Education, Betsy Kachel, continues to coordinate with teachers and administrative staff on how to best support our students and families during this interruption in the daily operations of our schools. Information for all our students and their families is being communicated through Facebook, emails, and the Remind App (for preschool only). Great care is being taken to ensure students feel connected, but not overwhelmed.
  Religious School: 
Religious School teachers will continue to offer resources for families through regular email communication. In addition, Religious school classes will be taught by Zoom sessions through May 3rd. A schedule for these classes will be emailed to all families. We hope to return to our normal class schedule in our building on Monday, May 4th and conclude our year together on Sunday May 17th, unless of course we are directed otherwise by the Governor’s mandate. 
Our preschool classes (including music) and weekly Shabbat celebration, will continue via zoom through May 1st. Our teachers will also continue to offer resources for families through regular email communication. We hope to join together again on Monday, May 4th and resume our regular school schedule, unless of course we are directed otherwise by the Governor’s mandate.

For students currently working with  Cantor Irelander , please reach out to him directly. 
 While our facility will remain closed, our chesed - our hearts -remain open to you. Our clergy are available for support. If you have a pastoral need/emergency or death in the family, please call  Rabbi Robert Goldstein  at 978-470-2892 or  Maureen Chapman , Executive Director, at 603-702-0300.
Due to the circumstances, life cycle events (such as B’nai Mitzvah, baby namings or funerals) will not be held at Temple Emanuel. Impacted families have been contacted by the Temple and have been rescheduled. While we typically do not schedule B’nai mitzvah during the summer months, we have created the opportunity for those impacted families to utilize these dates.
Programs and events scheduled through May 4 th will be held via Zoom when possible. Some programs have been canceled and will be rescheduled when possible, at a future date.
Executive Committee, Board of Governors and related Sub-Committee meetings will occur via phone or video conferencing through April 5th.
Administrative offices will remain operational. Since places of worship are considered “Essential Businesses,” some staff members will be working at the Temple on a limited basis while others will work remotely. We will check email, voicemail, and post office mail regularly.
We hope that you will find comfort in maintaining as much “normalcy” during this ever-changing time. We are here to help in any way that we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out and let us know how we can help.

Remember always, while the Temple office may be closed, and much of our regular calendar disrupted, we are here for you. We would encourage you to take advantage of our many virtual opportunities to connect, and we look forward to being together in person in the not too distant future. 

Stay safe, stay healthy.

Marc Freedman, Temple President
Maureen Chapman, Executive Director
Rabbi Robert S. Goldstein
Temple Emanuel | 7 Haggetts Pond Road | Andover, MA 01810 | 978.470.1356