Changing Obstacles Into Opportunities

Emanuel Congregation’s Mission:

At Emanuel Congregation, we open our doors to all who seek richer, more meaningful lives. Together, our diverse community engages in prayer, lifelong learning and tikkun olam (repairing the world), empowering adults and children alike to apply Jewish values to our everyday lives and to be a collective force for good.

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There is no question, 2020 has been a year of concern, fear, and a lot of unknowns. While some more than others, everyone has felt the highs and lows of this challenging year. Despite this, there is one thing that has remained a constant - the Emanuel Community. While we are working in new ways to connect (YouTube services, Zoom classes, etc.), our strength, our vision, and our desire to reach our mission has not stopped or even slowed down. Why? Because life-cycle events do not stop for pandemics, nor do needs in the community, desires to practice Judaism, impulses to learn and be a part of a community do not stop for a pandemic. Let me share some ways we have continued moving towards our mission since March.

  • Our Chesed committee went into full gear, reaching out to community members to evaluate congregant’s needs so we could help, either directly or with the assistance of our community’s social services.

  • Emanuel volunteers continue to help by calling those who are unable to join services virtually. They accomplish this by calling the congregant on the phone and placing their personal phone by their computer so these individuals can hear our services. Others are answering technology questions, running errands for those who are unable to leave their home at certain times, and just calling in to check on people.

  • We hired a part-time Education Director, Mandy Herlich, to help enhance and lead our Religious and Hebrew school. Within her first few weeks

  • she provided our teachers with professional training by partnering with other synagogues (being invited to teach some classes herself,)

  • she is setting up the school for a strong virtual year of learning and engagement that can transition to an in-person option when we can guarantee the safety of our families.

  • Emanuel was awarded a grant to assist in our Blue House Initiative and we continue to make progress on that initiative.

  • Clergy continue to help celebrate when new lives enter the world and help mourn as we say goodbye to others. And they help with everything in between, including B’nai Mitzvah and pastoral care all while working within the physical restrictions of COVID to be sure emotional needs are met.

  • Our clergy, staff, and lay leadership are creating an enriching High Holy Day experience. It will include professionally produced religious services, live programming, and opportunities to come together in a variety of ways including some in-person yet socially distanced.

Clearly, Emanuel Congregation did not stop for the pandemic. We are changing obstacles into opportunities and continue moving forward to fulfill our mission. This work was, and is, only possible because of you. Therefore, thank you to each and every one of you for your support, time, and contributions that remind us of the strength of our synagogue and our synagogue community.

Reminder: As we enter the Jewish New Year 5781, please remember to fill out your membership renewal and Religious/Hebrew School registration form. Also, if you know someone who would like to explore our community in more depth to see if Emanuel is the right fit for them, please have them call us. Our doors are always open, and all are welcome.

Sarabeth Salzman

Executive Director

Emanuel Congregation

773-561-5713 ext. 109

sarabeth@emanuelcong.org

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Emanuel Congregation  5959 N. Sheridan Road Chicago, IL 60660

(T) 773.561.5173 (F) 773.561.5420  info@emanuelcong.org

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