Dear Congregants of Temple Etz Chaim,
Spirituality is a very personal experience. Each of us has our own memories of the emotional spaces where we first became aware of our religious lives. Materials, Colors, Sunlight, and many other physical elements of these spaces are saved in our minds. Some of us cherish these places and others may not. But either way, they do represent spaces where we have connected to our spiritual selves. For many, our present temple has very little to do with these memories. Strong feelings have been expressed in discussions regarding this. For others, like our children or our recent converts, our present temple could very well be that place where they first connected. Therefore, we as a group need to be open to all opinions about our present temple building and the new home we are trying to create.
Here is an excerpt from the Rabbi’s Erev Rosh Hashana Sermon regarding the new temple building:
Over the course of the upcoming year, we will be holding listening sessions to learn what is important or meaningful in the current building that we want to make sure is incorporated into the new building. Some of these might be physical objects. Others might be memories or feelings. We want to hear from everyone. Of course, there are things that we don’t want to bring over into the new building, and we will have a chance to share those as well. There is much in the current building that we need to put aside. We want to have control over our location so that we can make our own decisions. While we appreciate the generosity of other houses of worship, we want to avoid having to move items from one location to another. We want to have one place to come to that unifies us physically, once health conditions permit…
On February 24th we held our first listening session. We came together on Zoom to discuss the positive elements and feelings we want to pour into our new home. A recording is available below.
Here are some questions we offered for you to contemplate for the discussion.
- Q. What helps you feel connected to Judaism?
- Q. How does TEC build and sustain this connection?
- Q. What do we gain by having a building large enough to meet our needs for prayer, learning, celebration, etc.
And thinking about our existing space –
- Q. What is important to you that currently exists in our present building that you don’t want to lose in the new space?
Thank you for taking the time to read this.