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Become a Member

Temple Emanuel of Tempe is a membership-based community. Our members have a voice in shaping this community, and demonstrate their commitment to its future, to the future of Reform Judaism, and to progressive Jewish values in the world.

Our Community

Temple Emanuel of Tempe is an inclusive and welcoming community. We encourage participation from all who seek a connection to Jewish life and want to be part of our sacred community regardless of religious background, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, ability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Faith Backgrounds

We are a proud Reform Jewish congregation and a member of the Union for Reform Judaism, but members and visitors from all Jewish denominations find their spiritual home at Temple Emanuel. We welcome all people regardless of their expression of faith, including those who consider themselves agnostic, atheist or questioning. Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and non-Jews are all welcome at our services and programs.

Interfaith Families & Non-Jews

Temple Emanuel holds the religious responsibility of welcoming the stranger among the most significant principles of our faith. We welcome interfaith couples and families and non-Jewish parents raising Jewish children, just as we welcome all singles and families. People with faith backgrounds other than Judaism or with no faith background are welcome to pray with us, study with us, share in holiday celebrations, and participate in lifecycle events. Interfaith couples and families are eligible for membership on the same basis as all other couples and families.

Every adult member has the same voting rights, regardless of their faith background. In all life cycle events, such as welcoming newborn babies and bar/bat mitzvahs, all family members are invited to the bima (pulpit) to join in celebration, offer congratulatory remarks, and lead English readings from the siddur (prayerbook). Synagogue honors expressed as commandments to Jews (blessing candles or wine, or reading from the Torah) are offered to Jewish family members.

We encourage participation in our worship, regardless of knowledge of Hebrew or Judaism. Page numbers are frequently announced and Hebrew prayers are transliterated (written in English letters) so that all can sing along.

For those interested in learning more about Judaism, we offer a Discovering Judaism class that begins every August. Following conversion, class participants will have the opportunity to become a member of the synagogue.

Members must be Jewish, or be a member of an interfaith family where one partner is Jewish.

Benefits of Membership

The goal of the Temple Emanuel community is to facilitate the creation of relationships: with each other, with our clergy, and with Judaism.

Members have the opportunity to:

  • Meet with our clergy for pastoral care
  • Attend High Holy Days services
  • Enroll children in Religious School (K-12 program), including our B’nei Mitzvah program
  • Hold life-cycle events such as weddings and funerals in our Sanctuary
  • Rent our spaces for other purposes such as brises, meetings, and parties
  • Travel with us on trips to Israel and other Jewish communities around the world
  • Attend members-only events such as our Hannukah Party, Pop-Up Shabbats and more.
  • Join our Chavurot and Minyanim Groups (including but not limited to, Wine Club, Hiking Club, etc.)

Interested in Membership?

We encourage you to worship with us at Shabbat services and/or engage in the many other programs and educational opportunities we offer to see if you’d like to consider becoming a member of our community.

Contact us if you’d like more information or would like to schedule a tour. We welcome you to become part of our community.

Ready to join? Please complete this Membership Application online. One of our staff members will then connect with you to welcome you into our Temple Emanuel tribe!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are non-Jews welcome at Temple Emanuel?

Absolutely! A number of our members are interfaith families, meaning that one parent is not Jewish. Our Temple community embraces all families who seek Jewish community, or who are looking to raise Jewish children. Moreover, non-Jews, as well as Jews of any denomination, are welcome at our weekly Shabbat services, which are held Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Temple Emanuel regularly welcomes individuals at Shabbat services who are unfamiliar with Jewish religious practice or who are looking to increase their familiarity. Temple Emanuel offers a year-long Discovering Judaism class open to adult non-Jews and Jews alike looking to further their Jewish education. To learn more about the Discovering Judaism class at Temple Emanuel, please contact the Temple office.

Q: How much emphasis is there on Hebrew in Shabbat services?

Shabbat services at Temple Emanuel include a mix of Hebrew and English. The prayer book (a siddur in Hebrew) used at Temple Emanuel is the Mishkan T’Filah: A Reform Siddur. Our siddur provides all of our prayers in Hebrew. Transliterations accompany the Hebrew prayers so that those who cannot read Hebrew may participate. Below most prayers are English translations. Shabbat Services at Temple Emanuel honor tradition, and most prayers are led in Hebrew. While the service is a mix of Hebrew and English, many parts of the service are accessible to someone with no Hebrew knowledge. On Friday Shabbat evenings, for example, Rabbi Cookie Lea Olshein gives a short sermon which may be a D’var Torah, offer a teaching based on the weekly Torah portion (parshah in Hebrew), or read a traditional Jewish folktale in English. Our services vary during the course of the month.

Q: What programs or groups are available for young singles and couples without children?

Temple Emanuel has a sizable community of young singles and couples, both with and without children, who share a common desire to connect. The temple facilitates chavurot and special interest groups that cater to our members’ unique interests. Temple Emanuel’s Sisterhood and Men of Emanuel organizations promote community with diverse social events, from poker nights to social justice opportunities, both for their members and for couples. Learn more about our chavurot and special interest groups.

Q: What about empty nesters?

Temple Emanuel develops programming for our entire community of diverse individuals, families and couples. In addition to events for all ages such as our Social Justice opportunities, Torah Study, and Book Group, there are age specific opportunities for empty nesters, Yeddidim, our empty-nesters group, meets monthly for dinner and schmoozing. The Yarn Yentas meet weekly for knitting and fun.

Q: What role does the Religious School play in the congregation?

The Ann B. Ritt Religious School of Temple Emanuel is the heart of our community. On Sunday mornings and Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings our Temple is bustling with Jewish learning, celebrating Jewish holidays, exploring Jewish values, and connecting with Jewish friends.  Our Religious School is 300 students strong, with virtually all teachers having formal education training and/or many years of Jewish supplementary school teaching experience.

Q: What are the dues associated with membership?

Many people who are unfamiliar with synagogue life are surprised to learn that most temples do not collect offerings weekly. Instead, most synagogues support their facility and extensive programming by collecting annual membership dues and ticket sales for High Holy Days Services. Without such revenue, none of our community’s pursuits are possible. No one making temple involvement and religious school attendance a priority for their family will ever be turned away for financial reasons. Please contact Rebecca Weinstein, Director of Membership and Administration, for dues information. 

Q: What if I can't afford membership?

Temple Emanuel is committed to making temple membership and Jewish education as financially accessible as possible. To that end, Temple Emanuel supports its members with Financial Assistance to the degree needed to allow their full participation in the congregation. No one who makes temple involvement and religious school attendance a priority for their family will ever be turned away for financial reasons. We are conscientious about making this a reality.

The total amount of Financial Assistance available to member families varies from year to year, and is wholly dependent upon what the temple budget can support.  Financial Assistance is awarded according to demonstrated financial need on the part of the family, while staying within the budget allocation.  The Financial Assistance Committee considers its work a sacred trust, reviewing and acting upon all financial assistance applications in strict confidence. The committee includes the Board of Trustees’ Vice President of Finance and two Financial Secretaries, as well as the Director of Finance. No one outside of the Committee has access to information, nor the authority to make any decisions regarding assistance.

Q: Are conversion classes available at Temple Emanuel?

Temple Emanuel offers a year-long Discovering Judaism class open to non-Jews and Jews alike who are looking to further their Jewish education. Individuals who are interested in converting must take this class. In addition, such individuals will meet regularly one on one with Rabbi Shapiro as they make their Jewish journey. The path to conversion necessarily varies from participant to participant. For more information, please contact the temple office.

Q: Do I receive High Holy Day tickets with membership?

Yes! With regular synagogue membership couples receive two adult tickets. Single members receive one adult ticket.

Q: Can non-members attend High Holy Days services?

Definitely! Please join us for community, prayer, and meaningful worship. Contact the temple office during regular office hours to purchase tickets. The purchase price for tickets can later be applied to membership dues, should a visitor choose to join our congregation after the holidays.

Wed, September 22 2021 16 Tishrei 5782