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Shabbat Email 9.17.21

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Volunteer to feed the hungry!

Help those in need alongside your fellow Temple Emanuel congregants.

Sundays throughout Fall/Winter 2021

Volunteer to feed the hungry!

I-HELP is an acronym for Interfaith Housing Emergency Lodging Program.  It is a program of Tempe Community Action Agency that partners a number of faith communities, clubs, and organizations to combat homelessness.  Temple Emanuel is responsible for planning and preparing dinner and lunches for the first two Sundays of each month. 

Jim Flegenheimer, Temple Emanuel I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program)  coordinator, is looking for volunteers (and specifically groups of individuals) to cook and serve food (children are welcome, but should be 12 or older) on the following Sundays:

October 10
November 7
November 14
December 5
December 12

We have two no-contact/socially-distant options for volunteers/groups to participate:

1. Prepare at the church (as usual) and have the food delivered on carts by other volunteers
2. Prepare and drop the food off in the parking lot with prearranged volunteers who will then take and pass it out

Please consider volunteering your time to perform this mitzvah, and e-mailing Jim at

Click here to email Jim

A Message from Jim:     

As the Temple’s coordinator, I am responsible for filling these Sundays with a volunteer willing to organize a group of anywhere from 2-8 friends or family members who cook a healthy meal and prepare a sack lunch for the next day.  Anything goes when it comes to the content of the meals.  It should be a balanced meal including a main course along with a vegetable, a starch, +/- a salad, and dessert.  A brown-bag lunch is also prepared by the volunteer group.  The church where we prepare the dinner and lunch is the First United Methodist church in Tempe.  They have a large kitchen with a gas stove, oven, and all the pots, pans, and utensils one needs to make or heat up a meal for 25-45 people. 

The exact number of people eating each night is not known until a few hours before, so it is best for groups to prepare for 45.  There often are late people who show up, so “late plates” are prepared for those who miss the meal at the start time of around 5:00 p.m.   Leftovers do not go to waste. The church facility also provides the homeless a place to shower and sleep for the night, and they each get to leave the next day with a sack lunch. 

The challenges of COVID-19 have not really affected the process with one exception.  If the group does not feel comfortable going into the church for meal preparation or serving, there is the option of dropping cooked food off in the parking lot where it is picked up and served by the volunteers of the church.  There is a contact person that is informed and arranges for the parking lot pick up.  

As the coordinator now for over 8 years, I sometimes fill in several times per year if there are Sunday Vacancies. I have always been impressed with the politeness and gratitude shown by the guests who are on the receiving end of our culinary effort.

If you can organize a small group and would like to partake in this mitzvah, please notify me at or call me at 480-390-1514. 

I would like to recognize and thank the group organizers who have volunteered so far this year:


Kathryn Baldwin
Marion Weich
David Pinkwasser
Judy Stock
Cindy Weschrob
Heather Heitkamp-Brown
Sandi Orenstein
Sue Ochs
Jessica Bennensen
Sharon Paley
Susan Charney

Departure of our Director

We are sad to be saying goodbye to our Managing Director, Rebecca Weinstein, who is moving onto a new chapter in her professional career.  Rebecca returned to Temple Emanuel at a pivotal time for our community and is an incredibly valued part of the Temple Emanuel team.  Her hard work and problem solving have been invaluable to our congregation during these challenging times. She has been instrumental in helping us stay informed and connected, creating fun and engaging events, welcoming new members and staff and streamlining our administrative processes.  Rebecca has been a joy to partner with and her administrative skills, creativity, and fun-loving spirit have made Temple Emanuel a better place. She is a dear friend to many and will be missed. We are incredibly grateful for all her efforts and wish her the best in her next venture.

We will be in search of a new managing director, and a committee of board members, congregants and key staff will be formed to conduct the search.    In the interim, the Managing Director duties will be divided among current staff with support and assistance from our Board of Directors. Any questions regarding this change can be sent to our President, Jennifer LeGrand at

Below, please find a message from Rebecca:

This fall, I will be leaving Temple Emanuel after a wild year+ of COVID and 5 years altogether with Temple Emanuel (I previously worked as a staff member of Temple Emanuel from 2014-2018).

 When our Board President, Jennifer LeGrand, called me in the spring of 2020 to ask if I would return and assist in leading the Temple during COVID, I jumped back into the fold.

 I’m proud to say that we’ve accomplished so much! Over the last year or so, we competed in virtual Maccabiah Games, Ding-Dong-Bagel-ed, and played along with a Game Show Gala! We’ve on boarded new staff, celebrated holidays, implemented new virtual programs, and finessed current ones.

 I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to serve this amazing Jewish community and meet so many wonderful friends and coworkers. Temple Emanuel truly is an oasis in the desert (as we say in our mission statement) and I am lucky to have been a part of that for so many years.

 Please keep in touch and I’m sure I’ll see you around- I have a Bat Mitzvah to plan in 2028!;)

 Best Wishes,



Delaying the First Day of Religious School

Dear Temple Emanuel Community,
Yesterday, after much research, discussion and problem-solving, our COVID Research Committee, along with our Executive Committee, decided to delay the first day of Religious School. 

Current data regarding Covid 19 and the delta variant shows that Maricopa County and Arizona are at a high rate of spread of 15% - one of the higher rates in the nation. Our previously-stated benchmark is that we should open our Religious School when cases of percent positive are under 7%. We had high hopes that would be the case and, unfortunately, the last few weeks have proved otherwise. In light of our current situation (including that our children under 12 cannot be vaccinated), it was recommended that we delay the opening of Religious School originally planned for this Sunday, August 8th.

Jessie Rubenstein, our Religious School Director, met with the Leadership of other local synagogues and confirmed we are in good company in our state of flux. All of the Reform synagogues in the Phoenix area are either delaying their openings or migrating to an online option come September.
We know that for some this news is a relief. Several of you have reached out with your concerns; the majority of our Religious School population is unvaccinated and at risk. 

We also know that this may be a disappointment as our students and teachers were excited to gather again.  When consulting our values, and looking at current data, we collectively feel that this is the best path forward in protecting our community.

What’s still happening at Religious School in August and early September? 

  • Small virtual group Sunday Hebrew sessions for grades 3-6 are available for sign-up during the scheduled hours of Religious School.
  • Continued virtual tutoring will be offered for students who need extra assistance.
  • An experiential High Holy Day program for our families with students of all ages, likely via Zoom. 

We appreciate your flexibility and empathy as we navigate these challenging times.

Our congregation and community is still open and vibrant! 

So, what’s currently happening at Temple Emanuel? 

  • Musical and moving weekly Friday night services that are open to the masked public via RSVP and accessible for online Zoom-ing and streaming.
  • Interactive and engaging Saturday morning Torah Study and Worship via Zoom. 
  • An open synagogue office and building with masked staff working, planning, and collaborating.
  • An upcoming in-person and virtual Taste of Judaism class for those interested in a beginner’s class or for those who would like to learn alongside and get to know Rabbi Olshein.
  • An outdoor Havdalah Luau on August 21st at 6:30pm for congregants of all ages. A social way to see old friends with fresh air, games, the hula, and more.  Don your Hawaiian shirt and join us!
  • Meaningful and varied upcoming High Holy Days’ services at Temple Emanuel, Dayspring Church, Shofar-Blowing on South Mountain and Taschlich at ASU Research Park. 
  • Books Clubs, Monday Minyan, Study Groups, Sisterhood, MOE, Chavurah groups and more!

 Families, please keep an eye on your emails for further details. Stay tuned - there is so much more to come! 

Jennifer LeGrand

Cookie Lea Olshein

Jessie Rubenstein
Religious School Director

Mortgage Meeting Announcement


Dear Temple Emanuel Community,

I am excited to share with you that the Temple Emanuel Finance Committee, Executive Committee and Board of Trustees have made a recommendation to refinance our existing mortgage.

Our current mortgage is with First Bank and an opportunity has arisen that enables us to take advantage of the historically low interest rates.

We also want to discuss Capital Improvements that are necessary to maintain our beautiful building.  It is being proposed that we refinance the current balance and utilize a cash out process to make $200,000 available for capital improvements that are necessary to maintain our building.  We will discuss these improvements in the future.

The next step in the process is a congregational vote. Our bylaws require that the congregation vote to create a new lien (mortgage) against the property.


Article XVII.   Real Estate & Assets


Before any contract shall be entered into for the purchase, construction, sale, creation of a lien or any type, or alienation of real estate or other assets above the value of $500,000 by or for the Congregation, the Board of Trustees shall present the terms and conditions of any such contract to the Congregation. The contract must be approved by the Congregation at a regular meeting or a special Membership meeting called for that purpose.  It shall require a vote of two thirds (2/3) of the Members in Good Standing present and voting to authorize any purchase, sale or alienation of real estate.

 We will be holding a Special Membership Meeting to vote on the recommendation to refinance our loan:

Monday, August 9th @ 6:30 pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 861 5278 7579
Passcode: shalom

A presentation will allow for Q & A prior to the vote.
Click here to join the meeting
Thank you to the Finance Committee, Executive Committee and Board of Trustees for their work on behalf of our community, and thank you in advance for your attendance at the Special Membership Meeting.
Jennifer LeGrand
President, Temple Emanuel Board of Trustees


Sat, December 4 2021 30 Kislev 5782