Temple Member Logan Hennes Honored by White House

Temple member Logan Hennes (far right) is honored at the White House on International Day of the Girl. 


Kol HaKavod to Temple member Logan Hennes who was recently selected as an honoree of the “Girls Leading Change” event hosted by the White House. In honor of the International Day of the Girl, First Lady Jill Biden celebrated the achievements of 15 young women leaders across the United States who are driving positive change and shaping a brighter future in their communities. The inaugural “Girls Leading Change” celebration recognized the profound impact these young women are having on their communities and their unwavering commitment to strengthening our nation for generations to come.

Among the outstanding young leaders honored at this event was Temple member Logan Hennes, a 16-year-old whose passion and dedication lie in combatting antisemitism in communities across the country. Logan’s journey began with her involvement in the American Jewish Committee, where she took on a leadership role in supporting students like herself who are working tirelessly to address antisemitism in their schools and communities.

As the leader of her high school’s Jewish Affinity Group, Logan has spearheaded initiatives to raise awareness of the rising antisemitism prevalent in today’s world. Her commitment to combatting antisemitism, educating her peers and advocating for positive change showcases the incredible potential of young women leaders. Logan Hennes is undoubtedly making her mark on the world and shaping a brighter future for us all.

Read the full White House Press Release.  


Our Prayers for Israel

Avinu She’Ba’Shamayim, O God on High, Rock and Guardian of Israel, bless the State of Israel, which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it within the embrace of your love. Spread over it the canopy of your peace.

Dear Friends:

As we awoke this morning, we learned the devastating news that Israel had suffered a series of highly coordinated attacks by air, land, and sea at the hands of Hamas. In a fashion eerily reminiscent of the Yom Kippur War 50 years and one day ago, Israelis were terrorized as they prepared to celebrate a Holy Day – this time Simchat Torah.

At the latest count, 100 Israelis have been killed and 900 wounded. It appears that Hamas terrorists have captured a number of Israeli soldiers and civilians and taken them captive in Gaza, and Hamas militants that infiltrated through the Gaza border remain at large, creating terror in communities in Israel’s south. More than 2,000 rockets have been fired toward the center of Israel.

Hamas’s leadership now seeks to bring other Palestinian and Arab communities into this fight, demonstrating that, for some, their desire truly is to see Israel erased from the map. For them, coexistence will never be acceptable. That the attack comes just as Israel and the Arab world are endeavoring to strengthen ties with a commitment to aid the Palestinian people too, demonstrates the depths of Hamas’s cynicism. To those who, despite this attack, will nonetheless claim Israel will always have the upper hand, look and see for yourself: No people is safe from terror.

We pray for peace for all innocents caught in the crossfire of this hateful war against the Jewish State – Palestinians and Israelis alike. The Palestinian people are as much victims of their leaders’ cynicism as Israelis. All deserve a life free from conflict.

But in this moment, we stand firmly with the people of Israel – our people. May peace soon be established throughout their land, and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen.

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson
Peter and Mary Kalikow Senior Rabbinic Chair

“Etrog: The Wandering Fruit” in the News

Have you ever wondered about the journey of the etrog? The Bernard Museum of Judaica dives deep into this topic in time for Sukkot with its groundbreaking exhibit “Etrog: The Wandering Fruit”,which is already creating a buzz in the press.

This week, “Etrog: The Wandering Fruit” was highlighted in “A NYC exhibit explores the etrog’s journey around the Jewish world” from the New York Jewish Week (reprinted in Times of Israel) and a brief “Learn About the Etrog for Sukkot” blurb in the New York Times.

Showcasing over 100 unique etrog-related artifacts, the exhibit features contributions from 20 different lenders. Notable contributors include the Jewish Museum, the New York Botanical Garden Library, and the American Numismatic Society. The display boasts a diverse collection, ranging from etrog containers to documents about the etroger (a Yiddish term for a Jewish merchant who sold etrogs). Additionally, visitors can view illuminated pages where the etrog makes its appearance, both originals and facsimiles.

Don’t miss this fascinating exhibit, which runs September 5 – November 20 from Sunday through Thursday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

“I Have No Other Homeland”

Rabbi Sarah H. Reines Temple Emanu-El NYC | Yom Kippur 5784 Two of my earliest loves, Judaism and poetry, are deeply and inextricably linked. The Torah describes itself as a shir – a poem, or song. Much of our liturgy is poetry, and poetry can often be offered as prayer. Why? Because with few words, …

Philanthropic Fund Partners with HIAS for Asylum Seekers

The Temple Emanu-El Philanthropic Fund has provided a grant to HIAS to support the hire of an AVODAH fellow to process applications for asylum seekers and the expansion of its volunteer program for migrants in New York City.

“As one of the largest synagogues in the world, and as New York’s oldest Reform Jewish congregation, Temple-Emanu-El has from its earliest days been a lifeline for immigrants working to establish themselves in this city,” said Philanthropic Fund Committee Chair Daniel Jeydel, who announced the partnership to the Temple Emanu-El congregation during Yom Kippur services. “With the arrival of more than 100,000 asylum seekers in the past year and a half straining city resources, we felt that we had to step forward in partnership with HIAS.”

Read more

Who Shall I Say is Calling?

Rabbi Joshua Davidson’s 5784 Yom Kippur Sermon  “Who Shall I Say is Calling?”  “Who by fire? Who by water? Who in the sunshine? Who in the nighttime? Who by high ordeal? Who by common trial?…And who shall I say is calling?”1 Leonard Cohen composed those verses after singing for Israeli soldiers in the Sinai desert …

Thank You to our Women of Emanu-El Project Backpack Volunteers

Women of Emanu-El (formerly the Women’s Auxiliary) has a long tradition of providing backpacks filled with school supplies to the kindergartners at Public School 112. This year’s Project Backpack was led by Women of Emanu-El President, Dr. Florence Milch and board member, Nikola Hennes. On June 22, 2023 Women of Emanu-El volunteers gathered to fill 150 backpacks. These backpacks were then delivered and handed out to students on the first day of school.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all those volunteers that were able to contribute their time to this worthwhile mitzvah: Susan Alexander, Jane Barr, Barbara Baum, Eva Cooper, Doris Finkelstein, Ellen Freilich, Nikola Hennes, Barbara Kummel, Patricia Lehr, Florence Milch, Jacalyn Rose, Dee Rosenthal, Lisa Senter, Barbara Sherr, and Iris Warren.

Learn how you can join Women of Emanu-El.

“It’s Hard to Be a Jew”

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson’s Rosh Hashanah sermon in the Times of Israel

Shver tsu zayn a Yid! Last Spring, walking in Jerusalem, I passed a man wearing a t-shirt quoting the old Yiddish maxim:  “It’s hard to be a Jew.”

Even in Israel.

Shver tsu zayn a Yid is how I felt that afternoon.  Only a few hours earlier at the Knesset I had met Simcha Rothman, a principal architect of the Netanyahu government’s proposed judicial reform that jeopardizes a cornerstone of democracy – judicial independence.  The reform is a means to an end.  If enacted, other coalition proposals would be difficult to defeat, including bills discriminating against Arab Israelis, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and women, increasingly segregated in public settings; as well as bills to re-legislate the Law of Return to halachic standards, and to annex portions of the West Bank, effectively killing the Palestinian people’s own national aspirations – aspirations already withered by decades of Israeli occupation and a corrupt Palestinian leadership that traffics in antisemitic canards and pays terrorists to slay Israeli civilians.

For thirty-seven consecutive weeks, Israelis of every political, social and ethnic stripe have assembled to protest against this government; hundreds of thousands wrapping themselves in the blue and white of the state they cherish.  Ein li eretz acheret, “I have no other country,” they sing.  “I will not stay silent….”  Poet Ehud Manor composed that cri de coeur during the first Lebanon War, in which many of these protestors fought.  Others served in ’48 and ’67.  Still others during Yom Kippur fifty years ago.  But most, too young to remember those existential battles against enemies without, fight now to save Israel from the threat within.

Read the full article on Times of Israel.

Temple Emanu-El Philanthropic Fund Donates to Morocco Earthquake Relief

The Philanthropic Fund is donating to support critical rescue and relief efforts after the devastating earthquake in Morocco. Funds have been allocated to IsraAID and NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief; both Israeli organizations have remarkable track records in emergency response and humanitarian assistance worldwide.

Our donation helps to support search and rescue operations, provide medical care to the injured and provide essential supplies such as food, water and shelter to survivors.

Timely and effective intervention can make a significant difference in alleviating human suffering during disasters like this. The Philanthropic Fund is committed to being a force for good in the world and is proud to support the work of these two organizations.

You will hear more about the mission and immediate impact of the Philanthropic Fund on Yom Kippur.

In addition to our financial support, we offer our prayers and heartfelt hopes for the people of Morocco.

Thank You to our Tikkun Olam Mitzvah Project Volunteers

Tikkun Olam volunteers came together on August 8 to assemble 240 backpacks filled with 21 essential items for students from The Children’s Village in time for the start of school.  Our support helps vulnerable children and teens in NYC on their journey towards well-being, belonging and independence.

The Children’s Village was founded in 1851, and today, their mission remains very much the same: they work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities. They believe that there are three keys to a child’s success: education, work, and lifelong relationships and they help children develop and nurture life-long relationships with family, friends, and mentors.

We would like to express our gratitude to Eileen Melniker, Susan Alexander, Roz Pretzfelder, Marilyn Ezzes, Jodi Weisel, Phyllis Brodsky, Susanne Fischer, Barbara Fox, Diane Bialick and Tess Tarantino who volunteered for many hours to complete this very meaningful Mitzvah. Without their continued commitment to helping those in need we would not have been able to provide these essential supplies for students.

Learn how you can get involved with Tikkun Olam at Temple Emanu-El.

Children’s Village Thanks Emanu-El Tikkun Olam

Temple Emanu-El’s Tikkun Olam Committee received a wonderful thank you email from Children’s Village Inwood House Director Valerie Worthy for the temple’s Project Prom donations.


Words cannot explain the “GRATITUDE” we are sending from the Inwood House Residential and School Base Programs.  The in-kind “Project Prom” donations we received from the entire Development Team allowed us to be a dynamic support to young adults in Foster Care, Domestic Violence Shelters and low-income housing, who could not afford to buy prom dresses or shoes this year.

It was such a rewarding experience to support these young adults, and we could not have done any of this without all of you and the generosity of the donors.

Please send them a huge “Thank You!”

Thank you all once again and have a wonderful day.

Valerie Worthy
Director, Children’s Village Inwood House

Kudos to the Tikkun Olam Committee, Project Prom volunteers, all of our donors and our corporate partners!

Learn how you can get involved with Tikkun Olam at Temple Emanu-El.

Torah Commentary on B’haalot’cha by Bettijane Eisenpreis

Bettijane Eisenpreis Parashah for June 10, 2023 Torah Commentary by Bettijane Eisenpreis “On the day that the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the Tabernacle, the Tent of the Pact; and in the evening it rested over the Tabernacle in the likeness of fire until morning. … At a command of the Lord, the …