Temple teen’s artwork selected for Tree of Life Display

In April, the congregations of Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash and New Light put out a call for artwork to wrap the chain-link fence surrounding the building. Cara Drook’s painting was selected as one of 101 pieces for the display.  Click here to see Cara’s interview on WQED about her piece.

Cara has also designed and painted two beautiful murals at Temple, one at the entrance to the Torah Center hallway and one outside the WRJ room. Be sure to take a look the next time you are at Temple.


Kulanu is back again for the second year!  Kulanu is Temple Emanuel’s “small groups” program in which Temple Members join together, in small groups around a shared common interest.  And it’s time to sign up to be part of a Kulanu group. We’ve added new groups based on your feedback and requests. We expect that there will be a group for everyone – and if there isn’t, we’ll work to help you create it.  

We expect there are questions about Kulanu; We’ve provided answers to the ones we’ve anticipated. However if we missed your question, feel free to reach out to us – we’re always happy to talk, email or text!

[email protected]

Beth Schwartz 412-877-5996

Kate Louik 412-999-0188


Q: What is Kulanu all about?  What is the purpose?

A: Kulanu is about connecting Temple members with shared interests.  It’s a way to help Temple members get to know each other, either to meet new people who they haven’t met or to develop deeper ties with members they know a little bit. The groups are based on different interests so members all share something in common from the outset.  The focus groups and surveys that were done as part of the Sr. Rabbi Search process revealed that Temple members are looking for opportunities to develop deeper connections with each other. Kulanu is one of the initiatives we developed to respond to this need.

Q: I’m eager to join a Kulanu Group! How do I sign up?  

A: Joining a Kulanu group is easy – simply complete an interest form to let us know which group you (you and your partner, or your family) want to join. Simply click here to complete the sign up form!.  You can also sign up by completing the interest form that is in bulletin.  There will be links to the online form in our weekly Temple Happenings emails. And you can always link to it from the Temple Emanuel website.  Just go to the Community section.  

Q: What kind of a commitment am I making when I join a Kulanu group?

A: Kulanu groups generally meet every 4-6 weeks but the exact frequency is up to each group.  The success of the group depends on the commitment of the participants so we do ask that you be prepared to commit to being an active participant. Generally the groups are designed to stay together for a year.  Some groups may continue beyond a year if the participants so choose. 

Q: My wife and I have different interests.  Are Kulanu Groups designed for couples or individuals?  Or are we supposed to all join as a family?

A:  Kulanu groups are for all of the above.  There will be groups for families, groups that are all couples, and groups that are all adult members (individuals and/or couples or a combination of both).  When you sign up you will specify whether you are doing so as an individual, couple or family. We’ll group you accordingly. And you can join more than one group – so you can join a family Kulanu group and one that just you are interested in.

Q: What are examples of some of the Kulanu groups?

We have a wide variety of offerings.  The actual groups that form will depend on what people are interested in.  Many of the new groups added this year came at the recommendations of our members.  A SAMPLING of this variety includes: Dining, Shabbat/Holiday observance, cycling, walking, dog walking, social action projects, cooking/baking, running and jewish study (combined), family playdates, music jam sessions, clay shooting, theater . . . . . . . . . Check out the sign up forms to see the full listing (on the digital form, you need to start the sign up process to get the list of group offerings.

Q: I have an interest that isn’t listed on the sign up form.  How do I create a Kulanu group for it?

A: Let us know what you want to do – others might have expressed interest. (Fill out the “other” option on your sign up form).  Also, feel free to ask other Temple members if they are interested in your group. We like to say that it takes 3 to Kulanu! If you can find two other people who are interested, you can start your Kulanu group (we’ll help you find them too).  And we’ll include your idea on next year’s sign up sheet.

Q: How do I know I’ll be placed in the group that I want to be in?

A: When you sign up you will rank order your preferred groups 1, 2, and 3.  We will make every effort to place you in your first group, then 2nd, then 3rd.  If we have questions or are having difficulty accommodating your interests, we’ll be in touch!  And if only one group interests you, just sign up for one.

Q: I really like my Kulanu group from last year.  Can we stay together?

A: Your group can stay together.  Or some of the participants can continue and others can “drop out” and others can continue.  Your group can also bring in new participants if some or all of you want to continue but you could also benefit from some new participants.  (If that is the case, let Beth or Kate know that you want some new people).  

Q: I was in a Kulanu Group last year that never took off, how will I know that this year will be better?

A: Many of the Kulanu groups that we formed last year worked very well, but unfortunately some did not. While there is no guarantee that any group will click together perfectly, we learned a lot from how things went last year and have changed the way we are forming the groups this year.  We hope that this year will see greater success for all of the groups.


Meet & Greets with Rabbi Aaron

We are so excited to welcome Rabbi Meyer to Temple Emanuel this summer.  We’ve scheduled several Meet & Greets throughout the summer to give everyone a chance to meet him too!  Please use the form below to RSVP for the events that you plan to attend.

Simchat Torah Temple-Style

Our fall season of holidays came to a close with our wonderful Simchat Torah celebration on Sunday, September 30.  With our service led by Rabbi Don and Rabbi Locketz, we marched and danced with the Torahs to music by the Hot Matzohs.  Our younger folks enthusiastically waved their flags, while the adults carried the Torahs throughout the Sanctuary.  A highlight of the morning was our  Torah service with 16 congregants each reading or chanting a line!  With our Torah Center teachers and madrichim chanting the aliyot, it was truly a special time for all.

Many thanks to our teen videographer, Harrison Pittle, who captured the spirit of the morning for us in this great video!

We celebrate Sukkot in style!

What a wonderful time we’ve had celebrating Sukkot at Temple Emanuel so far this year.

First, our MOTE volunteers came together to build our sukkah, no small task given the many parts and pieces that comprise our VERY sturdy structure.

Next, we had quite a crew turn out to decorate both the indoor and outdoor sukkahs.  Under the direction of our Torah Center/ECDC Art Teacher Michelle Dreyfuss, they made awesome decorations.  Everyone helped to hang their creations, and to decorate with cornstalks, gourds, pumpkins and more.  We’ve even perfected the “javelin throw” technique for getting the cornstalks onto the roof!

On Sunday evening, we came together for our Erev Sukkot service.  After enjoying a tasty spread of wine, cheese, fruit, veggies and even a few sweets, we welcomed with festival with a lively service led by Rabbis Rossoff and Locketz.  Everyone had the opportunity to shake the lulav and smell the etrog before heading home.

Check out our Sukkot slideshow![slideshow_deploy id=’14449′]


Our Year of Change Begins

The New Year. Football. Hockey. Baseball.

What a fabulous time of year. Autumn is upon us. Leaves are changing. Cool air is sweeping through Greater Pittsburgh as warm thoughts pass through our heads while we think about the year ahead.

The High Holidays have now passed. The field is open as we plan for what lies ahead this upcoming year. Just as the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates all want for this year to better than last, we all can work hard to make that happen in our own lives. This is true for all aspects – personally, professionally and of course our relationship with Judaism and with Temple Emanuel.

Athletes prepare for their seasons with hard work, discipline and diligence. They practice, focus and perform whenever the ball is kicked off, the first puck is dropped or the first pitch is thrown. Of course, not everything can be controlled in the game, but the key is preparation and determination.

I am proud to say that the Board of Trustees is in that same mindset here at Temple Emanuel. We are motivated. We have taken steps to make this year a great year. Each Officer, Trustee and committee chair has agreed to step up his or her game. Why? To become better. Better individuals, a better synagogue and ultimately a better community. It serves us well not only now but also into the future.

Our planning is in process for a Celebration year. We are honoring both Temple Emanuel and Rabbi Mahler, recognizing all that he has given to us through the years. Please plan to attend the upcoming events as opportunities to honor and commemorate.

We also are in the process of planning our next steps after Rabbi Mahler retires and becomes Rabbi Emeritus beginning July 2018. We have a strong Interim Rabbi Search Committee who will assist in identifying our Interim Rabbi for the July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 year. The, a year from now, we will have a Settled Rabbi Search Committee who will assist in our next search for a Senior Rabbi who will begin July 1, 2019.   Many of you have participated in the congregational survey that was emailed in September 2017. Thank you. There will be additional opportunities for the congregation to have input as we continue our journey.

The groundwork has been laid for us to succeed. Let’s enjoy our community, have spiritual fulfillment and a grand Jewish experience. Let’s ride the energy as we continue to build those connections and a stronger community. Who knows – maybe it will result in a Super Bowl, Stanley Cup or World Series championship. We all can dare to dream, right?

David Weisberg, President


Is your son or daughter looking for a meaningful internship?

The Reform Action Center (RAC) has two great opportunities for college students and recent graduates.  The RAC’s Eisendrath Legislative Assistants are recent college grads who represent the Reform Movement and its values in the political process.  Machon Kaplan is an internship program for college students interested in Judaism and social justice.  Want to learn more?  Go to rac.org/la or rac.org/mk.


Need help paying college tuition?

The Central Scholarship and Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh coordinates the efforts of a group of organizations, agencies and scholarship endowment funds that provide scholarships to local Jewish students enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education.

The goal of CSLRS is to provide financial support to as many deserving students in our community as possible. Demonstrated financial need is a primary criterion in evaluating applicants. Financial information is considered along with other pertinent facts such as family size and number of children/siblings in college.

While they generally do not assist students with family incomes in excess of $110,000 or who have investable assets of more than $250,000, exceptions may be made when there are extenuating family circumstances, at the discretion of the CSLRS committee.


For more information, go to: www.centralscholarship.org


20 Days to the Election

We’ve all been inundated with ads, op-eds and Facebook posts about the election.  Now we have the chance to hear a different perspective as Rabbi Dr. Danny Schiff returns to Temple Emanuel for a timely and provocative discussion “An Israeli View on the American Election.”  This is sure to be an interesting evening, so invite your friends and join us on Wednesday, October 26 at 7PM for Rabbi Schiff’s presentation followed by coffee and dessert.