About Congregation Etz Chaim
Congregation Etz Chaim is, first and foremost, a makom tefillah, a shul where davening with fervor is complemented by an absolute insistence on proper decorum. Some members wear a kaputa, some a Kipa Seruga; some grew up in German communities, some are followers of Shlomo Carlebach. The common denominator is a goal to make members, friends and guests feel welcome in a joint effort to create a heartfelt and harmonious tefillah.
Etz Chaim identifies with Medinat Yisrael. More than that - Etz Chaim members rejoice in the joys and wonders of Eretz Yisrael and its people, and cry at their pain. Many of us are constantly wishing our members “Zeitchem Le-Shalom” and “Boachem Le-Shalom.” Our Israel committee spearheads both fundraising activities and special events to keep the home fires burning in our consciousness.
Several years ago, we launched the Rabbi Israel D. Rosenberg Educational Institute as the education and learning arm of Etz Chaim. Since then, we have been proud to present programs featuring the leading lights in the world of Jewish learning, including Rabbis Herschel Schachter, Michael Rosenzweig and Aharon Rakeffet and Professors David Berger, Daniel Sperber, Yaakov Elman and Gerald Blidstein. That tradition will continue this year with speakers that will include many luminaries from the Jewish intellectual firmament. We will initiate a special two year lecture series, described in this booklet, in which important scholars will explore the influences that non-Jewish societies throughout history have had on the Jewish community, and the ways in which Judaism has reacted to such influences, with acceptance, rejection or reformulation. We hope that a collection of articles from this series will be edited and published. Many special events supplement our regular shiurim and programs.
Our youth directors, Rachel and Yisroel Orenbuch, and their team of leaders have a year of wonderful programs planned for our children. Rabbi Rosenberg, too, is actively engaged in educating the children in a manner appropriate to each age group and according to the needs of each child. The Rabbi learns with each Bar and Bat Mitzvah, hosts an Oneg Shabbat for teens and pre-teens, leads the annual pre-Pesach Mystery Shopping trip, re-enacts with them the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza on Tisha B’Av, and quizzes the children on their knowledge of the parasha, Nach, Mishna and Hogwarts trivia.
In this site we are proud to set out our program of events. Check back here frequently, as additional classes, programming and special events will be scheduled throughout the year, We look forward to seeing you!