OUR DOORS ARE OPEN TO ALL WHO WISH TO ENTER
We invite your family to get to know our East Midwood family. We are a Conservative Egalitarian synagogue, which welcomes every type of family to attend any or all of our services (weekday, Shabbat and holidays) with their children and other family members and to attend our classes, concerts, recreational and other activities.
We don’t ask questions about your level of prior Jewish knowledge or practices, but we are here to help you deepen your Jewish journey, if you wish to do so. If you have children in our synagogue school, or have both Jewish and non-Jewish partners in your family or if you are spiritually searching, then you are an important part of our community. We want you to feel comfortable at our services and events and to contribute your own special qualities and ideas to EMJC life.
We hope that EMJC will become your family’s spiritual home and that you will be inspired by Judaism to work with us to improve the world and contribute to the progress of the Jewish people.
–Toby Sanchez, President
A Special Message from…
Rabbi Matt Carl
I am proud to say EMJC strives to be a community that welcomes all. We are a center of Jewish life for Jews and non-Jews, for those who are exploring Judaism, for those who have Jews in their families, and for those who are just curious. We value the lifecycle events, spiritual journeys, and cultures of our members and their families. We are committed both to Jewish tradition and to ensuring the dignity of all people. Our weekday and Shabbat worship services are open to all, as are all our events and classes. We invite and encourage the participation of non-Jewish family members in lifecycle rituals while remaining committed to the uniqueness of Jewish tradition. Our community and I can be here for you at times of joy and at times of need, for celebration and for mourning, to schmooze with others or to find space for personal meditation. I will be happy to speak with you about any questions you may have regarding participation or anything else. Of course we still have more work to do, but I am proud that at EMJC, welcoming isn’t something we delegate only to a committee or to a particular Shabbat each year, it’s something we all strive to do all the time.
Cantor Sam Levine
The mission statement of East Midwood Jewish Center describes us as “a place for Judaic discovery and action, and a haven for learners, seekers, and questioners.” We understand the challenges facing interfaith families and want to provide a safe space for your family to explore, ask questions, and feel comfortable. We live in a world where one size does not fit all; we recognize the changing and evolving nature of the Jewish community in Brooklyn. We invite you to come explore with us at EMJC in a non-judgmental environment where, through community, prayer, learning, and music, we can become a meaningful part of your family’s life.
Educational Director Audrey Korelstein
“I don’t get this,” a middle school boy blurted out in class. “My dad’s not Jewish, I go to my grandparents’ house for Christmas and Easter celebrations, my cousins aren’t Jewish, hardly any of the kids I see every day at school are Jewish, and most of my friends aren’t Jewish.” A few of the other students nodded in agreement before he picked up again: “Most of the people in my neighborhood have a different skin color and they speak languages I don’t understand. But I feel connected to them because they’re New Yorkers and I feel like I’m a New Yorker more than anything.” He took another breath. “But my mom insists I have a Jewish part. I just don’t know where that part is.”
That student’s honest reflection occurred nearly twenty years ago in a setting I was privileged to create; building a framework for safe, respectful inquiry has guided my teaching both before that time and has never wavered since. I’ve always encouraged students to hunt for the contact points between Judaism’s gifts and their true selves, and I know that the search can be confusing and sometimes difficult. It can also be thrilling. Young and old alike enter Room J (our family learning and celebration space) with different details and different backstories. For the few hours that we’re together, my hope is that students — and often their adult family members — leave invigorated, perhaps challenged, possibly comforted. So many more hours are lived outside of the synagogue’s walls where the world is not especially Jewish; exploring and experiencing Judaism on terms that make sense and reach learners where they really are, fortunately, offers lifelong rewards that children can take with them. It’s their Jewish part that’s waiting to be discovered.
If you have a young family, I hope you too will soon feel welcome in Room J at EMJC.
“Since coming to East Midwood Jewish Center about 3 years ago, my wife, who is Korean, has been made to feel welcome at Shabbat services and other events, as have I. We have never felt that we were not equal to everyone else. My wife teaches very popular classes on Korean kosher cooking and has been urged to share her Korean traditions with the members. As an accomplished pianist, she has enthralled everyone with her piano concerts. Our daughter, Noa, age 4, regards EMJC as her second home and looks forward to coming on Shabbat and other times. “
–Hagai and Jinah Park Kamil
Contact Us for More Information for Your Interfaith Family on Traditions:
-Naming ceremonies for girls
-Bar and bat mitzvah
-Funerals and mourning
Our 2017 New Member Shabbat was a great success; kicking off with a Shabbat in the Round on Friday night, a delicious kosher Chinese dinner with decorations in honor of the Year of the Rooster. Audrey Korelstein and Hagai Kamil helped with the shopping and Rachelle Grossman did all the coordination of the food and provided oversight in the kitchen.
There was lots of participation by new members and many children in our Shabbat service on Saturday, and then a healthy luncheon on Saturday with all kinds of tasty foods. Many thanks to Becky Phillips, Jessica Saratovsky, Moran and Murray Lantner and Alyssa Katz for the planning and to Ruth and Dan Shapiro for sponsoring and preparing the luncheon, and to Regina Elmkies and Dennise Lagorski for providing the charming decorations. This team has big plans for the future.