1What is Reform Judaism?
Reform Judaism affirms the central tenets of Judaism – God, Torah and Israel – even as it acknowledges the diversity of Reform Jewish beliefs and practices. We believe that all human beings are created in the image of God, and that we are God’s partners in improving the world. Tikkun olam — repairing the world — is a hallmark of Reform Judaism as we strive to bring peace, freedom and justice to all people.
Reform Jews accept the Torah as the foundation of Jewish life containing God’s ongoing revelation to our people and the record of our people’s ongoing relationship with God. We see the Torah as God inspired, a living document that enables us to confront the timeless and timely challenges of our everyday lives.
Reform Judaism believes in the principles of inclusion and gender equality.
2Will I feel comfortable at Shaaray Tefila if I have an Orthodox or Conservative background? Will I feel comfortable if I am intermarried?
Temple Shaaray Tefila embraces Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and intermarried families. Within our congregation, we have members who were raised in every major denomination, including Orthodox and Conservative. We also have those who grew up in homes in which Judaism did not play a significant role. It is our goal that everyone who seeks a Jewish community will feel comfortable in our congregation.
3What sets Temple Shaaray Tefila apart from other congregations in the area?
Here are just a few of the things that make Temple Shaaray Tefila special:
Our diversity – we have members from many towns and school districts; our membership includes families with children of all ages, empty nesters, and seniors; we welcome everyone whatever your religious background and observance might be.
Our warm and welcoming community – we don’t just meet and greet, we welcome and embrace all who come through our doors. Creating community is a priority for our leadership, our clergy, and our staff. We want to connect you with us in every possible way, both large and small.
Our high level of activity – there is always something happening at Temple Shaaray Tefila. Our worship services encompass a wide range of spiritual experiences, with an emphasis on engaging music, inspiring speakers, and community prayer. From Israel education to our community garden, from learning about Jewish holidays to mah jongg, we provide our congregants with many enjoyable opportunities for connecting with the Jewish community.
Our beautiful buildings and grounds – located on a 10 acre former estate property, the Temple’s buildings and grounds provide a lovely setting for everything we do. We invite you to walk through the Temple in any season to appreciate how our environment enhances our spiritual atmosphere.
4How does Temple Shaaray Tefila observe Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur?
Our congregation’s High Holy Day worship experiences mirror our congregation’s philosophy of creating a temple-wide community while acknowledging and accommodating diversity within the congregation. Our High Holy Day services include traditional, family, and alternative services at Caramoor, our High Holy Day home. We also hold services at the Temple for young families and those who have not yet joined the congregation. If you are interested in more information about High Holy Day observance please call us at 914.666.3133.
5What is the Temple’s vision of Jewish education?
At Temple Shaaray Tefila, we believe that Jewish education is a lifelong journey that should be meaningful, dynamic, challenging, and inspiring. Our Religious School offers programming for Kindergarten through 12th grade students and we incorporate multiple opportunities for families to both learn about and experience Judaism together.
Our rich curriculum prepares students to be active participants in their Jewish community. Through hands-on activities and meaningful discussions, teachers help students on their individual journeys of Jewish identity development. We hope to inspire a love of Jewish learning, a lifelong commitment to tikkun olam, and a deep connection to Israel in all of our students.
6Can we participate in Temple activities as a family?
In a word, yes! We have designed many opportunities for you to worship, learn, and have fun as a family. Some examples are: parent/child school programs, family mitzvah day (social action projects for all ages), special family services on Friday evenings and High Holy Days, and family celebrations on Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, and Purim.
7How can I use the Temple to connect to the Jewish community?
Temple Shaaray Tefila is one of the key pillars of the Westchester Jewish community. We see community as an ever-widening series of circles, from your own family, to a network of Jewish families in your town, to groups of families within the congregation that share common interests, to the congregation as a whole, to other Jewish organizations in Westchester, the U.S., and Israel. Through our clergy, lay leadership, and staff, our many programs, and connections to resources, Temple Shaaray Tefila will help you make the connection to other Jewish families and interest groups.
8How can I get to know your congregation better?
We encourage you to visit the Temple to take a tour of our beautiful buildings and grounds, meet our clergy and staff, and to experience our worship services and programs. For more information and/or to set up an appointment, please call us at 914.666.3133.
9What are the requirements for joining the Temple?
We expect Temple members to endorse and act in a manner consistent with our Temple mission. This includes contributing financially to the Temple through dues and fees to the extent that you are able. Temple membership is required in order to enroll in our religious school and to participate in our B’nai Mitzvah program.