Listen Up! Sh’ma Emanu-El Reimagined

Sep 19, 2023 / 4 Tishri, 5784

Sh’ma Emanu-El Enters Its Second Decade with an Exciting New Way to Connect

“Creating communities where people feel challenged to grow and feel a sense of belonging has deep, ancient roots. like the watchword prayer of our faith, the Sh’ma prayer, this is all about connecting to something greater than ourselves and channeling that hope into our day-to-day lives. We know through times of hardship and joy how vital it is to have a community of practice — Sh’ma Emanu-El continues to be an essential incubator at Temple for such sacred work.” –Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen

Sh’ma Emanu-El has been re-visioned for the future with a streamlined new way to form groups, and a new philosophy that focuses on how small groups gather together to choose their own ways of connecting and belonging.

“Sh’ma Emanu-El is expanding opportunities for you to find where you belong, a place where you can connect with others and be welcomed for who you are, as you are,” says chair Robert Elkin.

For example, want to connect through learning or discussions? There’s a place for you. Would you rather engage with others in activities you enjoy, or just gather with people in similar life stages or with comparable life experiences? That’s possible too!

“The new model offers a user-friendly online matching system,” says Shira Stevenson, Director of Small Groups and Diversity. “It’s easy to join current groups or start new groups if you don’t see a perfect fit.”

Leaders of the 10-year-old initiative to bring people together in meaningful relationships have spent several months examining both its successes and challenges. Over the years, many successful groups have connected, and some are still together today. The groups have also become a pathway to wider Temple participation.

Under the previous model, groups followed a shared annual curriculum provided by Temple. The project has now evolved to highlight the focus on cultivating belonging and connection. With a sense of connection at the center, groups will now gather based on their common interests. More organic creation of groups will be encouraged through the online matching system and groups will follow a set lifecycle, with opportunities for annual reevaluation.

“We are eager to relaunch Sh’ma in a way that builds on the successes of the past and moves us forward into the future,” says Robert. “As we move into the final phase of TE150, we believe that vibrant small groups that stay engaged with one another and with Temple are here to stay, and this new process will help people and a place right where they belong for years to come.”

Ready to get involved?
New groups are forming and we need your ideas! Fill out this form and Shira Stevenson, Director of Small Groups and Diversity will be in touch to get you in the perfect group. Want to be a leader of a Sh’ma group? Let us know here.