Seven Gates

7-gates-logo_2013verticalThe Seven Gates stand for the proposition that everyone can find a place at Temple Emanuel. Whatever your passion, whatever inspires you, it is here. All you have to do is enter. While these are entry points, it is not only about entering.

It is also about what you do once you are here. It is about engaging. It is about finding meaning, purpose, and friends within a community of people who are moved by what moves you. The gates are open and waiting for you. Temple Emanuel provides a Sanctuary of Hope and Strength.

Through which gate will you enter?

The Gate of Torah

How does the Gate of Torah provide a sanctuary? By putting us in touch with wisdom that is ancient and time-tested—and fresh and relevant at the same time. By connecting us to the character of the Jewish people, wrestling, resilient, ever hopeful. By building relationships among members of our temple and citizens of our land who, in a polarized world, where listening does not happen enough, learn to listen to one another. By teaching us a new way to engage. Not “don’t you see what I see?” But, “what do I not see that you do see?”

The Gate of Prayer

How does the Gate of Prayer provide a sanctuary? When we ask God for courage and strength, God says yes. We find strength from one another, fellow seekers, fellow mourners, fellow celebrants, all lifting up and sanctifying our day—together. A regular prayer life gives us anchoring and centering, heightening our awareness of the infinite blessing that is every day of our lives, if only we can see it. The day on which we pray is the day we do not take for granted.

The Gate of Israel

How does the Gate of Israel provide a sanctuary? Israel daily confronts serious and seemingly intractable problems. Iran. Hezbollah. Hamas. The lack of a peace partner. Tragic and heartbreaking loss and violence. Internal challenges. A burgeoning charedi population that for the most part does not serve in the IDF. A Chief Rabbinate that controls Judaism in the public sphere, to the detriment of Judaism and the Jewish people. And yet, despite its real challenges, if you go to Israel, and if you have the privilege of spending time with Israelis, you see a national character that is a marvel: hopeful, happy, strong, life-affirming, forward-looking. When we look at our troubled world and wonder what will be, go to Israel: there is nothing like a booster shot of Israeli resilience.

The Gate of Shabbat

How does the Gate of Shabbat provide a sanctuary? How often are you tethered to your smart phone? How many times a week are you doing something else when your phone rings, buzzes, beeps, pings, and the moment is gone? It takes a lot of work to create a space of rest: no bills, no laundry, no errands, no distractions, no deliverables. It takes Shabbat. We renew our humanity: deepening the relationships and the activities that make us who we are.

The Gate of Redeeming the World

How does the Gate of Redeeming Our World provide a sanctuary? When the hard news of the day makes us wonder, what can we do? When the hard politics of the day makes us wonder, are we one nation? When the looming problems of the day make us retreat. The Gate of Redeeming Our World teaches us that the world is redeemable, slowly, gently, one person, one act, one bridge, one relationship, one gesture of hope, one gift of grace, at a time.

The Gate of Building Community

The Gate of Community How does the Gate of Community provide a sanctuary? When you face loneliness, long days, endless nights, an empty house, heavy hours, we are here with friendship and light, song and learning, coffee and conversation. When you see echo chambers, people only talking to people with whom they already agree, we are a space where people of different politics, different economics, different ages and stages, come together, sing together, learn together, comfort together, celebrate together, do life together. When the public square all too often features polarization and conflict, our own conversation is shaped by pluralism and mutual respect.

The Gate of Teaching Jewish Values to Our Children

How does the Gate of Teaching Jewish Values to Our Children provide a sanctuary?
On a late January Sunday afternoon, in the dead of winter, Adelson Community Hall is alive as our children and grandchildren star in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Our children and grandchildren take us to a place of deep joy. Our youngest learners, in our preschool, dip their apples in honey, light their Hanukkah candles, wave their lulav and etrog all around, make charoset for their Passover seders—and savor being Shabbat boy or girl with fresh challah and proud parents. Our religious school and Makor students learn a love of Israel and Hebrew, of Jewish song and prayer, of Jewish history and ethics. Our hearts are warmed as our youngest members run onto the bimah on Shabbat morning.