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About Us

  • Temple Emanu-El, the first Reform Temple in the New London area began with the efforts of five families in 1960. The congregation has now grown to around 250 families and has made its mark, both in the Jewish Community and the Southeastern Connecticut community as a whole.

    We owe our gratitude to the All Souls Unitarian Church in New London, who so graciously offered to share their sanctuary and social hall with us for the first eight years. In 1968, we were proud to be able to buy our first real home, the Bishop Seabury Church on Fort Street in Groton.

    Soon after, having relied through the years on student rabbis, we were able to obtain our first ordained rabbi, Rabbi Peter Knobel, to lead us and help us grow. After almost ten more years, as we were bursting at the seams, good fortune led us to our present property. That was 1979, the year we bade goodbye to Rabbi Knobel, and again were blessed with the good fortune to obtain Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg as our new leader.

    After 35 years, we bid a very fond farewell to Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg as he moved onto retirement. We thank him for his years of leadership. Temple Emanu-El worked with Interim Rabbi Scott Saulson during the year of transition as we searched for a permanent rabbi.

    We joyfully welcomed Rabbi Marc Ekstrand in July of 2016 as our new permanent rabbi.

    Now, we have only to look around us to see the results of this glorious history…our handsome Temple building, complete with a long dreamed of Sunday School, our beautiful sanctuary, and a spacious social hall. Most importantly, Temple Emanu-El is still an engaged, inclusive, egalitarian Reform congregation supporting the diversity of the Eastern Connecticut Jewish Community and the Greater New London region.

  • Marc Ekstrand picture

    Marc Ekstrand


    About Our Rabbi:

    Rabbi Marc Ekstrand joined the Temple Emanu-El community in July 2016. He is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and also spent many years living in the Greater Cincinnati area. Rabbi Ekstrand came to the rabbinate by way of his first career as an engineer in the steel industry. He was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in May of 2016. Rabbi Ekstrand served student pulpits in Parkersburg and Bluefield, West Virginia and Portsmouth, Ohio during his time at HUC-JIR. Rabbi Ekstrand enjoys studying Hebrew poetry, modern Israeli history, Jewish mysticism, and liturgy. Rabbi Marc comes to the area with his partner Polly Berg, and their twins Nava and Ilan. You will also see his boys Michael and Aaron from time to time.


    עֲשׂוֹת מִשְׁפָּט
    וְאַהֲבַת חֶסֶד
    וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת

    Do Justice, Love Goodness,
    Walk Humbly with your God

    Rabbi Ekstrand can be contacted by e-mail.

    Rabbi's Message:

    We are in the hottest part of the summer.  Things have slowed down, mostly because...


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    Cantorial Soloist Sherry Barnes

    Sherry Barnes

    Cantorial Soloist

    About Our Cantorial Soloist:

    Sherry Barnes joined Temple Emanu-El in 1987. In May of 1989 she became an adult bat mitzvah and began teaching in the Religious School that fall. In 2001 Sherry became Temple Emanu-El's first full-time Cantorial Soloist. She enjoys teaching an adult Hebrew classes, B'nai Mitzvah students, as well as congregants interested in chanting Torah. She has the pleasure of leading the Temple Emanu-El Choir. Sherry can be reached by e-mail.

    Cantorial Soloist's Message:

    When we finish reading a book in the Torah, we say...


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