Religious Practices Committee News

New starting Oct 6, 2023

1st Friday 6:30 pm Share Shabbat

3rd Friday 630 pm Shabbat dinner celebration with meaningful prayer and song is a work in progress.

4th Friday 7:30 pm service for those congregants who work/or have a tradition of Shabbat dinner at home and prefer later Shabbat services.

All other services will begin at 6:30 pm on Friday.

As stated this will be a trial and evaluation will be ongoing.  It takes an entire congregation and I look forward to seeing all of you at services, for whatever brings you to our services, we want to pray and sing together and hear your voices. Always looking for additional members to fulfill our mission. Please contact me with questions or ideas.

– Claire Warren


July/August 2023

What do we do? According to the bylaws, in part “Shall support and advise the religious leadership with the implementation of the rituals and observances of the Synagogue and the liturgical music program” I was honored to become the chairman during COVID19 and now enter my third year. This past year, Rabbi Marc, Hazzan Sherry, Rachel O’Brien and the Religious School Committee have found inventive ways to increase our family participation. In January 2023 we began earlier starts for services on a trial basis. The numbers of attendees speak to the success of the trial. However, sisterhood participation, special services including baking club/sisterhood and individual congregant support of onegs, and voluntary masking may be contributing to our increase in in-person attendance. Thanks to all who provide in person and oneg support.

The Religious Practices Committee has reviewed the findings of the coffee houses. The committee is also reviewing the findings of the in-Person Board Retreat heldMarch 2023.

I come to services for quiet reflection, community song and prayers. If the Rabbi’s reflection of the D’Var Torah, or the tradition of our reform Judaic practices are your thing, the Religious Practices Committee is the place for you. Our committee does NOT have input or responsibility for oneg. We do provide Challah and Wine/Grape juice for blessings at Shabbat Services.

– Claire Warren


January 2023

Hello From Religious Practices Committee

Since the easing of the pandemic it has been a pleasure to see a small but significant increase in our in person service attendance. This has been most evident at special events from the TE religious school and sisterhood. We are also so grateful to the AV Club, who have brought services into our homes when COVID19 made it dangerous for so many of us to meet in person. Zoom, the AV Club, Sean Bendick, Armi Rowe and Stan Blaustein saved lives. Hybrid services continue to allow many of us to participate in services from home. However, there is nothing like in person shabbat services and communal prayer. To that end, the Religious Practices Committee has committed to make sure there is Challah, Wine and grape juice so that we can pray together over the bread and wine. Additionally the committee met last week and decided on a TRIAL of earlier Shabbat Services starting January 6, Shabbat 6:30 every Shabbat not just family share shabbat to see if we can increase our in-person attendance. This is trial over the next 6 months

So starting January 6, 2023 in person Shabbat, every Friday night will begin at 6:30 pm.

Also, every week in January, 2023, Sherry Barnes and Barbara Senges will have Saturday evening zoom Havdalah services at 6:30 watch the Friday message for zoom link.

Thank you so much for TE Religious School, the Rosenbergs, Sisterhood and the Baking Club for December Onegs.

It does seem that timing and Oneg are part of the special sauce to increase participation at Friday night Shabbat services. We have plenty of homemade desserts in the freezer but we do need one or two congregants to coordinate set up and clean up. This can be done by phone to act as “point person/persons” for oneg coordination. When congregants have special life events, yahrzeit, anniversary’s, birthdays, births, ALL LIFE EVENTS, the volunteer point person would note it in the Friday message. This is great way to volunteer from afar.

Contact Claire Warren for this very important Mitzvah.



July/August 2022

Hello from the Religious Practices Committee. We have a special outdoor service planned for June 24 at Band Shell near the Niantic Boardwalk, feel free to bring a picnic and join us before services. There are tables a plenty. Summer Services began July 1 with Hannah Linder, Bayla McCaffery and Sherry Barnes leading the Shabbat service at Temple Emanu-El. It is our tradition that summer services will be led by our congregants. As of this article, you will not want to miss

Services will be led by:

July 8, Hebrew Translation Class

July 15, Debrah Linder

July 22, Rabbi Marc Elstrand and Cantorial Soloist Sherry Barnes – service will be outside at Harkness

July 29, Eileen Shapiro

August 5, Wolfe, Rosenberg, and Feldman families

August 12 Intermediate Hebrew Class, with Pat Sher chanting Torah

August 19, Rabbi Marc and Cantorial Soloist Sherry Barnes – shabbat service will be outside at Waterford Beach.

August 26, the Temple Emanu-El Band

Also for summer is a Bagel and Brachas walk at Bluff Point, Saturday, August 13, we will gather at 9 am at the picnic tables for a bagel nosh and then a walk to the point which is rated easy and will be about 3 miles round trip, the whole loop is 3.6 miles. If you have not joined this event in the past, it is great way to begin to prepare for our High Holy Days.

We are beginning to plan for TE High Holy Day services. We are planning for in person services but understand that COVID-19 virus has been unflagging in its ability create new and more easily transmissible variants, so we remain fluid in our response. We are looking for members to join the religious practices committee, and as always, comments and ideas on how to keep the services meaningful and engaging.

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