Temple Israel is located in beautiful Greenfield, MA. All are welcome to stop by and visit or attend our services and community events.
Because we are the only synagogue in Franklin county, we try to meet the needs of our diverse community. The Temple was affiliated with the Conservative movement, however, we are no longer affiliated with any movement. We use both a Conservative and a Jewish Renewal prayerbook with transliteration for Shabbat and holiday services. We use the Reconstructionist machhzor for the for the High Holidays, further testifying to the eclectic nature of our community.
We are an egalitarian congregation, with women and men taking part in leading services, reading reading from the Torah, acting as Gabbaim, and teaching Torah. We adapt prayers to include the matriarchs and we use gender-neutral English when referring to God. Most prayers are chanted and sung in Hebrew with some read in English translation.
The second or third Friday of the month is a child-oriented service beginning at 5:30 which includes story-telling, enjoyed by adults and children alike. It is followed by a dairy pot-luck dinner. Other Friday evening services are scheduled a few times through the year, but not on a regular basis.
Saturday morning Shabbat services happen regularly September through June and begin at 10 AM. Please check the calendar for any changes in the schedule.
Our High Holiday services are open to the public. Members and others, for a fee, can reserve seats, but there are always open seats available to anyone who would like to join us. We offer children's services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, and provide child care to those who register for it in advance. Other holiday services and events are held as well.
We are active in the local Interfaith Council, which hosts interfaith services and provides free community meals throughout the year at the Second Congregational Church. Many members of our congregation have donated extensively of their time, skills and resources to support and sustain these programs.
Rabbi Efraim Eisen leads services, teaches adults and children, and guides the various groups and committees that make up the Temple Israel community in a joyful manner . His love of music and inspiration from many Jewish sources enrich our davenning and programming.
In addition to his work at Temple Israel, Efraim and his wife, Rosalie, lead the "Basherte" workshops in which Jewish singles gather to examine their lives and move toward finding their basherte, their destined partner.
Temple Israel offers a religious school program under the direction of Janice Colbert. With a staff of three teachers, it educates students from kindergarten through the bar/bat mitzvah year. Our overall objective is to transmit Jewish concepts, values and practices in an interesting, meaningful manner so that students will develop a positive identification with their Jewish heritage. The primary goal of our Hebrew language curriculum is to help students feel comfortable as practicing Jews who are able to participate in synagogue services, holiday celebrations and life-cycle rituals. The teachers have a variety of skills, in art, drama, reading instruction, dance, which enrich the program. The school meets twice a week.
Temple Israel holds a number of Family Education programs throughout the year, which are open to the public. Congregants lead a pre-school program as part of the Hadassah groups programming, called "Al Galgalim" (Training Wheels).
Adult Education programs include films, lectures, discussions on a wide variety of topics. Rabbi Eisen leads classes throughout the years.
With our dynamic teen leader, Amanda ___, we sponsor monthly teen activities with Jewish themes.
Groups and Activities
A Rosh Hodesh (New Moon) group meets monthly at the Temple. It is open to Jewish women and consists of study, discussion, art and other themes, led by a different member each time.
Our Hadassah group has a full schedule of activities, book discussions, evening programs, fundraising events for Hadassah's work in Israel and the US. It sponsors the Al Galgalim pre-school program.
Chesed - Caring for our Community
We prepare meals, visit the sick and elderly, and look for other ways to take care of those in our community in need. We provide a few community meals during the year.
Members volunteer time and effort to keep the Temple in good physical shape. Our garden was created by volunteers, who continue to maintain it.
Sometimes in combination with fundraisers, sometimes for fun, we hold social events such as a vaudeville show, an auction, new member Oneg Shabbat, and more.
Temple Israel Building and Facilities
We own our building, which includes the sanctuary, a library, offices, a function hall with a kitchen and classrooms. Our present sanctuary, designed by architect M. Louis Goodman of New York with an art designed by Michael Singer of Vermont and calligraphic ornamentation by Peggy Davis of Colrain, was finished in 1991. Containing design elements of traditional Eastern European wooden synagogues as well as the simple line of New England architecture, Temple Israel's unique building has been featured in Architectural Record, October 1992 and is a show at the Jewish Museum in New York.