Making Our Temple Accessible to All
By Philip Platcow, President, Temple Emeth
It’s been 15 years since my young and intermarried family moved to Brookline and was welcomed at Temple Emeth. I discovered that services on Saturday morning at the Temple offered our children a place to run around in a friendly environment, while I could get in some personal spiritual time. The kids became comfortable at the Temple and I discovered a warm group of people who would help us raise our three kids with as wonderful a value system as we could hope for.
When people ask me why I would want to be President of Temple Emeth, all I can think to say is, “How could I think of not being President of Temple Emeth.” Our children are now 20, 18 and 15 and Karen and I are now in the position of welcoming new young families to our Temple, as we say in our prayers, “from one generation to another.”
I can think of no bigger priority for all of us than that we attract and nurture young families in our vibrant Temple. Today, families come in all sorts of configurations and from all sorts of places and our Temple should provide a welcoming network, just as Abraham and Sarah did thousands of years ago. As we embrace past traditions, we find ourselves evolving to meet the challenges of today’s generation
Temple Emeth is fully accessible for people with physical disabilities. We need to think similarly about more subtle barriers that exist for intermarried families or non-Jews who are members of or are visiting our community. Our services, communications, learning and facilities must all help to break down “barriers” to access and make all feel comfortable. What we do to make non-Jews in our community informed and comfortable also benefits the Jews in our community. We are not homogeneous, our community has various levels of family history, knowledge and observance – but ALL are welcome at Temple Emeth.
As we approach Rosh Hashanah 5773 and beyond, we envision a world of peace for the Jewish people – and all people. Even as that seems so elusive, we can envision a Temple community that is welcoming, accessible and friendly to all. Let us work together to break down barriers to access for all in this coming year.