Updated: May 30, 2021
PROVIDENCE — Despite the obstacles COVID-19 brought to local communities, a Providence synagogue continues to bring positivity to its congregants. Temple Emanu-El is a conservative synagogue located in the Mount Hope area of Providence, Rhode Island. By moving its activities online, the temple has been able to host online services for both adults and children. They also provide religious, social and educational programs for the Jewish Community.
In the past, along with traditional events, Temple Emanu-El has embarked on trips to Israel and Italy. Though they have been unable to travel due to pandemic restrictions, they still find ways to connect outside of their usual meetings. The temple is currently hosting trivia nights, knitting groups and common interest meetings that people are able to enjoy in a virtual setting.
The temple is always looking for new ways to get more people involved in the community. It does so by hosting and advertising various events online. Currently, the temple has managed to connect with people all over the country through Zoom, regularly hosting religious services.
Senior Rabbi Michael Fel discussed some of the ideas they try to bring awareness to.
“Judaism talks about the good and the bad in the world. We love to spread awareness through social media and love to connect with new people,” Fel said.
The congregation is always looking for new ways to help people find their own sense of community.
The temple also aims to help individuals in need of assistance. They regularly send out surveys inquiring about people’s desires and how they can provide for them. Along with daily reports, they call congregants to ask if they need assistance with tasks such as grocery shopping or obtaining COVID-19 vaccinations. The temple also has a social worker on staff and provides services in regards to navigating through life.
The Mount Hope area contains around 770 Jewish households. Fel said there are various synagogues on the east side that serve the Jewish community. Along with local supporters, Temple Emanu-El partners with churches and synagogues around the country to broaden its populace.
For one of its programs, the temple partnered with a leader of a church in South Carolina, as well as a Rabbi from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to hold a discussion surrounding gun violence. Temple Emanu-El allows people from all over the world to attend its Zoom service and creates a safe and welcoming environment for all viewers involved.
Temple Emanu-El has found ways to strive during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistently working to support its congregants and their needs. The temple has managed to host social, educational and religious events all online, adapting to restrictions and challenges with virtual solutions.
The temple’s doors and Zoom meetings are always open to new people wishing to get involved in the community.
Reporters Alexis Dascher & Helena Mantyla