One of the largest Jewish Temples in the world is opening a new campus in New York City just before the High Holy Days.
Temple Emanu-El will be opening its new campus within the General Theological Seminary, located at 440 West 21st Street in Chelsea, with programming geared towards young families. This recent expansion answers the call of Jewish New Yorkers who are seeking more connection to the local Jewish community as well as those who experienced a change in the way they feel about religious affiliation over the course of the COVID pandemic.
“The opening of Emanu-El Downtown anticipates the start of a new chapter for this historic congregation, and an expansion of a community that has always been marked by compassion and connection. As we continue to recover from two years of pandemic life, Jewish families all over the city are looking for ways to reengage with Judaism. Emanu-El Downtown will offer these families an exciting new outlet where they can build, nurture and enjoy Jewish programming with their children and loved ones,” said Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson, Peter and Mary Kalikow Senior Rabbinic Chair.
According to the recent UJA Covid-19 Impact Study, which studied how COVID changed the lives of Jewish New Yorkers, around 20% of Jewish adults indicated that their attachment to being Jewish grew during the pandemic. The study also found that feeling significantly or moderately like part of their local Jewish community was associated with a 25% reduction in an individual’s odds of anxiety or depression, a 25% reduction in odds of being socially isolated, and a 50% reduction in the chance of having a problem with substance abuse. The survey concluded that attending Jewish programs and participating in religious services had a significant, positive relationship with the well-being of Jewish adults.
Emanu-El Downtown plans to be a hub for family programming in its first year, including hosting parent groups, Shabbat celebrations, a 2s program, and Religious School. This new campus will host a family-friendly fall festival that highlights the upcoming holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on Sunday, Sept. 18 from 3 to 5 p.m.
“We are seeking to create connections and community for downtown New Yorkers. We are eager to meet the community where they are and work to establish a laboratory for Jewish engagement. We are thrilled to open our doors to the downtown community,” said Dina Mann, Director of Emanu-El Downtown.