Mission Statement - Temple Emanu-El of West Essex is a Reform Jewish community that brings us together to celebrate our simchas (joys), provides support for other times, and meets our religious, educational, social, and cultural needs. All ages are inspired by our rabbi and cantor to perpetuate Judaism by engaging in lifelong learning, embracing Israel, performing acts of social justice, cherishing the Torah, and worshiping together. Our diverse community is welcoming to Jews of all backgrounds including interfaith families and Jews-by-Choice. Within our warm and inviting surroundings, Temple Emanu-El encourages meaningful participation and creates a special sense of belonging.   Our Congregation As a Reform Congregation we treasure the religious and ethical values handed down to us through the ages. Our goal is to interpret, preserve and foster these values cherished in our tradition. We believe in the continual revelation and inspiration of God. At the same time, modern knowledge encourages us to create and accept changes in practices and ideas. Reform Judaism is a living religion that takes the inherited wisdom and practices of Judaism and makes it understandable to all. It is compatible with life in our modern-day society. Every congregation is special in its own way. At Temple Emanu-El, we believe there are three attributes which best define us a Temple Community. First, we strive to achieve a sense of Mishpacha, the Hebrew word for "family", so that a feeling of warmth and friendliness permeates our Congregation. Second, we accept the challenge of being personally involved in tikkun olam, which means "healing the world." Third, we encourage all Temple members to participate actively in Temple activities, especially those in which they have an interest. These characteristics determine the personality of our Temple. Religious Education is an important priority at our Temple. We value education as one way to pass on the history, traditions and rituals of Reform Judaism. Our children's religious education focuses on the foundations of Jewish life, while appropriate activities are provided to meet their developmental needs. We offer educational programs to students from Kindergarten through adult. We are very proud of our Nationally Accredited Religious School.     Our History - The congregation was founded by 11 families seeking a Reform Jewish service in the growing suburb of Livingston, New Jersey. By the fall of 1955, 56 families had been recruited and High Holy Days services were led by student Rabbi Milton Rosenfeld from the Hebrew Union College. In 1956, the congregation purchased a hot dog stand off Northfield Road as their permanent home. By 1961, ground had been broken on that very spot to build their own sanctuary designed by renowned architects Peter Blake and Julian Neski. The new building, with its soaring peaked roof, is a landmark in Livingston and evokes the Israelites' Tent of Meeting in the desert wilderness. Most visitors think it looks like Noah's Ark. A major expansion of the building including a new main entrance, office space, the library, and the Holocaust Remembrance Center was completed in 2004. This campaign also included a new Early Childhood Center (ECC). In 2005-2006, the congregation celebrated its 50th anniversary with year-long programs and events. Although smaller than most of the area congregations, it is known for its haimish attitude and welcoming atmosphere. During the Summer of 2011, our Temple family renewed our sanctuary, making it both more modern, and more comfortable. Some changes included a new sound system, bimah, ner tamid, and many new features.   Temple Emanu-El is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism.   Temple Policy Manual Revised 4_2016   Temple Emanu-El Constitution & By-Laws Revised 05192015