TUJ was formed in 1974. It is an inclusive Reform Jewish congregation with members of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations. Our community is inclusive and welcomes Jews, non-Jews and Jews by choice; intermarried and intramarried, couples and singles; and all who wish to worship with us in seeking peace, justice, righteousness and a community of concern for “repairing the world” (Tikkun Olam).
Together, we seek to unite in times of joy and in times of need as a congregational family to reinforce each other in building a temple home that embraces all in the common quest of humanity to join the Creator in completing creation.
In memory of 9/11, our congregation rededicates itself to fulfilling the vision of the prophet Micah, where “no nation will learn war any more and no one shall sit under a vine and fig tree and be made to feel afraid. For let all the peoples walk each one in the name of its god. And we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.” (Prophet Micah: Chapter 4, verses 3 -5)
Although TUJ holds its prayer services in the Park Avenue Christian Church (where we suitably convert the altar to a bima), we are proud to say we are a totally Reform Jewish congregation. We respect the religious beliefs of our host congregation, but we faithfully follow the tradition and beliefs of our ancestors.
In appreciation of our founder, Rabbi Roy Rosenberg z”l
The Palmist said, The days of our years are threescore and ten or by reason of strength, fourscore. Rabbi Roy Rosenberg came to the end of his days on August 11, 2001, in accordance with the Psalmist’s perception of the dimension of human existence. As is now fitting, it is left to us to seek the measure of his life. We can take note of the very exemplary years of devoted marriage he shared with Ruth and their five children and his peripatetic journeying, serving Temples in New Orleans and Honolulu.
For us as a congregation, it is the life of his mind that is of primary concern since our congregation owes its being to his idealism and dedication. Roy was a scholar in a very old-fashioned sense. Along with the rabbis of old, whose words form the text of the Talmud, he shared a curiosity about the far limits of our awareness of the nature of the cosmos in which we find ourselves. He was old-fashioned in his knowledge of the tradition in which he received smichah – ordination. He was fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic and its western variant, Syriac. Unlike many of his colleagues, he knew the words of the Zohar the paradigmatic Kabbalist, prerationalist, mystical text. He was old-fashioned in his devotion to the texture of Judaic ritual – however much he might change it from time to time, it was always out of a sense of its essential magnitude. His wide-ranging curiosity led him in one of his books to explore the significance of the Qumran community documents as they related to the development of Christian theology.
We must stand in awe at his courage in the early 1970s reaching the decision to leave the congregation where he was then the rabbi, to found a new congregation devoted to an acknowledgement of the reality of intermarriage in our contemporary society. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform Rabbinic organization, now as in 1904, retained its ban on its members officiating at a marriage ceremony where one of the participants was not Jewish. Roy did not understand how, immediately thereafter, such a newly married couple could be welcomed into a synagogue. So he organized our congregation, Da’at Elohim, — the Temple of Universal Judaism – to welcome those who came to seek a blessing on their marriage in a Judaic rite without regard for their formal religious affiliation. And for many years he was perhaps alone in his dedication to that proposition.
And so we as a congregation can say Kaddish for one whose curiosity about the world in which he lived, and whose courage and dedication to an ideal in which he believed passionately, led him to build the congregation we call our own.
• Sun, Nov 18 10am-5pm Global Day of Jewish Learning: About Blessing
Congregation Da’at Elohim is a contributing sponsor of this all day event. At 2pm, Rabbi Fridkis will be teaching on the topic: The Jewish Blessings of Intermarriage: How Interfaith Couples and Families Can Contribute to a Jewish Renaissance
Class Description: Within the progressive Jewish world, we in the Jewish community except and embrace individuals, families and the offspring of the intermarried. Envisioning the benefits and contributions of intermarriage, however, is a difficult leap of faith for us. Through the use of Talmudic texts, modern responsa (Hebrew and English texts provided – no Hebrew required) and discussion of steps we in the Jewish world can take, we will see that Interfaith Couples and Families can contribute to a true renaissance of current Jewish life and the future of Judaism itself