Volunteer? Or Need Assistance?

Sunday, May 17, 2020–Hearts and Homes for Refugees Concert TONIGHT, 6 pm
Because of COVID-19, more and more refugees are slipping into financial crisis, and some are ineligible for government services. WRI partners Catholic Charities and HIAS have reached out for help. A portion of ticket proceeds and 100% of donations will go to the Hearts & Homes COVID-19 Relief Fund to assist refugees. Thank you for your support of our neighbors in need. Click for more information, and to join the concert tonight

Thursday, May 7, 2020–Congregants Need to Connect
Do you have a CHROMEBOOK to DONATE or LEND to fellow Temple Israel congregants? We have some congregants who have no way of connecting with the congregation…Can you help? Please contact Mia Egelberg or Amy Ecker at

Wednesday, May 6, 2020–”Temple Israel Shops!”
“Temple Israel Shops” has expanded to include congregants 65+ and older.
 Let Temple Israel dedicated “shoppers” shop for groceries for you. Click here to find out how!

Friday, May 1, 2020–Thank New Rochelle Essential Workers with #NewRoStrong Gratitude

#NewRoStrong Gratitude is a community-wide effort to thank New Rochelle’s essential government workers that have been working through this pandemic to keep our City clean and safe. Individuals, families, youth groups, sports teams, houses of worship, neighborhood associations, etc. are coming together to express their appreciation with food, notes of encouragement, and in other ways.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Refer to the Thanking Our Essential Workers flyer that lists those departments welcoming meals. Review what meal, day, time parameters that are listed for the department you are selecting. Reach out to the department coordinator to inform him/her that you are ordering a meal for the staff and when it can be expected. Then contact one of your favorite New Rochelle local restaurants to put in your order for either pick up or delivery. You can also make cards or signs to go along with your order.

Share photos and stories of how you are thanking our essential workers with #NewRoStrong #WeAreInThisTogether #TINRTogether to share with the temple community.

Monday, March 30, 2020–GALA Postponed

Hello everyone,

Although not surprising, it is with regret that I share the news that we are postponing the Gala. With businesses closed,  and social distancing a must, we simply cannot proceed.

– Margie Ostrove, Gala Chair

Monday, March 23, 2020–Event Cancellations

The Community Shabbat dinner (Friday, March 27th), and the Brotherhood & Social Action Breakfast (Sunday, March 29th) are both cancelled. However, the Community Shabbat service will be live streamed. So please join the community by sharing the service together.

Friday, March 20, 2020–Community Update (Rich Alter, President)

Fellow Congregants,

We find ourselves in uncharted territory. We’ve spent the past few weeks making constant adjustments to ensure we kept our doors open and were available for our congregants’ needs. The Executive Order issued by Governor Cuomo today requires yet another change in how we will accomplish this in the coming weeks. While Temple Israel will remain “open”, our physical building will close after today. Further we’ve asked all Temple personnel to refrain from any in-person contact with congregants on behalf of Temple Israel with one exception: pastoral care.

While this hopefully final step is alarming, it is necessary to comply with the goals of the Governor’s order and to do our part in stemming the spread of this disease. With that being said I want to be clear: while our building is closed, Temple Israel remains open! Our staff remains committed to supporting all of the work Temple Israel does to support our community. Our clergy have devoted themselves to being able to support you and our community in times like this. If you need help please know that this community is here for you.

We will continue to do all we can virtually. Our clergy and staff are constantly working to marshal new resources we can make available to you on-line. Adult education classes will continue. Bnei Mitzvah preparation will continue. While very different in a virtual setting we’re finding these interactions can be more meaningful than ever under our current shared circumstances.

As I write this our Shabbat services are just concluding. I’ll conclude as Rabbi Weiner did. May you find wholeness and peace on this Shabbat.

Shabbat shalom,
Rich Alter,

Monday, March 16, 2020–How You Can Help Locally

1. Donate to aid in food & meal distribution:

2. Support HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle

  • Drop non-perishable food at 100 Maywood Road, New Rochelle, NY 10804
  • Text 914-260-8400 and they will pick up an item from you
  • VENMO a small donation to @hope-hickey and needed items will be purchased by Albert Leonard middle schoolers Claire Hickey & Ellie Dunn.

(LIST: Canned items – vegetables, fruit, soup, tuna, chicken, beans; cereal, pasta, rice, granola bars, peanut butter and jelly)

3. Home on the Sound is organizing volunteer drivers for older adults. If you are symptom free Contact Elaine Weingarten on Monday, March 16, at (914) 899-3150

4Write and copy a note with your contact information and put in neighbor’s mailboxes offering assistance.

Please email with more ideas and helpful information and we will try to share.

Friday, March 13, 2020–Congregational Second Night Passover Seder Cancelled (for Thursday, April 9, 2020)

Passover is perhaps the Jewish holiday most closely associated with home and family. We gather together annually to celebrate God’s redeeming our people and bringing us out of Egypt. Each year, members of Temple Israel gather together to celebrate the second Seder with our congregational family. Sadly, events this year have made it likely that it will be impossible or at best imprudent for us to gather together to celebrate Passover. We are announcing the cancellation of the congregational Seder now, so that anyone who was planning to attend will have time to make other arrangements. Each year, the Seder closes with a traditional prayer that next year we will celebrate in Jerusalem. Let us also pray that next year we will be able to celebrate together at Temple Israel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020–Helping Others

Many of you have responded when this form was shared from temple on Sunday, but we want to share again to ensure we have an active group of volunteers and to determine who may need assistance be it someone older, quarantined or just needing a friendly phone call. We’re all feeling the fear and uncertainty that come with a new threat and so many unanswered questions. This is when our shared community is at its best. So many members of our congregation are eager to provide support. Let us know how we can help you or if you want to help.

Community Assistance – As is so often the case, many have inquired how to help congregants who become either self-quarantined or quarantined. Thank you. Please click here to volunteer to assist congregants in need OR if we may assist you. This may be acts as simple as grocery runs, medication pick-up, pet supply deliveries or other requests for basic necessities. It may just be making calls to check in.

If you know congregants who are unlikely to read this please let us know by emailing We will ensure those congregants are contacted. Everyone in our community should know that we are here for each other. Feel free to contact our social action chairs, Amy Ecker (917-348-2301) or Mia Egelberg (914-629-2794).

Feel free to share.

Be well,

Amy Ecker and Mia Egelberg
Social Action Committee Chairs

Tuesday, March 10, 2020–Community Update

Dear Fellow Community Members,

While we recently explained that we would provide future coronavirus updates through our website, Governor Cuomo’s noontime press conference requires that we reach out to you more directly.

The Governor established a “Containment Area” within a 1-mile radius of Young Israel. Temple Israel DOES NOT fall within the Containment area. Within that area, schools and establishments where people congregate in large numbers have been directed to close from March 12th – March 25th. Albert Leonard Middle School, Ward Elementary School, and New Rochelle High School all fall within the zone. Additionally, authorities are asking those living or working within the zone to avoid congregating in large numbers.

Temple Israel will remain open. However, even though we are not located in the containment zone, we want to be sure to do our part to support the goals of the policy. For this reason, we will be limiting activities that would likely result in gatherings of individuals from within the containment zone.

Chavaya – Beginning this evening Chavaya is closed. Our clergy and staff spent the afternoon attempting to call every Chavaya family to alert them to the change of status. I am sorry if we failed to reach you. Any students who show up to the program tonight, not having received word, will of course be welcomed into our building until they can be picked up.

Kehillah – The Kehillah program remains open. We have worked diligently to separate the activities and footprint of Kehillah from the rest of our campus. We appreciate the ongoing patience and cooperation of the Kehillah families. We will continue to follow our most stringent cleaning protocols and keep Kehillah families informed as this very fluid situation continues to unfold.

Worship – Friday night and Saturday morning services will be streamed through our website. Congregants MAY NOT attend these services. The only exception will be Saturday morning when the immediate family of this week’s bar mitzvah student will attend service to celebrate as their son becomes bar mitzvah.

Purim Spiel – Unfortunately the Purim Spiel has been cancelled. We cannot move forward with an activity that typically brings so many of us into such close contact.

Both Talmud Study and Torah Study will be conducted via the internet this week. Members of the Talmud class will receive instructions from Rabbi Weiner directly and Torah Study attendees will receive information from Rabbi Nichols.

Temple Israel remains open specifically because we are a sanctuary. While we are shying away from large groups, YOU ARE WELCOME AT TEMPLE ISRAEL. Our clergy remain eager and available to support all those who need help during these uncertain times. As a community we stand ready to help. Please let us know if we can help you.

Rich Alter,
Temple President

Anita Aronoff,
Executive Director

Tuesday, March 10, 2020–Purim Spiel CANCELLED

We are sorry to announce the Purim Spiel has been cancelled. Additionally, all Chavaya classes have been cancelled. Please watch for a congregation wide email providing updates. In addition, Committee Meetings and Brotherhood Schmooze & Booze, scheduled for Wednesday, March 11th, will be rescheduled.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020–Community Update

3/10 10:19:  In consultation with her own doctor, one of our Chavaya educators has chosen to self-quarantine.  The educator’s child has a classmate who tested positive for coronovirus.  The educator and her child are awaiting test results.  Neither the educator nor her child has been instructed to quarantine by any health department.  Any questions may be directed to Anita Aronoff (914.235.1800 x216) or Rebecca Elkus-Ferst (914.235.1800 x221)

3/10  10:17:  Kehillah pick-up and drop-off has been redirected to the Kehillah entrance at the back of our building.  Unfortunately safety concerns do not allow us to route traffic to the rear of the building.  Parents are asked to park in the main parking lot and walk around the side of our building to the rear.  Access between the Kehillah wing and the rest of the Temple will be restricted.  Any questions or concerns may be directed to Anita Aronoff (914.235.1800 x216) or Laurie Thomas (914.637.3808)

Sunday, March 8, 2020–Community Update

Fellow community members,

I’d like to update you regarding Temple Israel’s response to the challenges presented by the coronavirus.  Moving forward please look to our website for the most recent updates regarding our programming, facilities, or measures we are taking to keep our community safe and informed.

We continue to look to our local, county, state, and federal partners for guidance.  Unfortunately, many of these beleaguered partners are struggling to keep pace with developments on the ground.  However, we are fortunate to be part of a network of more than 140 Jewish institutions around Westchester.  Through this network we have been able to gain access to public officials.  More importantly, constant communication with our sister organizations has frequently proved to be the best, most accurate, source of local updates.  We will continue to use every resource to remain informed and vigilant.

Should anyone be struggling with any issue, whether related to the coronavirus or not, please know that our clergy are available as support to our entire community. The clergy may be reached via email ( or call the synagogue office at 914-235-1800. In addition to regular hours, there is always a clergy member available on call. As we struggle individually and communally, we strive to serve our community as best as possible.

Some updates regarding actions taken in the last week and procedures moving forward:

Steps already taken:

Kehillah – This week we took steps to keep our Kehillah program (infants and toddlers) as separate as possible from the rest of our programming and personnel.  To this end access to the Kehillah wing has been restricted to Kehillah families, teachers and staff.  Chavaya students are using a separate entrance to avoid overlap with those of Kehillah families.  On Shabbat the children celebrated in Lapidus rather than in the sanctuary.  Our clergy, normally a frequent part of the Kehillah day, are in constant contact with our older children.  As such they have sharply curtailed their interaction with the Kehillah children.  These efforts are meant to minimize the contact overlap between these groups.

Purim Carnival – We were saddened to announce the cancellation of this year’s Purim Carnival.  While we have no reports of infection among the Temple Israel community, prudence demanded we not move forward with an event that would have brought so many of our youngest members into such close contact.  Ball pits and jumpy castles would have presented an unacceptable risk in the current environment.

Deep Clean – We continue to use our upgraded protocols regarding cleanliness in our building.  In between sessions of Chavaya, our staff have gone into the Chavaya classrooms to clean and disinfect using these upgraded protocols.  This weekend, with the Kehillah school closed, the wing of Kehillah school was also given a deep clean.

Daily Behavior – The CDC makes clear the most effective tools available to us are common sense and excellent hygiene.  We have been working to minimize physical contact within our building.  For the time being, handshakes and hugs are no longer an acceptable greeting.  To show real affection and care a wave or “elbow-bump” is preferred.  Handwashing is our greatest weapon.  Our clergy and staff are acutely aware that frequent, 20-second, hand washings are their responsibility to both their co-workers and you.

We have also changed the manner in which we serve food during Chavaya meals, TIFTY events, and staff kiddush.  We have eliminated self-service in favor of service by staff members wearing gloves.

Moving Forward:

 Communication – Past and future updates will be available on our website  This will be the most current source of information regarding programming changes, closures, and community updates.

 Kehillah – We will continue to maintain the separation between Kehillah and the rest of our programming and personnel.  We benefit from a partnership with Bright Horizons which partners with over 1,000 other organizations in caring for children.  We will draw on their expertise as well as that of county, state, and federal health professionals to continue to implement best practices.  At present there are no plans to cancel or limit Kehillah programming.  However, we must insist that if your child is not feeling well or is feverish, they not be brought to Kehillah.  Our staff has been instructed to be especially vigilant for any signs of sickness or unusual behavior.  Children exhibiting these signs will be kept out of their classroom and will need to be picked up from Kehillah immediately.

We continue to operate under flu season precautions with utmost care to handwashing and disinfecting of toys and surfaces.  In addition, we have increased our daily cleanings throughout the building, including disinfecting door handles and doorknobs twice a day, ordering and installing additional hand sanitizer.

We are unaware of any incidence of coronavirus infection among any member of our Kehillah community.  Today a Kehillah parent made us aware that the family has chosen to self-quarantine.  A member of the family had visited a doctor’s office where a staff member was subsequently positively diagnosed.  Neither the individual or the family was asked or directed to quarantine.  They have chosen to do so out of an abundance of caution and respect for their community.

Chavaya – Chavaya remains open.  Some parents have expressed concern that we remain open while some of our sister congregations have suspended their programs.  We are aware of the closings and the circumstances surrounding each of them.  In each case the institution became aware of significant overlap with individuals who tested positive.  Temple Israel has had no such indications.  Our facilities team will continue to clean the Chavaya spaces, as outlined by the CDC and the health department.  We will continue to keep Chavaya programs on separate sides of the building from the Kehillah program to limit contact between the two communities.  We will share risk factors with you as we become aware of them.  Ultimately it is your choice how you wish to limit your exposure.  We will support your choices in whatever way we can.  If your child is sick or feverish please do not allow them to attend Chavaya.

Worship – Worship services will continue according to our regular schedule, found here. Our services are streamed.  All may participate and enjoy them on-line here.  The CDC is encouraging older people and people with severe chronic medical conditions to “stay at home as much as possible.”  We’d urge you to follow their advice and join us on-line.  We would be happy to help anyone who requires assistance accessing us on-line.  Please call the Temple at 914-235-1800 or email our Executive Director,

Adult Programming – Updates concerning future program will be found on our website.  You may also call us at 914-235-1800.

Community Assistance – As is so often the case, many have inquired how to help congregants who become either self-quarantined or quarantined. Thank you.  Please click here to volunteer to assist congregants in need OR if we may assist you. This may be acts as simple as grocery runs, medication pick-up, pet supply deliveries or other requests for basic necessities.  It may just be making calls to check in.

If you know congregants who are unlikely to read this please let us know by emailing   We will ensure those congregants are contacted.  Everyone in our community should know that we are here for each other.  Feel free to contact our social action chairs, Amy Ecker (917-348-2301) or Mia Egelberg (914-629-2794).

We’re all feeling the fear and uncertainty that come with a new threat and so many unanswered questions.  This is when our shared community is at its best.  So many members of our congregation are eager to provide support.  Let us know how we can help you.

We are a community that adds meaning and purpose to modern lives through an inclusive approach to Judaism.

We live our Jewish values in our worship, celebration, lifelong learning and Tikkun Olam—the repair of the world.

Rich Alter,

Tuesday, March 3, 2020–Update on Safety Measures

Dear Fellow Community Members,

This evening Temple Israel participated in an informational conference call with representatives of 140 Jewish institutions around Westchester regarding coronavirus. County Executive George Latimer and Brad Hutton, Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, addressed the group.

The speakers confirmed that a member of Young Israel of New Rochelle has contracted, and is being treated for, coronavirus. His family is self-quarantined in their home. One of the family’s children attends SAR Academy in Riverdale. A handful of Jewish day schools and nursery schools closed upon recognizing the possibility that some of their attendees have siblings who might have interacted with children from SAR.

While Young Israel was directed by the state to cancel all religious services, the other programs that closed did so voluntarily, out of an abundance of caution. The Department of Health is asking that any individuals who attended religious services, a funeral, or a b’nei mitzvah at Young Israel on February 22nd or 23rd self-quarantine until March 8th. As such, if anyone from your household attended any of these events, we must ask that you not bring your children to Kehillah or Chavaya, or join us in any community events at Temple Israel prior to March 8th.

We will continue to closely monitor developments and look to our local, county, and state partners for guidance. If you have any questions our Executive Director, Anita Aronoff, is happy to speak with you. Of course, our clergy remain eager to support our community in any way they can. As always, a clergy member remains on call at all times. While the constant bombardment of headlines can be overwhelming, please remember you are part of a community. Together we will keep each other informed, prepared, and calm.

Rich Alter,
Temple President

Tuesday, March 3, 2020–Safety Measures Regarding Coronavirus Update

Dear Fellow Community Members,

Along with the first confirmed case of coronavirus in New Rochelle come understandable questions and concerns. We share those concerns. We continue to pay close attention to the situation while staying attuned to recommendations from city, county, and state authorities. As I write this, New Rochelle’s schools remain open. However, some of our sister organizations in the Jewish community have opted to close.

Out of an abundance of caution we will be implementing additional precautions at Temple Israel. These steps are designed to minimize overlap between the activities of our youngest community members, the infants and toddlers in our Kehillah program, and the rest of our community. To that end we will immediately take the following precautions:

  1. As student arrival for Chavaya (Tuesdays and Thursdays) overlaps with pick-up time for many Kehillah families, Chavaya students will be directed to the religious school entrance while Kehillah families will continue to use the main entrance.
  2. Access to the Kehillah wing will be limited to Kehillah teachers and staff. For the time being clergy will not enter the Kehillah wing.
  3. Our custodial staff, which continues to maintain the highest standards of safety and cleaning, will continue to service Kehillah following flu season protocols.

By taking simple steps you can continue to do your part:

  1. If you or your children feel sick, stay home!
  2. The best tool we have remains frequent and thorough handwashing. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw it in the trash.
  5. Absent use of a tissue instruct your children to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Our concerns are best addressed by acting together, as a community. We will remain in close contact with local and state authorities and will continue to update you should there be subsequent changes at Temple Israel.

Rich Alter,
Temple President

Anita Aronoff,
Executive Director

Thursday, February 27, 2020–Safety Measures Regarding Coronavirus

Dear friends,

Our team at Temple Israel is closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus. Please be assured we will continue to work in tandem with our community partners, stay on top of the most up-to-date information and take every step possible to keep our community healthy and safe.

We are operating under flu season precautions, both in how we clean our building and how we conduct our programs and meals. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following steps towards minimizing the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCOV:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

No specific changes to scheduled activities, events or outings are currently planned, and no governmental directives have been released. It is likely that there will be additional cases in the United States, and we will continue to keep the community informed. While we continue to monitor updates, we encourage you to do the same using the following links:

Center for Disease Control 2019 nCoV website

NYS Department of Health Novel Coronavirus Website

New York State Department of Health Local Health Departments 

New York State Center for School Health

Westchester County Health Department

Rich Alter,
Temple President