Temple Life

Why should I join Wise Temple?

  • To answer this question, we could highlight Wise Temple’s unique service options, endless child and adult learning programs, meaningful social justice opportunities, beautiful facilitates, or rich tradition, but what makes this congregation special is its members.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re married or single, with children or without, young or old, there is a place for you here and people eager to welcome you. Yes, you can choose from 3 or 4 Shabbat service options every week, so you find the one that speaks to you. Yes, you can bring your child to a nationally accredited religious school where they will grow and build their Jewish identity. Yes, you can challenge yourself in adult classes of nearly every Jewish topic. Yes, you can find meaningful social justice work that impacts the lives of others.

    But, when you bring yourself to these experiences, what you gain is not only spirituality, learning, and meaning; you gain a community – a community who meets you where you are, who is eager to share common experiences with you, who cares about you, who wants to celebrate your successes and comfort you in sadness. This is why you should join Wise Temple.

When is the right time in life to join?

  • Now is the right time to join.

    If you are young and single, recently married, or have very young children, now is the right time. If your kids are school age or they’ve left the nest, now is the right time. If you’re a senior adult, now is the right time.

    It is never too soon or too late to be a part of the Jewish community. No matter your life stage, you’ll find opportunities here that speak to you. Be a part of a growing Young Adult group, a vibrant Young Family group, numerous School Age Family groups, an engaged Midlife group, an active Senior Adult group, or a multi-generational sisterhood or brotherhood group. Each of these communities offers unique worship, learning, social justice, and purely social opportunities that speak to every skill, interest, and comfort level. So now is the right time.

How big is the Wise Temple Congregation?

  • There are 1150 families which makes people feel a part of something big, exciting and vibrant. But we focus on making a big place feel small by helping people make close connections to other congregants. 

What's the best way to stay informed of Wise Temple events?

  • In addition to e-mail notifications, the following tools are used to keep you informed of fulfilling opportunities for worship, learning, social justice, and community at Wise Temple.
    • WiseBytes, our weekly e-newsletter.
    • Kesher, our quarterly print newsletter.

Feeling Connected

Will I feel welcome at Wise Temple?

  • Yes. Our members reflect the diversity of the area, coming from all walks of life and many different religious backgrounds and ethnicities. We welcome Jewish singles and single parents, interfaith families, Jews of color, and Jewish families in all their diversity, including LGBTQ couples with or without children. Our programs are designed to meet the diverse spiritual, religious, educational, and social needs of all our members.

How can I get involved?

  • Wise Temple has no shortage of opportunities for involvement. Specific communities that make a big congregation feel small. Social Justice opportunities aplenty. Adult and child learning programs. A variety of worship experiences. When you join, we help connect you with the programs, groups, and opportunities that compliment your interests.

    If you’re looking to help strategize, plan, organize, lead, or implement, there are many opportunities to use your talents! Call Samantha Berinsky, Membership/Program Director, to talk about the role you will find most fulfilling. 

Membership

How do I become a member of Wise Temple? What is the process?

  • We hope you will choose to become part of the present and future of our congregation. To discuss membership, please contact Samantha Berinsky, Membership and Program Director or request more information by clicking here

What is my membership commitment?

  • We ask you to pay a "fair share self-investment” using our schedule as a guideline. No one will be denied membership due to financial circumstances. All Jews, or those with Jewish spouses or partners, are welcome to become members. Individuals and families who have questions about the membership commitment may work with our Executive Director to determine a mutually agreeable commitment. 

    We recognize the differing financial situations of those just starting out. This should never be a barrier to an active and involved Jewish life. As a result, we offer reduced dues to those under the age of 35.

Interfaith Couples

My spouse/partner is Jewish and I am not. Will I feel welcome at Wise Temple?

  • Yes! All family members are fully accepted into the Wise Temple family. The congregation meets every member, Jewish and non-Jewish, where they are in their journey. We encourage families/couples to attend together so they can build a community of friends and so they can explore Jewish traditions, history, and culture together.

Are there other interfaith families at Wise Temple?

  • Yes. Wise Temple has many interfaith couples/families. Our goal is to welcome and include all members regardless of their religious upbringing.

When we join Wise Temple, will my non-Jewish spouse/partner be considered a member?

  • Yes. When a family or couple joins Wise Temple, all immediate family members/partner are considered full members. All non-Jewish spouses/partners are welcomed and encouraged to participate on all levels including worship, learning, social justice, community groups, and committees.

Will my non-Jewish spouse/partner be expected to convert?

  • No. We are grateful for the support a non-Jewish spouse/partner gives to their Jewish spouse/partner. Conversion is a personal decision made only after heartfelt consideration. This decision begins within a person, so we would not ask anyone to seek that path or push them in that direction. If however, someone was interested in talking about conversion, our Rabbis will guide them through the conversion process and the congregation will joyfully celebrate if and when the decision is made to convert to Judaism.

What will be the status of my children in the Jewish community?

  • Since 1983, the Reform Movement has recognized children as Jewish if either parent (mother or father) is Jewish and if the children are raised and educated as Jews. There are many children in our congregation's Religious School who have other religions in their extended families and our teachers have been trained to be sensitive to this.

Can my non-Jewish spouse/partner participate in Religious School programs?

  • Jewish tradition places a high value on family life. We encourage both parents to be involved in their child's Religious School experience. We offer a highly successful program for Religious School parents held on select Sunday mornings called Gesher (meaning “bridge”). Gesher is taught by our rabbis and is designed to help parents learn and understand what their children are learning at Religious School. In addition, we have family programs and Shabbat dinners specially designed for students and their parents. All of these opportunities are for both the Jewish and non-Jewish parent’s participation.

Can my non-Jewish spouse/partner participate in our child's Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

  • Yes. At Wise Temple we include the entire family. Both parents pass the Torah to their child as a concrete symbol of their support for Jewish education and in raising their child to the age of Jewish responsibility.

Worship Services

What time are services?

  • Most Friday evening services begin at 6:15 PM with a pre-oneg at 5:45 PM, but please check the current worship schedule for any changes.

    Saturday morning service times vary depending on location and service type. Please check the current worship schedule.

What are the worship options?

  • In addition to a customary worship service offered every Friday at 6:15, Wise Temple also offers a wide variety of additional and unique Shabbat service options. Other than the customary service, not every service is offered every week, so please check the worship schedule for specifics.
  • Click play to join a live stream of Shabbat Evening Services beginning at 6:15 PM every Friday.

    Friday evening services are also available via live stream. Can’t join at 6:15? Don’t worry. If it's still Shabbat, the archived recording of Friday evening services will still be available.

What if I don't read Hebrew?

  • No problem. Our prayer books are written for all levels of understanding. The text is written in three types of wording: Hebrew, English transliteration, and English all on the same page. (A transliteration is a phonetically written version of Hebrew.) Throughout the service, the Rabbis guide the congregation through the prayer book so each congregant may participate in a way most comfortable to them.

Are tickets required for High Holy Days?

  • Yes. High Holy Days tickets are mailed to members in good standing approximately four weeks before the holidays. Those who are visiting from a URJ congregation in their hometown may attend specific High Holy Day services. Tickets are obtained through a reciprocal arrangement and can be ordered by the guest directly from their home congregation. Non-members who are new to the city should contact the Temple office to discuss options.

    Due to space limitations, we are sorry we are unable include unaffiliated neighbors, relatives, and friends during High Holy Day services. However, S’lichot Service (which occurs at Plum Street Temple just prior to the High Holy Days) is a wonderful opportunity to bring guests. 

Plum Street Temple

Where can I park when I go to Plum Street Temple?

  • Street parking may be available. There are also open, cash lots across both 8th and Plum streets. Lastly an indoor parking garage next to the Temple is available and can be entered from either 7th or Plum Streets.

When is Plum Street Temple open?

  • There is no staff at Plum Street Temple during the work week; therefore, the building is closed at this time. The building is open for services and special events. Check the worship schedule for specifics.

Can I get a tour of Plum Street Temple?

  • Tours are given to groups on scheduled Thursday mornings, by appointment only. Contact Samantha Berinsky, Program Director, 513-793-2556, to schedule.

Is Plum Street Temple wheelchair accessible?

  • Yes. A lift/outside elevator is available on the 8th Street entry to the building. Assistance is needed to use this equipment. Please contact Heather Spegal at 513-793-2556, a few days before your visit to this location so we can arrange to assist you. Please also leave plenty of time to enter the building.

General

How do I schedule a life cycle event?

  • Temple members should contact the rabbi's office at 513-793-2559 to arrange life cycle events such as a brit, baby naming, bar or bat mitzvah, wedding, or funeral. 

I am unable to attend the service for my loved one's Yahrzeit, can I change the date their name is read?

  • In most cases, yes. Please contact the rabbi’s office at 513-793-2559 to make arrangements.

How do I find out if Religious or Hebrew School is canceled due to weather?

  • If the weather isn’t cooperating with us, we’ll post cancelations on the website homepage asap for Adult Education classes, by 8:15 AM on Sunday morning for Religious School, and by 3:30 PM on Wednesdays for Hebrew School.  

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Questions? Temple office 513-793-2556 or welcome@wisetemple.org